A small village located across the Beas River, 3 kilometers from Manali center, Vashisht is famous among travelers from around the world for its natural hot springs and the 4000 year old Vashisht temple. The temple is dedicated to one of the seven great Vedic sages (Saptarishis), who also was the Kula Guru (the family priest) of the Raghu Dynasty and was the teacher to Lord Rama and his brothers.
Vashisht temple is an important pilgrimage center for the Hindus.
History of Vashisht Temple, Manali
The Vashisht Temple is said to be 4000 years old, dedicated to the great sage Guru Vashisht, who is one of the oldest and most revered Vedic sages. Vashisht had an ongoing animosity with the King Vishwamitra.
Legend has it that Vishwamitra killed all the children of Vashisht due to which the sage was left depressed. Vashisht was so deeply grief stricken that he attempted to end his life by jumping into a river but was saved by the river instead. Sage Vashisht settled at the village by the banks of the river Vipasha (the word Vipasha means freedom from bondage). The village was named Vashisht and the Vipasha River later came to be known as Beas River.
Later, a temple dedicated to the sage was built at the very same place where the sage used to meditate. Thus the existence of the Vashisht Temple came to be.
Architecture of Vashisht Temple, Manali
The temple is built in typical Himalayan Kath Kuni architectural style. Kath Kuni is an indigenous technique mostly prevalent in the Himalayan terrain, especially in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand regions. It is done with dry masonry and wooden logs, especially cedar molds without the use of slurry. The intricate wood carvings are another significant feature of the Kath Kuni architecture.
The remnants of an ancient stepwell and the ancient shrine of Vashisht temple are evidently a depiction of features of medieval temple architecture. The interior of the temple is decorated with traditional murals, paintings and figurines, a feature typical of the temples in Himachal Pradesh.
The central deity of the temple is Sage Vashisht and a black statue of the sage, made from granite is placed inside the temple, wrapped in a white dhoti.
Entry Fee and Timings of Vashisht Temple, Manali
The entry timings for the Vashisht temple are between 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM. There is no entry fee. The temple is open all days of the week.
The best and most recommended time for darshan is between 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
Vashisht Baths or Hot water springs, Vashisht Temple, Manali
The Vashisht Baths or the natural hot water springs of Vashisht as they are famously known is the main attraction of Vashisht. The hot springs possess medicinal qualities and are believed to be a cure for skin diseases and infections. There are sandstone temples near the hot springs. There are separate bathing areas for men and women, arranged by the government.
The water of the springs is pristine and clean, and visitors are allowed to experience the hot springs for a duration of 30 minutes to an hour from 7:00 AM until 10:00 PM all days of the week. There is no entrance fee to enter the hot springs of Vashisht.
The temperature of the water in the springs fluctuate between 110 to 123 degree Fahrenheit and is considered to be emanating from the deep granite deposits that cover most parts of the Himalayas. It is rich in glacial minerals and the water smells of Sulphur.
Best Time to visit Vashisht Temple, Manali
Manali is a destination which is best during all seasons. As the weather is pleasant with temperatures ranging between 15- 20 degrees throughout the year except for the chilly winter months when the temperatures dip to minus 2 degrees as well, it is best to visit it during summer season.
How to Reach Vashisht Temple, Manali
The Vashisht Temple is located in old Manali, at a distance of 3 kilometers from the center of Manali. Manali is well connected to major parts of the country via all modes of transportation. The major cities and hubs nearest to Manali are Delhi, Chandigarh, Shimla, Leh, Kullu and Dharmashala and can be reached via all modes of transport.
By Bus: This is the most economical mode of travel and the quickest to reach Manali from Delhi, and Chandigarh. Board the state run HRTC buses that run frequently between Delhi (ISBT Kashmere Gate) and Manali as well as Chandigarh (ISBT Sector 43) and Manali. There are private buses too from both cities. It takes around 12- 13 hours from Delhi and 8 – 9 hours from Chandigarh to reach Manali at a ticket price of INR 1200- 1500 for a private Volvo bus and INR 800 for an ordinary state bus. You may book your tickets in advance through Red Bus or on the HRTC website.
By Car: The road from Delhi to Manali comes with amazing views and if you are willing to ride your bike or drive your own vehicle, nothing better than that.
By Train: There is no direct train to Manali however, you may book a train till Shimla and complete the rest of the journey via road by booking private/shared cabs or hop on to a bus (both state run, and private buses are available). The distance from Shimla to Manali takes 6 – 7 hours to complete.
By Flight: The nearest airport to Manali is the Kullu Manali Airport in Bhuntar. From Bhuntar Airport, you may book direct prepaid cabs to your destination in Manali. Alternatively, you may fly to Delhi or Chandigarh airports and reach Manali via road by either booking a bus or a private cab or a bike.
By Cab: After reaching Manali, you can book a private cab from top car rental companies in Manali to reach the temple and also to visit other top tourist attractions of Manali.
Tips to visit Vashisht Temple, Manali
- Respect the local culture and abide by the rules of the temple.
- Smoking and drinking alcohol are prohibited inside the temple premises and apart from that even chewing tobacco, gutka and betel leaves isn’t allowed.
- Follow the local dress code when visiting the temple.
- It is recommended that you carry winter wear during your visit and please do carry umbrellas too.
- Be cautious of the pickpockets.
- Bargain hard when shopping near Vashisht Temple as the shopkeepers tend to mention the rates 2 – 3 times higher than the saleable rate.
- Carry an extra pair of clothes as you might need them after taking a dip in the Vashisht hot springs.
- Please avoid carrying single use plastic and keep your trash with yourself unless you find a place to discard them appropriately. The ecology of mountains is very fragile, and we need to be responsible for the environmental impact we leave behind.
Places to visit near Vashisht Temple, Manali
1. Rama Temple: The Ram temple is another famous temple situated adjacent to the Vashisht temple. The Ram temple is known for its seven days’ celebrations of Dussehra.
2. Jogini Waterfall: The 160 feet high Jogini Waterfall is just 2 kilometers from the Vashisht Temple. You need to trek from Vashisht temple through pine forest and see the amazing view of the Beas River on the way.
3. Manu Temple: This temple is located on the banks of Beas River and is dedicated to the ancient Indian sage Manu, the said writer of the famous Manusmriti.
4. Hadimba Devi Temple: The only temple dedicated to a demon Goddess, Hadimba Devi, wife of Bhima from the Indian epic mythology, Mahabharata, the temple is one of the most famous tourist places in Manali.
5. Mall Road: The Mall Road in Manali is famous for shopping and cafes and that’s why it is a must to spend some time walking through the mall road and get some souvenirs for close ones.
6. Jagatsukh: Jagatsukh is a quaint village situated 7 kilometers from Manali center. It is famous for Jagatsukh temple and is also a base village for Deo Tibba trek.
7. Rahala Waterfall: Surrounded by silver birch and deodar trees, the Rahala Waterfalls is one of the famous places located at the beginning of the climb to Rohtang pass. The water of the falls come from melting glaciers.
8. Nehru Kund: Named after the first Prime Minister of independent India, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, Nehru Kund is a natural spring located on Manali – Rohtang Pass highway.
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