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Planning a Manali trip is something that every squad is notorious for. Every time a vacay is needed – Manali is definitely a name thrown around quite often. But the thing is that most of us are done with the town by now. The same old markets and falls and temples (which we have seen like 10 times by now). But what if I told you – there is this bizarre destination right near Manali which is a must visit? Intriguing isn’t it?

This unique place has a mysterious history behind it and is definitely going to be a place you keep thinking about long after you leave. Say hello to ‘Macchial Lake’!

What is it?

Not all lakes in Himachal are at high altitudes

Macchial Lake is a low altitude lake situated in the Mandi district. The lake is located 8 km southwards from Jogindernagar at the Joginder Nagar-Sarkaghat state highway. It is a great spot to take a hike to, picnic with your friends and take a long photo walk. A thing to note here is also that it is when one talks about sacred lakes in India, Macchial Lake is certainly one of the topmost.

What is the history behind it?

Old time depiction of Lord Vishnu as the Matsya avatar

The Macchial lake is named after Machinder Nath or Matasya, an avatar of Lord Vishnu. People from all over India flock to this lake to offer their prayers to this Fish God, a hybrid between human and fish comprising of a streamlined body with fins in place of hindlimbs. Years ago locals prayed to Machinder Nath for the fulfilment of their wishes and would make several offerings to exchange for it. Even though the tradition was more rampant in the olden days, people from all over India still make a Manali trip to offer their prayers to this Fish God.

The Golden Mahseer

Huge Golden Mahseer caught in Sarju river (image courtesy of Daiwa Sports)

Considered to be an incarnation of the Fish God, the gargantuan Golden Mahseer known for its shining scales that produce a rainbow of colours. The mahseer is much-respected for its power and charm, possessing a record-breaking fin-to-body ratio among freshwater fish. It can be seen wearing brilliant rings around its gills stretching up to a whopping length of 8 feet!

Just so you know, that’s taller than LeBron James.

Award winning Golden Mahseer catch (image courtesy of Alex on Pinterest)

In the olden days, the locals used to ornament the sacred Himalayan Golden Mahseer fish as a gratuitous offering with gold nasal rings and, this made the fish shine brightly amidst the lake. Even though this tradition is pretty much dead but people still feed the mahseer fish as a token of religious notice.

Since this of one of the most sacred lakes in India, fishing or angling of any kind is prohibited here. Locals still believe that misfortune will fall upon them if they allow the incarnate of Lord Vishnu to be done harm.

The yearly festival


Kushti competition during Vaishakh

To commence the Indian festival of Vaisakh, a yearly festival is held on the banks of the lake. Locals and travellers from nearby villages always come to the festival which is observed very colourfully and with great gaiety.

In addition to this, the banks of this lake are also the centre for many rural games including wrestling, more commonly called, Kushti. Wrestlers from inaccessible rural regions come to demonstrate their ability to win hefty sums of cash during the competition on the final day of the festival.

Pre-winter Manali landscape

The weather in this region ranges from 20°C-35°C in the summer to 10°C-24°C in the winter. Taking a Manali trip and stopping to visit the famous Macchial Lake is not only gonna get you a glimpse into one of the most sacred lakes in India but it will also allow you to experience the home of the gorgeous Golden Mahseer fish.

Two kms southward of the lake is the village of Bhararu. That is the very first Golden Mahseer farm of India. Another place you can check out. The great Parashar Lake is also not far from this settlement. So taking some time out to see this lake can also allow you to experience so many other things.

Happy travels 🙂

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