Monday, 4 May 2015

Y for Yatras in Himachal.

This post is written for A to Z Challenge.

Y for Yatras in Himachal

Mani Mahesh Lake with Pilgrim

Pilgrim Yatras means a visit to a Pilgrim station on foot, and are integral part of Himachal. And Kailash Parbat is revered as the most sacred Pilgrim by Hindus. It is believed that there are total seven Kailash mountains. The Mansarovar Kailash in Tibet is well known to all. Others are Adi Kailash in Pithoragarh district of Uttrakhand, Amarnath Kailash in J&K, Kinner Kailash in Kinnaur, Mani Mahesh Kailash in Chamba, Sri Khand Kailash in Shimla. The seventh one is believed to be Boorha Kailash and is yet to be located.

Three yatras fall in Himachal and are discussed here. 

1. Mani Mahesh Yatra starting from Bharmour in Chamba to Mani Mahesh Lake (also called Dal lake , Mani Mahesh) in Pir Panjal range at height of 4080 m, the abode of Lord Shiva.

The Yatra starts from Lakshminarayan Temple in Chamba and ends at the Manimahesh Lake in Bundhil valley. The holy trek or Yatra starts about fifteen days after the festival of Janmashtami in Aug - Sept. The religious sanctity of this place is next to the Lake Manasarovar. The Manimahesh Kailash peak stands high close to the lake.

Mani Mahesh Lake

The route to Manimahesh is via Chamba, Bharmour and Hadsar. Motorable road is up to Hadsar after which one has to cover on foot about 13 km of steep climb by the banks of Manimahesh Ganga. It originates from the Manimahesh Kailash peak. The yatra is dawned by pilgrims walking barefoot along the rocky path, singing Bhajans and praying ecstatically to Lord Shiva. After reaching Manimahesh Lake, they take holy dips in the lake water. After culmination of the Yatra, one visits the ancient temple of Chatrari, located between Bharmaur and Chamba. One has to be really physically fit to take this Yatra.

Another less frequented trekking route originates from Holi, which is connected to Chamba

As per legend the name Manimahesh refers a jewel (Mani) on Lord Shiva's crown. Locals believe that the moon-rays reflected from the jewel and can be seen from Manimahesh Lake on clear full-moon nights.

2. Sri Khand Kailash Yatra - Sri Khand Kailash is situated at around 6k m. The Yatra usually happens with the Ashada Poornima or, full moon day of June to July.

The yatra can be started from Bathad, Gushani, Jeori and Jaon. The easiest and most travel starts from Jaon Village of Kullu district. Jaon is 167 Km. from Shimla and can be reached by road. The trek starts from Jaon from the temple of goddess Shakti. The foot travel is approx 64 to 74 km depending upon two trekking tracks available passing through dense forests, water streams, sprawling meadows and lofty mountains. The climb is difficult and offers a panoramic view. 3 Km. from Jaon there is village called Singh Gad, which was named after a brave man who dared to live their and established a village. Singh Gad is the last habitat of civilization on this route and Sri Khand Kailash is a minimum three full days trek from here. Its a very tough yatra and most yatris  return from first stop itself.

A typical Sri khand Kailash trek one way has on first day 12km Jaun to Taacharu. approx 8 – 9 hrs. Next day it is Taacharu to Parvati Baag 13.5 Kms in 9-10 hrs. and  finaly Parvati Baag to Shrikhand  6 Kms in 4 hrs.

Sri Khand  Kailash

Legend behind Sri Khand Kailash : It is believed that there was a demon named Bhasmasur who worshipped Shiva for many years which made Lord Shiva happy  and he asked Bhasmasur to ask for anything. Bhasmasur asked for the power of burning by just  placing his hand on the head of anybody. Lord Shiva blessed him with the power. Bhasmasur became so proud that he tried to burn the Lord himself when Shiva ran and hid himself in a cave near Nirmand at Deo Dhank. There after Lord Vishnu came to rescue Shiva.In the process Vishnu incarnated himself as a beautiful lady Mohini and asked Bhasmasur to dance with her. Bhasmasur got mesmerised and so involved that Mohini could cleverly got Bhasmasur place his hand on his own head  thus turn to ashes. 
After this all the God’s reached Deo Dhank to look for Lord Shiva who had detained himself under the web in the cave. It was very difficult to get him released. So Lord Shiva used a secret route and emerged as Shakti Roop at Shrikhand Mountain from cave at Dev Dhank.

When lord Shiva was getting out from Shrikhand Mountain, it was accompanied by a great blast and only the present Shrikhand Shivling is as the remains. On the way to Shrikhand top one can find big boulders that look like as the part of any big mountain. At Shrikhand there is main peak (Shivlinga) dedicated to Lord Shiva. Opposite to it are another big boulders revered as Goddess Parvati and Lord Ganesh. Behind the Shrikhand peak  is a peak named as Kartikeya Parvat.

3. Kinner Kailash Yatra :The Kinnaur Kailash is locally known as Kinner Kailash and is at a height of 6050 meters and is considered as sacred by both Hindu and Buddhist Kinnauris. 'Kinner Kailash' is considered winter residence of Lord Shiva. It is said that Lord Shiva conduct a meeting of all Devi-Devtas on Kinner Kailash Top in month of January. The Yatra or trek to Kinner Kailash Starts from July end to August. At the time of Janmashtmi 10 days special arrangement are made for food and shelter on the top.  Journey starts. 

The Kinner Kailash Trek is of two to three days and starts from Tangling which is a small village spread across one small rivulet with around 100 homes and a beautiful temple dedicated to the local deity Nag Devta. The village is full of orchards and seasonal vegetables with cheerful hospitable people. It can be reached in two ways i.e. by crossing the Jhoola pul at Powari ( which is very thrilling) or by dirt road and crossing the Shontong Bridge over the Sutlej.

A typical yatra from Base Camp of Tangling Village (where one can reach by bus/car from Shimla approx 270 km) will have first day Tangling Village to Ashiqui Park about 9 kms in approx 6 hrs and night stay at a cave. On the second day the yatra starts early morning to reach the Shivling point covering 10 kms in about 8 to 9 hrs crossing Bheem dwar and Parvati Kund on the way. Next day by about 9 am. After visit the return starts in the same way.

Kinnaur Kailash
That's all from Y next is Z.

For other posts on Himachal written as part of A to Z Challenge : List of post on Himachal Pradesh written as part of A to Z challenge.

Aditya Sinha

For other participants in the challenge visit : A to Z Challenge

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