Manali Travel Guide.
If Himachal were the queen of all hill stations, Manali would undoubtedly have been its tiara.
At the far northern end of the Kullu Valley lies this poetic tourist town called Manali. Crowned atop the scenic mountains of Himachal Pradesh, Manali is comfortably nestled at a height of well above 2000 metres, and is one of the choicest holiday destinations in North India.
As you levitate yourself to the holistic highs of Himachal via the mystic serpentine roads, the uphill drive seems like an indulgent experience in itself. Though approaching Manali may seem like a bit of an anti-climax after the scenic drive up, the surrounding area of Old Manali is bound to leave you astounded by its sheer natural beauty. Scenic hills dressed in lush green attire, spellbinding valleys scented with the smell of pines and the trout-filled Beas River gurgling down the mountains; all of them complement each other in the perfect manner to create the magical realm of Manali.
Drawing swarms of wandering wayfarers from all around the country (and the world), Manali, which is now a prominent tourist town came up as a business route to Ladakh and further beyond. So be it family, friends, that special someone, or all alone, Manali has something for everyone.
Manali offers the most captivating views of magnificent mountains, verdant valleys and splendid sunsets. It’s all picture perfect!
The heavy influx of tourists has led to the exploitation of Manali as a tourist destination, though the surrounding areas are still relatively untouched.
Manali is an excellent playground for adventurers; from hiking and rafting to zorbing, paragliding and skiing, Manali offers all of it, and much more.
Things to Do in Manali
Solang Valley Overview
Solang Valley is quiet and is best approached by road. The drive up to Solang is extremely picturesque. Once you are there, try out some Chinese food from the local roadside shacks, and enjoy the views. The road ahead is blocked since a tunnel to Koksar (a village ahead of Rohtag La) is now being built there.
Old Manali Overview
Swaying eucalyptus, lovely roads, sweet little eateries, small kitschy market places, and cafes that serve your favourite continental food at unbelievably low prices, the serenity of Old Manali is only disturbed by twittering birds and the sound of the gushing waters of the Kullu River.
Naggar Castle Overview
An important tourist spot around Manali, Naggar Castle is an ancient palace dating back to the 15th century. It boasts of impressive architecture and also houses a gallery of paintings of the remarkable Russian artist, Nicholas Reorich.
- Opening Closing Time7 am – 10 pm (Daily)
- Movie ConnectA song from the Bollywood movie Jab We Met was shot here.
- Entrance FeeRs. 15
Manu Temple Overview
A famous and significant pilgrimage spot, the Manu Temple is the only temple in India for Lord Manu, the legendary sage who stayed in this area.
The town of Manali derives its name from Lord Manu. Manali is believed to be the abode of Manu, the great sage who is credited for having formed the first laws of Hindu mythology. It is believed that after saving mankind from the great flood, Manu somehow landed in Manali and started living here.
The Manu Temple is situated a mere 3 kilometres away from the main market of the old Manali region.
- Opening Closing Time8 am to 6 pm
- Tibetan Monasteries OverviewOne of the most fascinating aspects of Manali is the fact that it has several colourful monasteries. These monasteries serve not only as a place of worship but also as guardians of the rich culture and history of the Tibetan people settled in Kullu and Manali.
The two most important monasteries that draw a huge number of tourists to Manali from across the globe are the Gadhan Thekchoking Gompa and the Himalayan Nyingamapa Gompa. You can shop for beautiful handicrafts that are made by Tibetan people at these monasteries.
- Club House OverviewThe Manali Club House is maintained by the Himachal Tourism Development Corporation. It is one of the best centres of recreation in Manali. Located at the foothills of old Manali town, the Club House offers alluring views of the lush green surroundings.
You can enjoy various indoor and outdoor games at the Club House by paying nominal charges. Some of the games and facilities at the Club House include an auditorium, billiards room, library, roller skating rink, carom room, bar and restaurant.
- Opening Closing Time10 am to 8 pm (Closed on Sundays)
- Entrance FeeRs. 10
- Rohtang Pass/Snow Point OverviewRohtang Pass is a very beautiful and popular spot in Manali with more than 25 lakh visitors every year. In winter, the mountains at the Rohtang Pass are completely covered in snow and it is impossible to get there. Hence, the pass remains closed during winters (from October) and generally opens again in May.
In May, Rohtang becomes a place for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. The snow-covered mountains provide the perfect opportunity to go skiing and snow scooter riding. Take your family to this wonderful place and enjoy some quality time together.
- Opening Closing TimeRemains closed during winters and on Tuesdays
- Hadimba Temple OverviewThe 15th-century Hadimba Temple was built to commemorate Hadimba Devi, from the Indian spiritual epic Mahabharata. What’s equally striking is the cedar forest that surrounds the temple, which adds to its earthy appeal.
- Vashist Temple & Water Springs OverviewDedicated to the local deity and sage by the same name, Saint Vashist, the Vashist Temple on the banks of River Ravi is worth a stop. The temple showcases lovely wood carvings. The real attraction here is the therapeutic hot springs that are piped and cemented to make for a public bath.
- Gauri Shankar Temple OverviewLocated in the village of Dashal, this temple is centuries-old. After exploring the temple, enjoy strolling by the lush apple orchard, or get down to the river stream for a chilly dip.
- Monasteries OverviewWhen in Manali, visit the Buddhist monasteries that have been set up here by the Tibetans and other followers of Buddhism. The monasteries offer tranquil surroundings and are also an excellent place to witness the Buddhist culture. Popular monasteries include the Manali Gompa, Gadhan Thekchoking Gompa and the Himalayan Nyingamapa Gompa.Jagatsukh OverviewLocated at a distance of 6 kilometres from Manali, Jagatsukh is the biggest rural community in the district of Kullu. Jagatsukh is famous for a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and the Devi Sharvati Temple that is located in close proximity.
- Best Time to Visit Manali
- Manali is a beautiful destination that offers different charms in all seasons. Summers witness Manali turning into an escape from the blistering heat of the plains, while winters dress the town in a graceful garb of white snow. Here’s a monthly breakup of Manali’s climatic conditions so that you can plan accordingly:
September to February: The monsoons draw to an end in September and winter starts setting in from October. The temperature in winter months can go down to -1 °C, so make sure you carry enough woolens to keep yourself warm, especially for the chilly nights.
December end to January is the time when you can enjoy snowfall and the spectacular scenic white views of the surrounding mountains, making it a favourite with honeymooners. This is the ideal time for adventure enthusiasts who want to go skiing.
March to June: Summer steps in from March but the weather is still pleasant. The temperatures during these summer months usually vary between 10°C to 25°C, so you might still need light woolens during the night. This is the perfect time to indulge in outdoor activities such as paragliding, rafting, trekking and mountain adventures in the Solang Valley. This is also the time when the region’s flora is in full bloom lending it the most pristine natural beauty.
July-August: Monsoons in Manali can be tricky as the region experiences heavy rainfall, which can also sometimes lead to landslides. But considering a lot of tourists don’t prefer to travel during this time, the prices of hotels tend to drop.
- How To Reach Manali
- Travel options By AirThe nearest airport is at Bhuntar, located approximately 50 kilometres away from Manali. Domestic flights connect Bhuntar with Delhi and Chandigarh. Once at the airport, you can take a pre-paid taxi to Manali. However, owing to weather conditions, flights are not the most reliable option for getting to or out of Manali.
- By BusManali is very well-connected to important tourist destinations like Leh, Shimla, Kullu, Dharamshala and New Delhi by means of a network of state-run as well as private buses. The bus journey from Delhi to Manali is 550 kilometres, and it is advisable to book your tickets in the air-conditioned Volvo coaches, as the buses are more comfortable than ordinary ones, keeping in mind the long distance of the journey.