Manali is a town nestled in the mountains of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh near the northern end of the Kullu Valley in the Beas River Valley. Manali nestled at an altitude of about 2050 meter (6300 ft). Located on the banks of River Beas surrounded by long stretch of Pine, Deodar and Dhupi trees. Tourists need to spend at least 3 nights to visit all the local watch able spread around Manali. Manali is named after the Sanatan Hindu lawgiver Manu. The name Manali is regarded as the derivative of ‘Manu-Alaya’ which literally means ‘the abode of Manu’. Legend has it that sage Manu stepped off his ark in Manali to recreate human life after a great flood had deluged the world. Manali is naturally beautifies with numerous valleys of natural grass carpets, mountain streams, Apple orchard and jungles. During winter the whole region of Manali gets covered with thick layers of snow. From the lower end of Manali River Beas (or Bipasha) flows at one end and River Manalsu flows to the other. Manali produces red coloured Apples along with Peach, Cherry, Apricot and Akhrot. Mall Road is the heart of Manali. The offices of Municipal Corporation, fire service, and police headquarters are located here. Automobiles, except emergency vehicles are not allowed on this road. Mall Road of Manali has a number of showrooms, department stores, shops, restaurants and cafes. A Himachal emporium that offers handicraft products of Himachal Pradesh like locally designed woolen clothes, branded clothes, pottery items, wooden products, and jewellery is also located here. The climate condition of Manali is predominantly cold during winter and moderately cool during summer. Manali lies in the North of Kullu Valley. The valley is often referred to as the ‘Valley of the Gods’. Old Manali village has an ancient temple dedicated to sage Manu. Indian epic says the Pandavas of Mahabharata was completely amazed and spell bound by the picturesque beauty of Manali.
Tourism in Manali
Manali has a great significance in terms of tourism. After Shimla (the state capital of Himachal Pradesh) Manali is the second destination to receive huge number of tourists throughout the year. Manali is among the favourite destinations for honeymoon. Apart from these during the month of December to April Manali hosts numbers of adventure sports Para Shooting, Para Gliding, Skating, Skiing, mountaineering, river rafting, Horse Riding, Yak Riding. Manali has also a great significance for its numerous religious shrines, temples and Buddhists monasteries those were known from the ancient times. Manali is also known for its woolen woven garments those features Poshmin Shawls and Sweaters. The cool temperature of Manali during the summers attracts numerous visitors and tourists those likes to escape the scorching heat of the plains.
Places of Tourist interest around Manali
Rhotang Pass – From Manali around 51 km is Rhotang Pass nestled at an altitude of about 3878 meter. Near Rhotang Pass Beas Kund is worth visiting, this is the birth of River Beas. Rhotang pass is the gateway to the famous Lahul – Spiti Valley and Leh. From Rhotang Pass on return journey tourists get to see Rahana Waterfall. Rhotang Pass remains closed for tourist visit during the month of December to April as because this time of the year the whole region remains covered with snow. At Rhotang Pass interested tourists can take part in adventure sports like Snow Biking, Skiing, Horse Riding, Yak Riding and Paragliding. Tourists need to collect the entry permit from the designated office of HPTDC at Manali.
Solang Valley – From Manali around 14 km to the North – West is Solang Valley. Solang Valley is mainly known for adventure sports like Para Shooting, Para Gliding, Skating, Sking and other types of activities. At Solang Valley there is 24 ft long Shiva Linga. Solang also serves as a base camp for mountaineering expeditions to Anjani Mahadev, Hanuman Tibba Patalsu Peak. Interested tourists can also spend one night at Solang Valley during their Manali visit.
Hot Water Spring – Vashisht is a small village located around 3 km from Manali across the River Beas. This beautiful village is famous for its sulfurous along with a mixture of Uranium and other radioactive components hot water spring and Vashisht temple, built just next to the springs. The water from this spring is believed to have great healing powers, which can cure many skin diseases and other infections.
Manikaran – The village of Manikaran is guarded with Harindar Peak. Naggar lies around 41 km from Manali. From Manali around 86 km is Manikaran nestled at an altitude of about 5000 ft (1737 meter). To the north of Manikaran is Harendra Hills and to the east and south is the confluence of River Bramha Ganga and River Parvati. At Manikaran there is Hot Spring, this was is a mixture of Uranium and other radioactive components. The Gurduwara of Guru Nanak at Manikaran is worth visiting.
Old Manali – From Manali around 3 km is Old Manali, mainly famous for its numerous Orchards and Old Guesthouses. The temple of Manu Maharshi a holy site for the Hindus is located at Old Manali.
Naggar – Naggar lies on the western banks of River Beas. There is a castle on the hilly terrain of Naggar that was built during 16th century and it was built by King Sidh Singh. This castle was designed in western and Himalayan architectural style. Inside the castle there is a museum that has a wide collection of some of the works of Russian artist Nicholas Roerich. To the downward side of the castle there is ‘Gouri Shankar’ temple, here the idol is Lord Shiva. The wall art of this temple are really eye catching. Another spot of tourist attraction at Naggar is the Tripura temple. This temple is completely built from the woods of Deodar trees. Naggar offers picturesque view of Rhotang Pass and Jifing Peak. Naggar lies around 41 km from Manali. This Royal Residence Castle is now transformed into a Heritage hotel run by HPTDC.
Kullu – Kullu or Kulu is the capital town of the Kullu district in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It is located on the banks of the Beas River in the Kullu Valley about 10 kilometers north of the airport at Bhuntar. Kullu Valley is a broad open valley formed by the Beas River between Manali and Largi. The heart of Kullu is Dholpur Maidan and the Dusshera festival of Kullu is famous worldwide.
Kothi – Kothi is an awe-inspiring destination, which is located at the foothills of Rohtang Pass, approximately 12 kilometers from Manali at an altitude of 2500 meters above sea level. This splendid village offers a magnificent view of snow capped mountains and glaciers and of the Beas River that flows through a very deep and narrow gorge at this point.
Buddhists Monasteries – At Manali there is about 3 Buddhist Monastery. Among this Ningmapa Buddha Monastery is also worth watching, the interior and exterior of the monastery is very beautifully decorated and engraved. There is a big idol of Lord Buddha inside the monastery.
Neheru Kund – From Manali on the way to Rhotang Pass, just 5 km beyond there is a hot water spring fed that emerged from the waters of Brighu Lake. This hot water spring was named after Jawaharlal Neheru.
Temples – From mall to the upward direction around 2 km is the temple of Hidimba Devi. In the year 1553 King Bahadur Singh built this four tier Pagoda style temple made of wood and stone. The locals also call it Dhungri Temple. The front gate of the temple is decorated with different types of architecture along with a foot print of Hidimba Devi on the marbel of the temple. From Manali around 5 km is Baishiata Temple, and near the temple there is hot water spring. From the Hidimba Temple to the south around 200 meter there is a holy tree. According to Hindu epic Mahabharata Hidimba was one of the wives of Bhima (of the five Pandavas). Only at Manali has is worshipped as a goddess. This temple attracts architectures and Hindu devotees from around the world. The Hidimba temple is located amidst Indian Ceder and Pine forests. In the premises of the Hidimba temple there is the temple of Ghatotkacha, the son of Bhima and Hidimba. Another temple is the famous ‘Manu Temple’. This magnificent temple is dedicated to the sage Manu, who is said to be the creator of the world and the writer of Manusmriti. The Manu Temple is located in old Manali. The word Manali means ‘Home of Manu’.
Manali Wildlife Sanctuary – The Manali Wildlife sanctuary is about 2 km from the Manali. This wildlife sanctuary shelters many of the rare and endangered Himalayan fauna like Snow Leopard, Ibex, Blue Sheep, brown bear, Musk deer and many more. The wildlife sanctuary is guarded by long Deodar, Maple, cedar and walnut trees. The bridle path of the wildlife sanctuary will take you to the camping site where some of these wild animals are spotted.
Other Places of Tourist Interest –
- Van Vihar Park – From Manali bus stand to the south there is Van Vihar Park, surrounded by long Cedar trees. This place is mainly a children park. Van Vihar Park Nature Park situated on the banks of River Beas.
- Folk Museum – From Manali town within walk able distance is Folk Museum. This Museum has collections of antiques those depicts old cultures of Himachal cultures.
- Jogini Falls – From Manali tourists can visit Jogini Falls by trekking. The Jogini waterfall is a hot water spring.
- Manali Club House – Another place of tourists attraction at Manali is ‘Manali Club House’, this place is famous for organizing indoor games.
- Rahala Falls – The stunning Rahala Falls is located at a height of 8,500 ft (nearly 2500 meter) and about 16 km from Manali. It is located on the way to Rohtang Pass and whoever visits the Rohtang valley makes a halt at Rahala Falls to enjoy the scenic beauty of the place.
How to reach – From Shimla HPTDC Deluxe buses and private buses are available those reaches Manali, time takes about 10 hours. Manali can also be reached from Chandigarh. And from Kullu almost all buses reach Manali. From Shimla everyday at 08.30 am buses leave for Manali and time takes around 06.05 hours. Kalka is about 281 from Manali.
Things to know – For those who like to visit Manali from Kinnaur via Lahul, Spiti, Kaza, Kunzum Pass and Rhotang Pass, they need to leave Kaza at very early morning. Though From Kaza is takes around 08 to 09 hours to reach Manali, but due to road blockage or peak season road jam the times may extend.
Distance of Other Destinations from Manali
Shimla -260 kilometer
Delhi – 570 kilometer
Kasoli – 275 kilometer
Pathankot – 325 kilometer
Chandigarh – 320 kilometer
Palampur – 200 kilometer
Dalhousie – 385 kilometer
Dharmasala – 235 kilometer
Mandi – 110 kilometer
Kullu – 40 kilometer
Manikaran – 85 kilometer
Chamba – 402 kilometer