MANALI TRAVEL GUIDE
A picturesque hill station encircled by snowy mountains and dense pinewoods with the meandering Beas River, Manali in the state of Himachal Pradesh is famed for its aesthetic beauty. Lying at an altitude of 6260 feet, Manali is the premier hill station in the Kullu valley, whose splendor lies in the ever flowing Beas river with conifer gradients and crop orchards hiking up to the snow clad knolls of Himalayas. This awe inspiring hill resort is sandwiched between the imposing peaks of Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar. A land, which is the holy abode of numerous goddesses and gods, this gorgeous hill resort is puffed up with colourful festivals, fairs and pretty shrines.
Renowned as the queen of valleys, this beautiful hill station in the lower Himalayas is close knit with the legendary law giver of ancient India, Manu. It is believed that, Manali is the place where the ark of Manu found its resting after a great flood. Manali, which literally means the abode of Manu, has got remarkable significance in the ethnic culture and tradition of India.
With skyscraping mountains bounded by blizzards and deep rock spread ravines Manali presents a distinguished holiday spot for all. The chunky afforests with cool gentle winds, vast expansion of meadows, small quaint settlements and lovely orchards, give a majestic look to the serene ambiance of Manali.
Besides the splendor of its natural vista, a lot of other interesting activities are in store in Manali. A trendy holiday spot, Manali offers outstanding opportunities in mountaineering, trekking and skiing. The unexplored hilly route to the adjacent valleys is an awe inspiring experience.
With scores of artifacts, the malls and other shops of Manali offer a delightful shopping experience to tourists. Gifted with breathtaking sceneries, Manali serves as a perfect place for those who want to be in the midst of blossoming greens and valley views.
Places of Tourist Attaraction Near Manali
A unique medieval structure, Naggar Castle is a very popular tourist spot located close to Manali in Naggar. Built around 1460 AD, by Raja Sidh Singh of Kullu, the castle has a unique architectural blend of western and Himalayan style. The castle is scenically located near the Beas River and offers panoramic views of the surroundings.
The castle houses the Reorich gallery that displays the paintings of the famous Russian painter, Nicholas Reorich. A beautiful blend of stone and wood, the mansion was once the home of the Raja but was converted to a rest house (run by HPTDC) in the year 1978.
The castle also served as the backdrop for one of the song for the popular blockbuster ‘Jab we Met’ .
Nicholas Roerich Art Gallery, Naggar
Nicholas Reorich Art Gallery is a very popular attraction in Naggar. The museum displays a private collection of paintings of the Russian painter Nikolai Reorich, who lived here and died in the year 1947. The ground floor of the gallery is dedicated to the paintings of Kullu, Spiti and Lahaul by the painter. The upper floor preserves the artist’s private rooms.
Urusvati Himalayan Folk Art Museum, Naggar
Established as a Research Institute in 1928 by Professor Nicholas Roerich, Urusvati Himalayan Folk Art Museum at present is a major attraction of Naggar inviting many visitors. The museum is rightly placed 100 m uphill from the Nicholas K. Roerich Art Gallery. The primary aim behind the establishment of this museum was to provide a place of study, research on Tibetan medicines, Indian traditional and the ethos of the Himalayan region.
The museum was titled with a new name “Urusvati”, meaning “Light of the morning star” in Sanskrit, in the year 1993. Dedicated to the Russian folk art, the gallery also showcases musical instruments, painted dishes, stone carvings, oil paintings by Russian artists and others.
In addition to a variety of traditional customs of Ladakh, Tibet, Kullu and Lahaul-Spiti, the museum also has beautifully crafted idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses, a picture of Lord Buddha and Pahari paitings.
Beas Kund (Chandratal Lake), Manali
A historic place, where it is believed that Sage Vyas had performed his daily bath, Beas Kund is regarded as sacred by the Hindus. The originating point of the Majestic River Beas, Beas Kund is sheltered by an igloo like stone formation.
A typical rocky terrain, this place is devoid of vegetation and is only reachable through trekking. Apart from its religious importance, Beas Kund offers tremendous defying activities like trekking and camping for adventurous enthusiasts.
The region has one of the most alluring treks in the Kullu region, which can be tried by anyone. While in Beas Kund it is very easy to climb the nearby located Shitidhar, Friendship, Ladakhi and Hanuman Tibba peaks.
It will take around 3 to 4 hours to explore the region. Besides, it’s best to visit during May to October as the temperature remains pleasant. Be sure to carry light woolens during your visit.
Chandrakhani Pass, Kullu
Chandrakhani Pass is located in the Parbati valley that joins Malana Valley to Kullu Valley. An ideal base for trekking, the pass is known for its scenic beauty. Chandrakhani is 3600m above sea level and offers scenic trekking trails.
Just below the Chandrakhani pass, trekkers can stop over at the small village of Malana which is a cluster of stone roof houses. The best season for trekking at Chandrakhani pass is from May to October.
Pandoh Dam, Kullu
Around 10 kms from Manali lies this vast expanse of man-made beauty. Pandoh dam is a power generator hydro-electric dam, built on river Beas. The lake is the reservoir of the dam and has five bays that regulate the water.
At a height of 76 m, the dam is earth cum rock filled and is part of the Bhakra Beas Management Board. This dam is en route to Manali from Kullu and tourists can stop over here to capture a few glimpses of this magnanimous beauty in their cameras.
Rohtang Pass, Manali
A lofty mountain pathway that connects Kullu with Spiti and Lahaul. This pass is a popular picnic spot in summer. All tourists going to Manali long to visit this imposing site since one can sense and tap the snow even in the hottest season of the year. At a height of 4111 meter, Rohtang Pass, which is 51 km away from Manali, presents a striking sight of glaciers, mountains and the landscape. A gateway to the adjoining tourist destinations, this scenic spot provides excellent opportunities for trekking.
Depending upon the snowfall in the upper regions, Rohtang Pass opens at any time during the month of May for travel and a seal in September. The tedious journey is often dangerous owing to the high velocity wind and the unpredictable snowfall. Adventure sports such as skiing, mountain biking and paragliding can be enjoyed at this place.
This is one of the few regions in the country where snow can be found even during summers (depending on weather conditions). Rohtang Pass is the 'Highest Jeepable Road in the World' and offers spectacular views of the Himalayas. Located on the Manali Keylong Highway, one needs a permit to travel on Rohtang pass from the Indian Army, ensuring safety as well as movement of vehicles.
Vehicles can be booked for a journey to Rohtang or one can also opt for shared taxis. Make sure to leave in the early morning for Rohtang so as to get right up to the Snow point. 'Skiing Dress' is available but it’s a good idea to make your own arrangement beforehand. Marhi, Rahala waterfalls and Solang Valley are some nearby attractions that can be visited.
Solang Valley (Snow Point), Manali
Situated 13 km northwest of Manali, between Beas Kund and Solang village is the gorgeous Solang valley, particularly a pictorial spot presenting awesome scenery of snow clad mountains and glaciers. Solang valley, also known as Snow Point is famous for its 300 m ski lift. The valley is reachable by taxi or trekking is another option.
The place is also well known for adventurous sports whether summer sports or winter sports. Parachuting, skating/skiing, zorbing and paragliding are some of the famous sports played here. Few ski agencies also offer different courses as well as equipment to enjoy but these agencies are active only in winter seasons since snow melts in summer season.
To enjoy to the maximum, it is best to visit Solang Valley during the months of January and February, when this spot becomes busy with activities. This fabulous place is also the center of the annual winter skiing festival.
Besides, the valley also holds a shrine of Lord Shiva on the top of a hill. Hidimba temple and Rahala Waterfalls are also few nearby attractions to visit.
The Great Himalayan National Park, Kullu
Great Himalayan National Park, also known as Jawahar Lal Nehru Great Himalayan National Park, is an ideal place for wildlife buffs. Located amidst the spectacular natural vista, the park is home to some of the most elusive and endangered species of animals.
Sprawling on an area of 50 sqkm, there are around 180 species of bird and mammals that tourists can sight here. Some of the most popular animals tourist can look forward to sights include musk deer, brown bears, Himalayan Tahr, Ibex, black bears and rare species of snow leopard.
The best way to explore the park is by taking up a five day trek that is organized by the park authorities. Park rangers accompany the tourists. Hence safety is not a concern. The arrangements can be made at the Sai Ropa Tourist Center, located 5 Kms before Gushaini.
The best time to visit the park is from the months of April to June and again from September to November. Tourists are advised have a travel insurance that covers emergency helicopter evacuations.
To reach the Himalayan National Park, tourists can catch any bus on the Mandi-Manali route to Aut, and further take a taxi to the park entrance.
Bijli Mahadev Temple, Kullu
Situated atop of a majestic hill, Bijli Mahadev Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple houses the pictorial view of the luxuriant valley below. The Pahari style temple architecture offers an eye-catching scenario to visitors.
Placed at a height of 2450 meters, this temple holds an amazing but true story of its own. It says that Shivlinga in the temple had broken into pieces due to lightning and the temple priest adheres it with butter. It is quite unbelievable that this strange phenomenon recurs every year.
A holy darshan of the temple requires a hefty voyage of three kilometers on foot, which is quite tiresome. The uphill path towards this sacred shrine is flanked by pine trees that make the stride a pleasant one.
Gayatri Temple, Manali
Located at Jagatsukh, around 7 km away from Manali is the Gayatri temple. It houses a marble image of Goddess Gayatri. The intricate woodwork of this ancient temple is worth admiring. Some other ancient temples are also located near this exquisite monument. One of them is the shikara style Shiva temple, which is worth a visit.
Hadimba Temple, Manali
The patron-deity of the Rajas of Kullu, Hadimba Temple or Dhungri Temple, located 2 km from Manali, has an over flowing history dating back to the epic era. This temple is dedicated to Hadimba a 'Rakshashi’, and was built in the year 1553. A Pagoda styled shrine in the midst of a deep cedar forest, Hadimba temple resembles the Naggar Temple.
A four-story structure, with exquisite woodcarvings has a huge Shikhara that towers over the shrine. Beautiful carving of Goddess Durga embellishes the doors of the temple. A windy conduit through forests and dells of sighing Deodars sets an imposing atmosphere to this lovely temple. These wooded surroundings would definitely rejuvenate one’s mind.
Visitors can access the temple by bus or taxi, while it’s just a 20 minute distance on foot from Manali Tourist Office and will take around 1 hour to see the temple. The best time to visit is during May, when the 3-day festival of Dhungri is celebrated.
Hanogi Mata Temple, Kullu
Located on the Mandi-Manali National Highway, Hanogi Mata Temple is a popular temple attraction. Dedicated to Hango Mata, this Hindu temple is visited by devotees all the year round. Located atop a small peak, green mountains serve as a backdrop for the temple and a gleaming stream flowing below makes this temple a stunning attraction.
Jagannathi Devi Temple (Bekhli Temple), Kullu
The sacred abode of Jagannathi devi, this temple is believed to have been constructed 1500 years ago. The deity in the temple is also known as Bhuweneshawari, who is considered as the sister of Lord Vishnu. The walls of the temple are carved with the images of Durga and the temple as such reflects the local architecture.
Like all other temples in India, this beautiful shrine is also linked with a legend. It is said that once a shepherd boy accidentally noticed that two girls danced to the tune of his magical flute and he caught hold of one among them. The goddess revealed her identity and agreed to settle in the village at Bekhli.
The Jagannathi Devi Temple or the Bekhli Temple is perched at an altitude of 1800 meter. The 90 minutes ascend to the top is rewarded with the panoramic views of the surroundings and the holy dharshan of the gorgeous deity. The idols in the shrine show Rajasthani and Gaddi tribal influences.
Raghunath Temple, Kullu
This famous Rahgunath temple is renowned for its seven day long Dussehra festivals. This temple is dedicated to Raghunath Ji. The idol in the temple is taken from Tretnath temple and the popular belief is that it is the same idol that was used by Lord Rama. Raghunath Temple was built in the year 1650 AD. The temple architecture is a curious blend of Pyramidal and Pahari style.
The deity in this shrine is believed to be the safe guarder of the entire valley and it is believed that King Jagat Singh constructed this temple to get rid of his sinful past.
Situated on a hillock, this majestic shrine gives panoramic views of Kullu valley, which fascinates every one who comes here for darshan.
Vashisht Baths, Manali
A tiny locale, situated on the banks of the majestic River Ravi, Vashisht is bestowed with natural springs and fabulous sand stone temples. Just about thirty minutes’ walk brings oneself to this sleepy hamlet. Situated at the suburbs of the town (6 km), Springs of Vashisht are very significant for their medicinal value.
The gushing waters of the hot brooks are excellent ailments for skin diseases. Large number of people visits these springs to have a dip. The authorities have arranged separate bathing provisions for men and women.
The Vashistha temple has two springs flowing below the temple and is free to use, but they can get dirty. Tourists and pilgrims can alternatively enjoy bathing at the Hot Bath Complex about a ten-minute walk from the downtown from Manali.
Besides these gurgling streams, Vashisht also houses pretty old shrines dedicated to lord Ram and his kula guru, Sage Vashisht. These stone temples have excellent and exquisite carvings on woods. The interior of the temple is getting blackened by the continuous use of oil lamps and other incenses. Placed on the banks of the majestic river, these temples present a serene and tranquil ambience to the visitor.
ADVENTURE SPORTS IN MANALI
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