Manimahesh lake (also known as Dal Lake) is situated in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas, in the Bharmour subdivision of Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh. Nestled at an elevation of 4,080 meters, it is considered only second in significance to Lake Mansarovar in Tibet. Manimahesh literally means “Shiva’s jewels”. According to a local legend, on a full moon night, one can see the reflection of this jewel in the magnificent lake. Most of the year, it remains closed due to the snow.
The mighty Lake is situated in proximity to the virgin peak of Manimahesh Kailash Parbat, which is considered to be the holy abode of Lord Shiva. According to legends, He created both the landforms as his marital home with Goddess Parvati, and He is still believed to be residing on the mountain.
The glacial Manimahesh lake has its sources in the melted snow water from nearby peaks. As the ice begins to melt by the end of June, it breaks into numerous small streams. These streams, together with green hills and bountiful flowers give the valley a remarkable look.
Interesting Fact About Lake
According to a popular legend, it is believed that Lord Shiva created Manimahesh after marrying Goddess Parvati, who is worshiped as Mata Girija. There are many legends linking the display of Lord Shiva and his displeasure through the acts of avalanche and blizzard that took place in the region.
The legend also mentions that Shiva did penance on the banks of Manimahesh Lake. Similarly, it is mentioned that the Gaddis (shepherds) tribes of this region adopted Lord Shiva as their deity. The Gaddis are the people who live in the Gaddi valley which is the name of the upper regions of the Ravi river where Mount Chamba Kailash is situated. Also, according to legend, Shiva, who resides on Mount Kailash, the highest mountain in the state, presented a chuhali topi (pointed cap) to the Gaddi, which he traditionally wears along with his other dress of Chola (coat). Dora (a long black rope about 10-15 meters long).
The Gaddis started calling the land of this hilly region ‘Shiva Bhoomi’ (“Land of Shiva”) and themselves devotees of Shiva. The legend further says that after Shiva married Parvati at Lake Mansarovar and became the “universal parent of the universe”, Shiva created Mount Kailash in Himachal Pradesh and made it his abode. He made the throne his devotee. Wikipedia