Parvati Valley enthralls visitors for their various objectives over and over again. A large section of visitors are adventure enthusiasts, trekkers and photographers; next hold allure for world famous Marijuana, popularly known as Malana Cream, and psytrance-music for the vicinity known as Rave Party Capital of North India; and pilgrims, few of them also visit for their spiritual interest and upliftment as it retains perfectly the serenity and astonishing natural glamour. Now, its interesting that no matter how diverse their motive principle remains all of them possesses an inclination towards the gripping Hindu Mythology that bestow the landscape and gossips about those with interpretations of their own that many a times lack authenticity. But hey, its not history as if incidents involving real characters of blood and flesh took place, so distortion is fine; but yes, Mythology that involves supernatural being, and one could freely come up with new point of view and analysis, even if its history for that matter.
Therefore, lets dig as deep as possible.
Origin of the life line called River Parvati:-
One need not to have colossal amount of learning to know that geographically River Parvati originates from a lake at the height of 4116 m. called Mantalai which falls on the way to Pin-Parvati Pass. Later River Tosh outflows to it near Barshaini and continues by the name of Parvati until it finds River Beas at Bhuntar, Himachal Pradesh. Hindu mythology plays the role in naming the river, answering the WHY! So, as the way the myth propagates it proclaims that Lord Shiva happened to meditate at KheerGanga for more than three thousand years along with his young son Kartikeya, at a stress. Masqueraded as Naga Shadhu( monk) wearing ashes all over his body, believers narrate, once Shiva in a fine morning opened his eyes and glanced over the dazzling landscape, amazed by affluent unblemished river by his side couldn’t think of anything else but his beloved wife, Parvati- whose one of the incarnations is Deity Durga, worshiped symbolizing her as the epitome of ‘Strength and Power’ (Shakti in Hindi) on Earth. Affectionately, he named the river after his wife and hence,the valley is been blessed by River Parvati’s grace thereon.
Lore of Kheer-Ganga:-
The Shiva temple at Kheer Ganga is believed to be the highest on the Terra where Lord Shiva himself meditated for thousand of years and his younger son Kartikeya occupied in doing the same spiritual activity only 50 m. above to Shiva’s shrine in solitude. Occasionally, mother Parvati out of affection and love savored in preparing Kheer( rice pudding) for her son. The tint of Kheer generally is a shade of light gray that symbolizes the hue of River Parvati.
Moreover, River Parvati subjected to Hindu myths is a stream that flows through a lock of Lord Shiva who contains the main-stream Ganges or Ganga, that sustains life and cleanses sins, after washing the lotus feet of husband Lord Vishnu when descends to the Universe Lord Shiva then graps the heavy flow in his chignon saving the Earth from fatal inundation. Hence, the name of the landscape, Kheer-Ganga derived in the presence of Lord Shiva, the container of both Kheer like Parvati and as white as Champak flower like Ganga.
Also, the cave where Lord’s younger son Kartikeya, happened to meditate long back is now a revived place for Hindus as they worship him and pray at that shrine.
Interpretation regarding Hot Springs across Parvati Valley:-
Lord Shiva, enchanted with the idea of meditation, once when engrossed in practicing disturbed by his beloved Parvati who accidentally lost her gem( Mani in Hindi) in the tributary stream, seeking Shiva to recuperate her precious belonging. Shiva, a spiritual being, least bothered of materialistic and earthly matters didn’t value Parvati’s deserving words and decreed his associates to find the ‘Mani’ for her. But alas! the quest was a big ends with disappointment. When he was informed, Lord Shiva frustrated with the consequence and witnessing everyone’s vehemence for such a trivial object, did show an outburst of rage and anger resulting obliteration and havoc. Stressed out and clueless, all approached to SheshNaag, the serpent( proved to be a Spitting Cobra) god, to nullify the causality. SheshNaag obliging all, hissed and spitted venom that sprinkled across the valley giving rise to the sources of boiling water or hot springs. As a result, ‘Mani’ that resembles Parvati’s lost gem emerged by the overflown water body at that part of valley later named as Manikaran. The lore ends with a happy note when everything was back to normal as Parvati finally retrieved her possession.
Few of the popular hot-springs in the vicinity are Kheer-Ganga( probably the best), Manikaran( adjacent to Guru-Dwara), Kasol( beneath the Mashairon Bridge) and etc. etc.
History behind the name Pin-Parvati:-
In August, 1884 British traveler L. W. Dane initiated a new route to reach the source of River Parvati or in other words Parvati Valley of Kullu, other way around via Pin Valley located to the south-west of Spiti. Since both the valleys segregated by a high ridge Dane had to overcome that devising a pass and descending down to the other side near around Mantalai, succeeding which the aforementioned pass got its name Pin-Parvati.