Situated in the central parts of the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, Manali is at the head of the Kullu valley, 280 km north of the state capital Shimla and 108 km from Mandi. Manali is basically a small town in the Kullu valley of Himachal Pradesh. Manali is perched at an altitude of 2050 meters above sea level and is spread along the banks of the river Beas. Its cool atmosphere provides a perfect haven for the ones afflicted by the hot summers. The town provides ample opportunities for adventure sport and winter sports like skiing, hiking, mountaineering, paragliding, rafting, trekking, kayaking, and mountain biking. There are thick forests, filled with cool breezes and bird song. There are fields of wild flowers, small picturesque hamlets and fruit-laden orchards, especially apples. One sees well-defined snow capped peaks, the Beas river with its clear water meanders through the town. On the other side are deodar and pine trees, tiny fields and fruit orchards. The Kulluis in brightly patterned puttoos, Tibetan women wearing ankle-length rainbow-striped pinafores, Nepali porters, Buddhist monks, and even the odd party of Zanskaris, swathed in fusty woollen gonchas, muddled together with souvenir-hunting Indian and Western tourists-all add up to the welcoming hub of Manali. Doongri Festival, dedicated to Goddess Hadimba is held in May. A fair held in Doongri Forest in honour of the Goddess. Skiing is a major pastime in Manali. Facilities for skiing are available at Solang Nullah (January-March) and Rohtang La (during summer). The Mountaineering Institute at Solang Nullah is a good training institute. Heli skiing is possible at the deep snowfields.
In winters, the temperature can drop below freezing point when heavy woolens are required. Summer temperatures are mild and light woolens/cottons are recommended. The best season to visit Manali is from April to mid-July, mid-sep to mid-nov.
The Mountaineering Institute and Allied Sports (Ph. 52342) is about 3 km from the Mall and offers mountaineering and kayaking courses. Kayaking is possible on the Beas River.
There are several good hikes from Manali. The 12-km hike up the western banks of the Beas to the Solang Valley is noteworthy. Lama Dugh meadow is a 6-km hike up to the Manalsu Nala, west of Manali town.
In the summers, several travel agencies organize paragliding on the slopes of the Solang Nullah. The charges generally include accommodation, food, equipment, and a guide, but not transport.
From May to July and, depending on the monsoons, from mid-September to mid-October, some basic rafting is possible on the Beas. The trips generally begin at Pirdi and continue 16 km down to Jhiri.
How to reach
The nearest airport is Bhuntar, 52 km south of Manali. There are flights to Delhi via Shimla.
The closest narrow-gauge railhead is at Jogindernagar, 135 km away. The closest broad-gauge railheads are Chandigarh (310 km) and Ambala (355 km).
Manali is well connected by road with Delhi, Ambala, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Haridwar, Shimla, Dharamsala and Chamba/Dalhousie. Regular buses ply between these stations. It is connected with Leh during July to October.The distance from Delhi via Mandi is 585 km, and from Shimla the distance is 270 km.
Places of Interest
Vashist Temple , Hadimba Devi temple , Manu Temple , Tibetan Monastery , Nehru Kund , Club House , Museum of Traditional Himachal Culture
Places around Manali
Bhuntar , Bhutti Weavers Colony , Keylong , Rohtang Pass , Udaipur , Beas Kund , Mountaineering Institute , Arjun gufa , Jagatsukh , Solang Valley ,Rehalla Water Falls , Kothi , Manali Sanctuary
Vashist is a small village located on the left bank of river Beas towards Rohtang pass.The hot water spring of Vashishtha is famous for its medicinal power. A large number of people throng here for a bath as the water of the spring is believed to cure several diseases. There is a pyramidal stone temple nearby, which is dedicated to Vashishta Muni. There is another Temple of Lord Ram here.
Hadimba Devi temple
The Hadimba Devi temple is an important place to visit in Manali. The temple is dedicated to the goddess-turned-demoness Hadimba (or Hirimba), the wife of Bhima. It is said that Bhima fell in love with Hadimba, the sister of demon Tandi, whom he killed in order to marry Hadimba. Built in the 1553, this temple is locally known as Doongri Mata temple. The temple is characterised by its pagoda-like roof that adds into the beauty of the place. According to a legend, to prevent the duplication of this four-tier temple construction, the chief craftsman’s right hand was chopped off. But this motivated the builder to construct another more elaborate and beautiful temple with his left hand, for which he lost his head. The second temple was built at Triloknath, 155 km away from Manali.
3 kms. from the main bazar in old Manali lies the temple of MANU RISHI. It is believed that this is the only temple of Manu in India, who was the creator of human race on the earth.
There are 3 newly constructed colorful monasteries, where visitors can buy carpets and other Tibetan handicrafts. Two are located in the town and one at Aleo on the left bank of Beas river.
5 kms. on National Highway to Leh,a natural spring of cold clear water named after Pt. Jwahar Lal Nehru, who used to drink water from this spring during his stay in Manali. This spring is believed to originate from the Bhrigu lake situated high-up in the mountains.
2 kms. from the town, club house has indoor games facilities which has been located on the left bank of Manalsu Nallah. There are some picnic spots near it.
Museum of Traditional Himachal Culture
This small, privately funded museum near the Dhungri temple is worth a quick visit. The curator has spent years collecting folk art and handicrafts from surrounding villages to protect the traditions of the Kullu valley.
Places around Manali
Located at a distance of 50 km from Manali town, Bhuntar is a picturesque town. Bhuntar houses the nearest airport to Manali.
Bhutti Weavers Colony
Bhutti is an important shopping place around Manali. It houses the Himachal State Weaving Co-Operative, also called the Bhutti Weavers colony. It has retail outlets for shawls, caps, gadmas and other handicrafts.
Keylong, located at an altitude of 3,350 metres, is the headquarters of Lahaul and Spiti district of the state of Himachal Pradesh. Keylong makes a convenient base to visit some of the nearby destinations like the Rohtang Pass, Koksar, Sissu, Gondla and Tandi.
Situated about 51 kms from Manali town at an altitude of 4,111 metres (13,400 ft) on the highway to Keylong, is Rohtang Pass. Now regular bus service plies over it from Manali to Keylong in Lahaul district. Here one sees the majesty of the mountains at its height and splendour. At the top of the Pass the air seems to glitter against the snow as you look down over herringboned ridges into the Lahaul Valley. There is a beautiful Dashohar Lake left to the pass, where pilgrims go every year on the auspicious day of 20th Bhadon. This is the only access to Lahaul valley. The pass is open from June to September each year although trekkers can cross the pass a little earlier.
Located at a distance of about 145 km from Manali, Udaipur is the base point to visit a number trekking of sites. It is also famous for its exemplary shikhara style temple built after 1720 near Chamba. Formerly known as Margul, the name Udaipur was given during the reign of Raja Udai Singh of Chamba (1690-1728). The place is also known for its apples, walnuts, apricots, etc.
The famous Beas Kund, the source of the Beas river, at the Rohtang Pass is easily accessible. The great Vyas Rishi performed 'tapa' here during the Mahabharat Kal. The place is still hallowed by the celestial light. It was because of this that the river got the present name of Beas.
Located 3 kms. on the left bank of river Beas towards Kullu. This Institute organises basic & advance training courses, in trekking, mountaineering, skiing and water sports. Skiing and trekking equipments can be hired from here by booking in advance. Tourists can visit an interesting showroom here.
Located at a distance of 15 km from the main Manali town area, Arjun Gufa is another place to visit in Manali. Located near the Prini Village, the legendary gufa (cave) is an ideal spot for a daylong visit. According to a legend, Arjuna, one of the Pandavas, used to practice stringent meditation here to attain the powerful Pashupata Ashtra (a powerful weapon used in warfare).
Located at a distance of 6 km from Manali, Jagatsukh is the largest village of Kullu district. It is situated on the bank of the river Beas, and is famous for its glorious history as well as the religious importance that it holds. The village has a famous temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The structure of the temple is of the Shikhara style. Jagatsukh also holds historical importance as it functioned as the ancient capital of Kullu for about ten generations.
Situated on the road to Rohtang pass, a picturesque spot, Kothi is 12kms. from Manali. A PWD rest house is situated on a ridge overlooking a narrow valley with a very good view of mountains and valleys. Large number of films (movies) have been picturised at this place and is the ideal resting resorts of poets, writers and the lovers of peaceful environs.
Rehalla Water Falls
Located at a distance of 16 km from Manali, the picturesque Rehalla Falls is a result of spilling water from steep rocks and melting glaciers. It is perched at an altitude of 9,000 ft. and provides you an excellent view of the nature around. The entire area is also characterised by the forest of deodar, silver birch trees and a fresh and aromatic air.
Located at a distance of 13 km from Manali town, Solang Valley is known for its beautiful landscape, thrilling 13 kms. is a splendid valley between Solang village and Beas Kund. Solang valley offers the view of glaciers and snow capped mountains and peaks. It has fine ski slopes. The Mountaineering Institute has installed a ski lift for training purpose. Located here is a hut and guest house of the Mountaineering and Allied sports Institute, Manali. Now a few hotels have also come up. The winter skiing festival is organised here. Training in skiing is imparted at this place.
Manali Sanctuary lies immediately west of Manali township in Kullu District and comprises the catchment area of the Manalsu Nala. The area under Manali Sanctuary is 3,127ha using digitised maps with an altitude ranges from 2,273m to 5,173m. Manalsu Nala is a minor tributary of the Beas River. It flows south from its headwaters, comprising Neliall Lake, and then east until its confluence with the Beas River. Only the upper section of the valley shows signs of recent glaciation. The Manali area experiences a temperate climate characterised by cool summers and heavy snowfall in winter, regularly in excess of 1m at 2,000m. Snow remains from December to March, and in January and February cold northerly winds keep temperatures low. Mean annual precipitation is 1,080mm. Temperature ranges from -4 C to 30 C. There are no villages within the sanctuary. Manali Town is a popular summer resort with thousands of visitors arriving annually in April and May, and again in September and October, but relatively few tourists visit the sanctuary which is accessible by foot. There are no visitor facilities in the sanctuary, but various accommodation is available in town.