Best time to visit: April and May, September to mid November is the best time to visit Manimahesh lake
Elevation: 4,080 metres
If tourists want to witness the most refined lake in Himachal Pradesh, then they should pay a visit to the Manimahesh Lake. Manimahesh Lake is commonly known as the Dal Lake, and is nestled at an elevation of 4080 m on the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas. The peak of Manimahesh Kailash is regarded as one of the mythical abodes of Shiva.
One can see the traces and stories of the pious lake in many mythological. Manimahesh lake is revered by the people of Gaddi tribe and Hindus. People of Gaddi tribe know the lake as 'Shiv Bhumi' (Land of Shiva). The lake is a popular Hindu pilgrimage site that is dedicated to Lord Shiva and it is believed that the mighty peak is the abode of the Hindu deity.
Legends say that the lake was created by Lord Shiva after he married Goddess Parvati. As per another account, it is also claimed that Lord Shiva performed penance here for seven hundred years, and the water started flowing from his tangled hair which later took the form of a lake. The lake is in the shape of the saucer and is divided into 2 major parts. The larger part is known as 'Shiv Karotri' (the bathing place of Lord Shiva); meanwhile the lower part is dedicated to Goddess Parvati, 'Gauri Kund' (the bathing place of Parvati).
The literal meaning of the Manimahesh is jewel (Mani), which can be found on Lord Shiva's crown. On the full moon night, moon-rays reflected from the jewel can be seen from Manimahesh Lake. Walking on the bank of Manimahesh Lake is an incredible experience which one can't forget throughout one's life. The aura of the lake is so pious and pure that it can purify anybody's mind and soul. On the bank of lake, there is a marble image of Lord Shiva which is also known as Chaumukha. The lake is surrounded by amazing landscape and a small temple in Shikhara shape which houses a brass image of Goddess Lakshmi Devi known as Mahishasuramardini.
The lake is considered to be as sacred, pure, and blessed as the Manasarovar lake, Tibet. During the month of August to September, Manimahesh Yatra is organized in full swing. A huge procession, followed by "aarti" is organized during the special festival. The aura of the place is absolutely blissful, and it is the perfect time to visit the lake. The pilgrims walk along the rocky path completely bare footed, singing Bhajans and praying ecstatically to Lord Shiva. There is a sensation of ecstasy in the air of the Manasarovar Lake.