TEMPLES OF HIMACHAL: MATASYANATH, MACCHIAL, JOGINDERNAGAR

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Matasyanath temple ( meaning lord of the fish) is located at Macchiyal, which also derives its name from the fish present in the low altitude Macchial or Machyal Lake.

It is about 8 km from Jogindernagar on the Joginder Nagar-Sarkaghat state highway in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh. It is about 9 km from the Chatturbhuj temple located in the same area.

Matasyanath is considered as the matasya (fish) form of Lord Vishnu. He is also known by the name of Machindranath, meaning the fish god.  The lake though has shrunk over the years, villagers feed small globules of wheat flour to the fish living in the lake. Machhiyal is sacred to local natives and surrounding villages. In the earlier days, people made their wishes to Machindernath and on fulfilment of their wishes, they would make offerings to the deity according to their earning capacity. One such offering was to deck the sacred Himalayan Golden Mahseer fish ( a fish variety) with a gold nasal ring. In those days, such sacred Golden Mahseer fish with a gold nasal ring could be noticed easily in the lake. This tradition no longer exists.

Fishing is prohibited in the stream and people take a holy dip in the stream on particular sacred days of the Hindu calendar. A fair is held to mark the beginning of spring ( baisakh) when people from surrounding villages gather and also participate in ‘kushti’ ad other rural sports.

There is a Mahseer farm at Bhararu village, beyond which there is a comparatively larger and wider one-km stream from the lake near Uhl stage 3 project site which has a lot of Himalayan Golden Mahseer fish.

 

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