Surrounded by snow capped mountains, deep valleys, dense forests, charming tiny villages, pretty wild flower fields and delightful apple orchards, the enchanting hill station of Manali is situated in the Himalayan Mountains on the banks of the River Beas in the state of Himachal Pradesh at an altitude of 6,398 ft. Adventure sports enthusiasts like skiers, hikers, mountaineers, trekkers and mountain bikers come in droves to Manali. The hill station also beckons lovers of paragliding, white water rafting and kayaking.
The many beautiful places to visit here include:
1. Naggar Fort
Now converted into a hotel, the imposing Naggar Fort constructed of rocks and stones has exquisite wood carvings and tasteful art works. A moonlit dinner in the balcony of the restaurant with grand views of the twinkling lights in the Beas Valley is a heart warming experience.
2. Bijli Mahadev Temple
About 20 km from Naggar Fort is Bijli Mahadev Temple at an altitude of 8,000 ft. It is an aesthetically pleasing temple with a 60 ft high staff on the top and tastefully carved doors. Heart stopping views of the Kullu and Parvati valleys can be had from here.
3. Hidimba Devi Temple
The 16th century Hidimba Devi Temple has a 4 storey pagoda and graceful wooden carvings. A festival is held here in the month of May. There is a fun and amusement park near Hidimba temple where one can go in for paddle boating. The Museum of Traditional Himachal Culture is also close by and has artifacts of folk art from the Kullu valley.
4. Vashist Hot Water Springs and Temple
The rustic village of Vashisht is about 3 km from Manali across the River Beas. Natural hot sulphur springs are found here. Visitors enjoy the medicinal properties of the hot springs in modern bathhouses with Turkish style showers. There is a pair of ancient stone temples dedicated to the patron saint Vashista above the main square. The smaller temple opens into a partially covered courtyard and has graceful woodcarvings.
5. Gauri Shankar Temple
The protected monument of Gauri Shankar Temple dates back to the 12th century and is situated in the village of Dashal on the main left bank of Kullu Manali Highway.
6. The Manali Gompa
The Buddhist monastery of Manali Gompa is noted for its huge statue of Buddha and lovely wall paintings.
7. Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa
Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa Buddhist Monastery is at the bottom of the Mall in Manali. The monastery features brightly colored frescoes and a statue of the Buddha.
8. Nyingamapa Gompa
The monastery of Nyingamapa Gompa is near the bazaar with a beautiful garden of sunflowers. There is an enormous gold faced Buddha in the monastery.
9. The Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports
The Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports is situated 3 km from the Mall. The institute conducts basic and advanced training courses in trekking, mountaineering, skiing, paragliding and water sports. One can hire skiing and trekking equipment from this place.
10. Malana Valley Village
The scenic Malana Valley Village is below Chanderkhani Pass at an altitude of 3,079 m towards the north east of Kullu Valley.
11. Manali Sanctuary
Home to the musk deer, Monal and brown bears, Snow leopards and Ibex, the Manali Sanctuary is situated about 2 km from Manali. The way to the sanctuary leads through thick and lush deodar, chestnut, walnut and maple forests.
12. Temple of Manu
The Temple of Manu is situated about 3 km from the chief market place in Old Manali. People come here to enjoy the peaceful and quiet surroundings.
13. Old Manali
Old Manali is at a distance of 3 km northwest of Manali. Lovely orchards, old guesthouses, a ruined fort called Manaligarh and the Manu Maharishi Temple dedicated to sage Manu are the interesting places to visit here.
14. Arjun Gufa
Arjun Gufa or the cave of Arjun is in the village of Prini on the left bank of the River Beas at a distance of 5 km from Manali. Visitors to this cave are awe struck by its natural beauty.
Situated 6 km from Manali is the pretty village of Jagatsukh. It is widely known for the Shiv Temple built in the ‘Shikhara’ style and the ancient Devi Sharvati Temple.
16. Nehru Kund
The natural spring of cold and clear water called Nehru Kund is about 6 km from Manali on the Manali-Keylong road. It is named after the first Prime Minister of India, Jawharlal Nehru.
The picturesque village of Kothi situated at the bottom of the Rohatang Pass about 12 km from Manali gives awesome views of the River Beas flowing through a deep gorge.
18. Solang Valley
Situated at a distance of 13 km northwest of Manali is beautiful Solang Valley. It is also called Snow Point. There is a 300 m ski lift here. Solang Valley has ravishing views of slow moving glaciers and snow capped mountains.
19. Gulaba Camp
Gulaba Camp is a popular picnic spot about 20 km from Manali. It offers splendid views of the Himalayan Mountains.
20. Rahla Waterfalls
The cascading waterfalls of Rahla is at a distance of 27 km from Manali with a drop of 8,205 ft. Surrounded by dense deodar and silver birch forests, the falls is truly an enchanting place. A peaceful walk in the surrounding areas restores the weary soul of the visitor.
The pilgrimage centre of Manikaran is situated at an altitude of 1760 m in the Parvati Valley between the rivers Beas and Parvati. It is at a distance of 45 km from Kullu on the way to Manali. It well known for its hot springs, Gurudwara of Manikaran, Ramachandra Temple and Shiv Temple.
22. Rohtang Pass
About 40 km from Manali, the highest point on the Manali-Keylong road, Rohtang Pass is situated at an altitude of 13,050 ft. A truly striking view of the Himalayan Mountains can be had from here. Close to the Rohtang Pass are Dassaur Lake and Beas Kund the source of River Beas.
23. Beas Kund
Beas Kund from where the River Beas originates is about 50 km from Manali and close to Rohtang Pass. An igloo shaped rock shelters Beas Kund and the waters of this lake are freezing. Adventure lovers can try paragliding, trekking and skiing here.
Location: Manali is situated in the Himalayan Mountains on the banks of the River Beas, at the northern end of the Kullu Valley in the state Himachal Pradesh.
Altitude: Manali lies at an altitude of 6,398 ft or 2050 m.
Climate: With cold winters and moderately cool summers, Manali is the ideal place to visit. The average annual temperatures range from 4 °C to 30 °C. The average summer temperature ranges from 14 °C to 20 °C and the average winter temperature from ?7 °C to 10 °C. The average annual precipitation is 60 in (1,520 mm). Snow usually falls in the months of January and February.
Best time to travel: May to October is the best time to visit Manali.
Accommodation: Heritage hotels, 4 star hotels, budget hotels, guest houses, circuit houses, youth hostels and resorts are available.
By Flight: Bhuntar is the closest airport to Manali at a distance of 50 km.
By Train: The nearest broad gauge railheads to Manali are Ambala Cantonment at a distance of 355 km, Chandigarh at 315 km, Pathankot at 325 km and Kalka at 310 km. The nearest narrow gauge railhead to Manali is Joginder Nagar at a distance of 135 km.
By Road: Highways NH-21 and NH 1 connect Manali to the cities of New Delhi, Panipat, Ambala, Chandigarh, Ropar, Bilaspur, Sundernagar and Mandi. The distances from New Delhi to Manali is 550 km, from Shimla 280 km and from Mandi 108 km. There are regular bus services from Delhi, Shimla, Dharamshala and Leh to Manali. The time taken to reach Manali from Delhi is about 18 hours, from Ambala to Manali is 10 hours and from Kulu to Manali is 3 hours.
I am going to visit Manali from 16thfeb-19thfeb’2010. Which are the must visit places there? so that i can aicgrdcnoly plan my itenary. I wonder if Rohtang pass will be open at that time..n will get to see snowfall. Is the Paragliding & skiing open that time?
There are many in the main towns. Not so many in the villages. In Dhankar there were about 6 other peolpe during most days, in some smaller villages none. But Spiti is certainly not completely off the beaten track.