Manali Travel Guide
Manali literally means the ‘Home of Manu’, the mythological character who survived when the world was drowned in a flood. Spectacular views of snowcapped peaks and wooded slopes, grassy meadows carpeted with wild flowers make Manali the perfect retreat for a family holiday.
Situated on the Beas river (and near its source) amidst lovely forests of towering cedars, circled by snowy peaks and the unending roar of the Beas as a constant companion, Manali also offers unparalleled opportunities for trekking, rock climbing, angling, and winter sport.
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 summer temperatures range between 12° C and 25° C, while the winter temperatures usually remain between 2° C and 15° C.
Close to the snowfields of the Solang Nala and the Rohtang pass, Manali is decidedly cooler than Kullu. During winter there is heavy snowfall, sometimes throwing transportation out of gear. During monsoons Manali gets heavy rainfall, and it is advisable to always travel with sufficient warm clothing.
How to reach Manali
The nearest airport is Bhuntar airport, situated near Kullu town, it is about 50 kms from Manali and 10 Kms from Kullu town. There are limited flights from New Delhi and Chandigarh.
The nearest broad gauge railhead is Chandigarh (320 Kms). Alternative railheads are Shimla (270 Kms) and Jogindernagar (narrow gauge)( 90 Kms), connected with Kalka and Pathankot (broad gauge).
Distance from Manali
|Delhi||570 Kms||Approximate travel time
Both government and private deluxe and Volvo buses are available from Delhi but you need to book these two to five days in advance.
Places of interest in Manali
Manali accounts for nearly a quarter of all tourist arrivals in Himachal Pradesh. Manali’s cool atmosphere provides a perfect haven for the ones afflicted by the hot Indian summers. It is famous for adventure sports like skiing, hiking, mountaineering, para gliding, rafting, trekking, kayaking, and mountain biking. It also offers hot springs, spectacular religious shrines and temples, Tibetan Buddhist temples, and trekking in the surrounding mountains.
Manali has many attractions but the chief center of interest, historically and archeologically, is undoubtedly the Hadimba Temple dedicated to goddess Hadimba or Hadimba Devi. It has four-tiered Pagoda shaped roof and the doorway is carved with legendary figures and symbols. Hadimba Devi Temple in Manali is located amidst wooden forest of deodar. It is a pleasant experience to stroll in the Hadimba Devi Temple complex which was built in 1533 A.D. A large festival is held here in May every year.
Places of interest around Manali
Vashist Springs (3 Kms)
At about more than half an hour’s walking distance from town, about 3 km away from Manali, at an altitude of 1,982 meters (6,200 feet) across the Beas river there are sulphur springs: gush, hot and medicinal – emerging out of the mountains at Vashisht. There are two separate bathing tanks for Gents and Ladies, which are always full of tourists. The village itself is perched on a steep hillside across the river Beas. Nearby is the Pyramidal Stone Temple dedicated to Vashisht Muni. There is another Temple of Lord Ram as well.
Jagatsukh (6 Kms)
It is one of the biggest villages in Kullu district. About 6-km from Manali, Jagatsukh is famous for its Shiva temple that is built in “shikhara” style and nearby is the old Devi Sharvati temple.
Arjun Gufa (5 Kms)
On the left bank of the Beas, 5-km from Manali near the village of Prini, is the ‘Arjun Gufa’ or the cave of Arjuna. In here Arjuna practiced austerities to get Pashupata Ashtra or weapon from Lord Indra.
Rohtang Pass (13 Kms)
Situated about 50-km from Manali town, at an altitude of 4,111m on the highway to Keylong, is the Rohtang Pass. There is a beautiful Dasohar Lake left of the Pass. The Pass, which provides the only access to the Lahaul Valley, is open from June to November each year. Snowfall is, however, unpredictable and blizzards can close the Pass even during this period. Here one sees the majesty of the mountains at its height and splendour. A few km away from the pass is the Sonapani glacier and, slightly to the left are the twin peaks of Gaypan-jagged pyramid of rock, snow streaked and snow crowned.
Beas Kund (13.5 Kms)
The famous Beas Kund, the source of the Beas river, is at the farther end of Rohtang Pass. It is said that great Rishi Vyas meditated here, the place is still hollowed by a celestial light. It is because of this the river got the present name of Beas. The tiny round igloo like stone hut shelters the Beas Kund, the very source of the holy river Beas. Water flows at the source of the river like a spring, so clear and icy cold that it almost numbs the fingers. All around is the rocky terrain with very little vegetation. A few mules graze around while all and sundry try to brave the wind on a clear sunny day.
Kothi (12 Kms)
This is a quiet but picturesque spot, at the foot of the Rohtang pass, just 12 km away Manali town, situated on the Lahaul-Spiti Leh Highway. It offers a magnificent view of the snow-capped peaks and glaciers and an awe inspiring gorge where the Beas enters a chasm about sixty meters deep and just a few meters broad. Kothi used to be a camping site when Rohtang pass had to be climbed on foot.
Solang Valley (13 Kms)
13 Kms from Manali is the Solang Valley, offering spectacular views of the snow-clad mountains and the glaciers all around. Solang is the venue for paragliding and the annual skiing courses.
Manikaran (85 Kms)
85 Kms from Manali and 45 km from Kullu, lies in the Parvati Valley, the holy pilgrimage place of Manikaran. Here icy cold waters of the Parvati river co-exists with boiling water side-by-side. The hot water springs are reputed for their healing properties. The springs in the area are hot enough to boil rice in it. Manikaran, a place of pilgrimage for Hindus and Sikhs, has a temple and a gurudwara.
Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji Gurudwara ( Manikaran 85 Kms)
Manikaran is also held sacred by the Sikhs. According to the Sikh sources, Guru Nanak Dev once visited this place, accompanied by his disciple Bhai Mardana. The gurdwara is commemorated to the same visit of the Guru. The Janam Sakhi or the ‘Autobiography of Bhai Mardana’ mentions the various miracles did by the Guru at this place. Manikaran Gurudwara, built in the mountains, provides some extraordinary sights.
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