High peaks and adventures that with lush greenery that cannot be forgotten is what a Manali trip is all about. Come with friends or as a backpacker or with family and take back the magical vibe from the pine forests and the beautiful Beas River that borders this amazing destination. Legend states that an ancient Sage’s ark found its resting spot there after a flood and Manali literally translates to the resting place of a saint named Manu.
This hill station is nestled in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, located near the northern part of the Kullu Valley.
The best time to travel
The best time for travel to Manali is late March until the mid of July (before the monsoon arrives), and September to October. From October onwards, the Manali weather starts getting cold, and snow begins in December. The spring (late March to late April), when nature starts to come alive again after the winter, is a beautiful time to visit hence is a star in Himachal tourism destinations.
What to Do in Manali
If you are looking for adrenaline pumping adventure activities, Manali is paradise for it! White water rafting, fishing, mountaineering, fishing, paragliding, skiing and hiking are some of the many activities here. Many companies that run and organize adventure tours (Mountaineering and Allied sports, North face Adventure tours and Himalayan Journeys are known to be the safest ones) are speckled all over Manali.
Places to visit in Manali
This tranquility radiating temple is located 2.5kms away from Manali, inside the dhoongri forest and is dedicated to the wife of Bhima- Hidimba. The magnificent 4 tiered Pagoda like roof and doorway is engraved with legendary symbols and is a must visit spot for mythology lovers.
51kms away from Manali, this pass is a great spot for nature and adventure lovers with its thrilling activities like skiing, snow scooter, mountain biking etc. along with a beautiful view of peaks, Chanda River and glaciers.
Just 13kms away from Manali, this beautiful valley is nestled in between Beas Kund and Solang village and the gorgeous glaciers here make it the perfect ski spot for tourists. In the summer, this place turns into a famous Manali tourist place for zorbing, horse riding, parachuting etc.
The Himalayan Nyingamapa Gompa and Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa are the storehouses of Tibetan literature, crafts and culture. The combination of the beautiful interiors, chanting, aroma of incense and the well maintained gardens make it the perfect meditation spot in Manali.
This sacred place is home to some of the best camping and trekking spots and is also the birthplace of the Beas River. With its rocky terrain and no vegetation, this adventure area can only be explored only on foot.
Vashist Hot Water Springs and Temples
Located just 3kms away from Manali, the Vashist village is famous for its temples and natural hot springs. A dip in the river is considered medicinal by the tourists and locals.
The natural cold spring is just 5kms away from Manali and it’s the favorite spot of photography and nature buffs because of its lush, serene surroundings.
How to Reach Manali?
Bhuntar is the closest airport which is about 50kms away from Manali and can be travelled to by taxi. The airport has a lot of flights to and from Delhi.
Travelling by the broad gauge trains is also one of the faster ways to get to Manali by taking one to the nearest railways stations of Pathankot, Kalka and Chandigarh.
Getting to this beautiful location by road is the easiest way to get there. It is a mere 110kms away from Mandi, 85km away from Manikaran and 311kms from Chandigarh to Manali. The road from Delhi to Manali is 538kms long.
Festivals in Manali
Hadimba Temple showcases a three day festival (in mid-July) known as Dhungri Mela which is perfect glimpse of the local culture there. Goddesses and Gods are decked up and carried around in a procession to the temple. Also local artists come out and perform folk dances.
The Kullu Dusshera is another popular festival which falls in October. Trance parties are held on outdoor locations around Old Manali usually during May and July, but of lately due to police interference the party scene isn’t the same as before.
Where to Stay in Manali
Most accommodation places here overlook the beautiful valley or or the Beas River which is a treat for all your senses.
The Mall road offers a wide range of options ranging from Luxury resorts that are preferred by cosmopolitan couples and businessmen, quaint river side cottages in Manali are preferred by backpackers. The 3 star budget hotels in Manali are usually favored by middle class families or honeymooners.
Foodie’s paradise spots
Old Manali houses Casa Bella Vista which is known for its fresh thin crust pizza and the coffee drink which is a must try along with Johnson’s café’s trout which is served in various delicious forms (baked and pan fried) with great sides and sauces.
Drifter’s Café with its terrace seating and scrumptious dishes including fried eggs, sausages, etc. that can all be enjoyed over a game or a book or just the view from up there.
Shopping in Manali
The main shopping destination is the Mall Street with its range of items from caps, Kinnauri shawls, footwear, Tibetan handicrafts etc.
Other shopping zones include the Lama Underground, Thai Market, Dragon, Shangri La Shopping complex, etc., which are all within the Mall street.
Old Manali Market is known for the hippie way of life and fresh jellies, jams and pickles can be picked up as souvenirs, after a round of bargaining.
The local handicrafts like rugs and shawls can be purchased at the Himachal Handicrafts emporium/Bhuticco weaver’s cooperative. .
Turquoise or silver jewelry, local tweeds, bamboo souvenirs, Buddhist paintings etc are sold by the refugee community in the Tibetan Bazaar area.