The pristine and glacial Manimahesh Lake is nestled in the majestic Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas, at a height of about 4,080 m. Literally translated the name of the lake means a jewel in Lord Shiva's crown, and it also holds a spiritual appeal for tourists. Surrounded by snow-capped peaks, the lake is divided into two major parts. While the larger part is called Shiv Karotri (Lord Shiva’s bathing place), the smaller one is dedicated to Goddess Parvati and called Gauri Kund (Goddess Parvati’s bathing place).

A saucer-shaped expanse of crystal-clear water, the lake lies in close proximity to the Manimahesh Kailash Parbat that is considered the abode of Lord Shiva. Legend has it that Lord Shiva created this lake after his marriage with Goddess Parvati. Another legend has it that Lord Shiva performed penance for 700 years during which water started flowing from his hair and took the form of a lake. On a full moon night, the rays of the moon are reflected on the calm waters of the Manimahesh Lake. In the month of Bhaadon, on the eighth day of the light half-moon every year, a fair is organised at the lake. It is attended by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and devotees who reach here to take a holy dip on the lake’s peaceful, tranquil and pure water. The lake is at a walking distance of 13 km from Chamba that is suited to trekking.

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