Manimahesh Lake situated in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh Chamba District, is at an altitude of about 4100 m above sea level. Mani mahesh Lake also known as Dal Lake. Manimahesh is in the south-eastern corner of Chamba District near the Chamba-Kullu border. The peak of Manimahesh Kailash is regarded as one of the mythical abodes of Shiva.
The lake is also known as Chamba Kailash and is famous for Manimahesh Yatra (pilgrimage). The pilgrimage starts in Bharmour that has beautiful ancient temples all around the region. 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).
A popular legendary tale explains that Lord Shiva created Mani Mahesh after he married Goddess Parvati and also performed penance on the banks of Mani Mahesh 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 name Manimahesh signifies a jewel (Mani) on Lord Shiva's crown. Local people claim that the moon-rays reflected from the jewel can be seen from Manimahesh Lake on clear full-moon nights (which is a rare occasion). It is more likely to be the light reflected from the glacier that adorns the peak, like a serpent on Shiva's neck.
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.