The hill station - Manali is blessed with nature's finest gifts. The enchanting valley is so picturesque that it has earned the name 'Switzerland of India'. The sky touching mountain peaks, the kingdom of clouds, the colorful valley, the lush green vegetation, the friendly people and many more things come to one's mind when they think about Manali.
There are many legendary and mythological stories attached with the birth of the wonderful place. The area earned its name from the great sage - Manu. The most interesting part about Manali is its serenity despite the regular visits of thousands of tourists. Manali is situated only 40 km away from another beautiful hill station - Kulu. It is in fact, located at the northern border of the Kulu Valley.
How to reach Manali
Bhuntar Airport, which is approximately 10 km from Kullu, also from the nearest air link from Manali. Though the airport is not very big, it has regular flights to the major cities in and around Himachal Pradesh, like Delhi, Chandigarh and other metro cities of India. Indian Airlines and Jagson Airlines operate flights from Delhi to Bhuntar Airport, round the year
Joginnder Nagar, at 125 km distance, is the nearest railhead from Manali. Other railway stations close to the place are Pathankot (285 km), Simla (270 km), Chandigarh (267 km) and Kalka. Chandigarh is the most convenient, major railhead for coming to Manali. This is because it has regular trains connecting it with almost all the parts of the country.
Located 522 km from Delhi, Manali is well connected with major parts of the country by a good network of roads. There are regular bus services for Manali for all the major cities in and around the state, such as Delhi and Chandigarh. One has the option of traveling in a deluxe bus or an ordinary bus, run by Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC), Himachal Pradesh Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) and even private operators.
The climate in Manali is very pleasant all through the year except during the winter when night temperatures may drop below zero degree Celsius. Springtime, beginning in March and lasting through April, brings to the valley blossoms, flowers and butterflies - offering a completely rejuvenating experience.
The summers beginning in the month of May, normally lasts through the month of June. It is a time when every body wishes to be in Manali. The maximum temperature during the summer barely touches 26 degrees centigrade towards the end of June. Manali is lush green and vibrant during the monsoons, beginning in July, and usually continues till the end of August. It is a time when the valley bustles with a variety of global tourists and trekkers.
Monsoons can be romantic with the mist flowing into your rooms. You can enjoy the gentle tapping of rain drops on the roof and get drenched in the rains. Another fine time to be in Manali is during September/October and November with autumn colors in the air. This is the time for the colorful Kullu Dusshera in which 365 gods and goddesses of the valley assemble at Dhalpur.
Places Of Interest
- Hadimba Temple
- Rahalla Falls
- The Manali Gompa
- Vashisht (3 kms)
- Rani Charak Mahal
- Jagatsukh (6 kms)
- Solang Valley (14 kms)
- Kothi, (15 Kms)
- Manu Temple (2 kms)
- Rohtang Pass
Hadimba Temple Manali: This temple, with a finely wrought four - tiered pagoda roof, dating back to 1553, is built around a natural cave, which enshrines the footprints of the goddess Hadimba. Hadimba was the wife of Bhima, one of the five great Pandava brothers of the Mahabharata, and later became the patron goddess of the Kullu royal family. Hadimba or Dhungiri temple in Manali is one of the most important temples in the region. This four story wooden temple is located in the middle of a forest called the Dhungiri Van Vihar. From the name of the forest parkland this temple derives its name. This temple was erected in 1553 and is dedicated to Goddess Hadimba. The temple has some intricate wooden carvings which depicts mythological characters and motifs of animals & cosmic dancers. Every year in May a major festival is organized here. This place is a popular picnic spot among the tourists.
Beyond which is the Rohtang Pass, 51 kms from Manali. Located at a height of 3980 m, the Pass once served as a crucial trade route, and still remains the gateway to the districts of Lahaul and Spiti.The Pass is open from June to November each year, and provides wonderful views of the entire surroundings. Just beyond the Pass is the Sonapani Glacier and the twin peak of Gaypan. The Beas Kund, the source of the Beas river, a holy site for Hindus, as the sage Vyas is said to have meditated at this spot, is also accessible from the Rohtang Pass. Rani Nullah, below Rohtang Pass. Height 3700m. Rani Nullah is shortly before the Rohtang Pass into Lahaul, at about 55km from Manali. The take-off area itself is not great as there are sharp stones to snag your lines on, but even if there is no lift it offers great 'sled-ride' flying, especially for beginners. There is a vast landing field at the truckstop at Marhi about 400m below take-off, though be warned that at over 10,000ft a HUGE flare is needed on landing - you come in like an express train! If you have reasonable height above Marhi it is a 10km sled-ride down to other landing fields at Kothi at the foot of the pass.
Manali also houses three Tibetan monasteries, that have been built recently. There are three recently built Tibetan monasteries at Manali.
The Manali Gompa
The Manali Gompa
A new Monastery built in the 1960's it is an important gathering place for buddhists from Lalaul, Spiti, kinnaur, Ladakh, Nepal and Tibet.The Gompa is famous for its wall paintings, Chortens and a large statue of Lord Buddha.
Vashisht (3 kms)
Vashisht (3 kms)
Three kms from Manali is the village of Vashisht, which is renowned for its hot sulphur springs. The village is also the site of some old temples, dedicated to the great sage Vashisht, and to Lord Rama. The Himachal Tourism sulphur baths are just beyond these shrines.
Rani Charak Mahal
Rani Charak Mahal
The Rani Charak Mahal is situated by a riverside and is connected with Toshakhana on one side.
Jagatsukh (6 kms)
Jagatsukh (6 kms)
The one time capital of Kullu. Here are old temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and to Sandhya Gayatri. The Arjun caves are just ahead.
Solang Valley (14 kms)
Solang Valley (14 kms)
Solang Nullah is in a side valley at the top of the Kullu valley. It is the site of Manali's ski school and, once the snow has gone, all the local paragliding 'schools'. Phatru is a steep, rocky face above Solang Nullah, facing roughly east. Take-off is about one hour's climb above the ski school. There is no top landing, but good bottom landing near the school or in the fields above Solang village on the opposite side of the river. From 10am until 1pm or so there are many excellent thermal sources. In the afternoon the sun is often hidden by cloud forming on the higher mountains behind and it can get rough as soon as it is out of direct sun. In a picturesque setting this has good ski sloped and picnic spots. HPTDC organises ski packages during winter. Around 14 kms from Manali, is the Solang valley, that boasts of the glacier nearest to the resort. Replete with terrific picnic - spots, the amazing ski slopes here are full of hectic activity, come January - February.
Kothi, (15 Kms)
Kothi, (15 Kms)
Bottom of Rohtang Pass Kothi (12km) is a picturesque village and has a thrilling view of the deep gorge through which the beas swiftly races. , an idyllic village, which boasts of a superb view of the deep gorge, and the Beas river rushing through it. Sixteen kms from Manali, at an altitude of 2500 m are the magnificent Easy to get to (except the walk!) The slopes above Kothi are a steep one-hour walk up from the road, but there are excellent thermals coming off the rocks and it is a favourite of the local eagles. Plenty of bottom landing in the fields around Kothi village.
Nagar, a lovely village set on a hill sourrounded by forests, was the capita of kullu in the 16th century and the monuments in the region are witness to its glorious past. The Naggar Castle, a stone and wood structure built by Raja Sidh singh over 500 years ago, has been converted in to a heritage hotel. The gracefully built castle has a temple in the courtyard and also houses a small museum.
The temple of the area, such as the grey sandstone Gauri Shankar Temple of Shiva that lies close to the Castle, the chatar Bhuj Temple, Tripura Sundri Devi Temple, the Jagti Patt Temple, with its triangular slab of stone, strewn with rose petals and rupee notes and the Murlidhar Temple, are worth a visit. The paintings and Photographs of the late Nicholas Roerich are exhibited in the Nicholas Roerich Gallery. He was an artist, Writer, Photographer, Archelogist, Explorer and mystic. Inside the Museum, one can see the beds, librery, settees, writing tables, toiletries, and samovars of the Roerich family.
The Urswati Himalyan Folk Museum near by is another place to visit. while in the area, a trip to Gardhak Chuli is recommended for the spectacular view it provides of the valley on one side and the imposing, snow clad peaks on the other.This upper Beas region is surrounded by glaciers on three sides. The Chandekhani Pass at 12200 feet leads to the legendary Malana Valley and is easily accessible from here.
Manu Temple (2 kms)
Manu Temple (2 kms)
This is dedicated to the sage Manu. Just near the Hadimba temple flows the Manalsu River, that culminates in the main Beas river. Across the Manalsu river is the original village of Manali, that houses the ancient temple of the sage Manu. Manali itself is named after Manu, who is said to have dwelt here.
Rohtang Pass, 51 kms from Manali. Located at a height of 3980 m, the Pass once served as a crucial trade route, and still remains the gateway to the districts of Lahaul and Spiti.The Pass is open from June to November each year, and provides wonderful views of the entire surroundings. Just beyond the Pass is the Sonapani Glacier and the twin peak of Gaypan. The Beas Kund, the source of the Beas river, a holy site for Hindus, as the sage Vyas is said to have meditated at this spot, is also accessible from the Rohtang Pass.
Shopping in Manali is mainly restricted to Tibetan and Kashmiri arts and handicrafts. Manali provides a great souvenir shopping opportunity with its wide variety of local stores selling shawls (Kullu and Kashmiri) and other jewelry and embroidered stuff.
The village Vasisht boasts of a Gem store (owner named Shafi) that deals in semi-precious stones, unset stones, silver ornaments,carpets, rugs and shawls. This corner shop just below the main square in the village will suffice all your jewelry shopping needs in this region.
With wide variety of shawls and stoles, both Kullu pattern (cheaper in price but with distinct pattern) and Kashmiri style (hand - embroidered are a delight) the place is packed with stores. Remember 'BARGAINING' is the name of the game. No matter what anyone says the only person to beat the price is going to be you. So put on yours 'Shopping hat' and enjoy the leisure. Even though we would like to suggest you of shops to buy shawls from, all we would recommend is to look around the Mall and the road off Hadimba Road.
Manali with its number of Tibetan refugees and eclectic mix offers a wide range of eating options for people from all walks of life.
Most of the food is very reasonably priced and you can have a sumptuous meal for about $ 6 dollar (for two people without drinks).
Yet again there are cheaper options available everywhere, for as little as around $1.50 in the restaurants across the bus stand. The main difference is not really the quality of food itself, but also the ambience and exclusivity of the finer restaurants.
We would suggest you to try out the eating joints across the bus stand as well especially for the vegetarian food. Try a good roadside 'Dhaba', kind of restaurant ( shack) located generally off the highways. Most of these places are clean and have a distinct taste. Some provide a typical home like meals for even less than a dollar.
Another thing that one needs to be careful in India is about the water your drink. Always carry 'Mineral water' (bottled water, available everywhere in general grocery stores and other convenience shops.
There is not much of nightlife in Manali. As a matter of fact you may consider it to be non-existent. However, there are a couple of places you can go to grab a glass of drink. For Techno enthusiasts there is an occasional rave in the village Vasisht. Two places to grab a drink are Khyber (on the Mall) and Johnson's cafe (old Manali Rd). Johnson's Cafe plays music and also serves alcohol and dinner. Even though there is a discotheque in the Manali social club, there is not much of an activity there. You will be better off asking someone on current happenings (if any), once you reach Manali.