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A Visit to Manali
Being a free spirit, traveling is one of my favourite things. When ever i get the opportunity to travel , i'm always up for it. Recently, i took a trip to Manali with four other friends. Loved the place. Thought of writing about the experience so that more people visit the beautiful place and have a nice time just the way i did. It was an experience that made me thoroughly refreshed. Taking a break from our hectic work lives is always worth it. Makes us feel recharged and revitalized.
About the Place
Manali is a hill station nestled in the mountains of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh near the northern end of the Kullu Valley, at an altitude of 2,050 m (6,726 ft) in the Beas River Valley. It is located in the Kullu district, about 270 km (168 mi) north of the state capital, Shimla. It is a place that boasts of serene valleys, lush green landscapes and yes, SNOW!
Situated at the foothills of the mighty Himalayan ranges, Manali is oft-frequented by tourists all over the world. It is a gateway to Rohtang Pass, the pathway dotted by 7-foot high, snow-clad walls on both sides. The shimmering beauty of the place is for all to see. Manali is an impeccable tourist destination in India that showcases completely splendor with its beautiful mountains and valleys. This pristine hill station possess pleasant aura that becomes even more cheerful and merry with the augment of its various traditional fairs and festivals. Manifesting cultural extravaganzas, the people of Manali celebrates each festival with pomp and show.
Manali is also the base camp for many high altitude treks. You can also do paragliding, river rafting, Skiing (in winters) and zorbing. Hire cycles on rent and go for cycling..Hire motorbikes on daily basis or as many days you wish and visit many places if you dont wish to hire private cabs. Permits are required to visit some of the places.There are many local travel companies where there are daily packages for visiting various places around Manali.You can hire Private Taxis and visit all the near by places - Solang, Rohtang Pass, Naggar, Kullu.. Every place has its unique beauty and is worth visiting.
Best Time to Visit
April to November
Must Visit Places in Manali
While you decide to step out and exploreplaces to visit near Manali, you'll be surprised with these even more beautiful and less crowded spots located in the lesser-traversed areas of the Himalayas. If you've had your fill of the Manali's central Mall Road and want to venture out from the hill town, then here are some short trips that you can plan while you're in the area.
Solang Valley is at a distance of 13 kms from Manali. The valley offers panoramic views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains and glaciers.
There are no words to describe the experience of the soundless wing flying high through the sky. If you are an experienced paraglider, Solang has a lot to offer. There are 2 jump stations, one on a lower and one on a higher level. For the higher one you take the gondola to the top station. Even if you're not , a trained professional will fly with you. Paragliding is available in both winter and summer season. One of the most popular activities in this beautiful valley, Paragliding offers you an unforgettable experience. Once at Solang, you will be surrounded by operators offering you a number of options. The prices depend on the duration of a session. From 15 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on the speed and direction of the wind, you can fly like a bird in the sky. Everyone from kids to adults can participate in a fun session of paragliding. A short, basic training is all it takes for you to be up in the sky. The operators are trustworthy, efficient and will be with you at every step. If you are pro at paragliding, you may be in for a little disappointment as the paragliding sessions conducted here are mostly for beginners. Yet who would say no to a little bit of fun and a chance to witness the breathtaking beauty of the valley.
The Solang valley which is already famous for skiing and paragliding, also offer its visitors to enjoy a novel adventure zorbing. It is an inflatable pvc ball which contains another smaller ball that is suspended into position by thousand nylon strands of varying colours that is suitable only for grass covered slopes. Zorbing stops when snow covers the grass slope in winter.500 per person. In Manali this game is playing during summer season.
When you reach Solang Valley, you have got to see the top of the mountain. The ropeway here will help you reach half way and the ride is awesome. The ropeway works till 6 in the evening. You can go up hill on one , and get back in any one when ever you feel like. I insist spend considerable amount of time exploring the place. Its gorgeous.
Book in Advance
A lot of adventure seeking people are present at Solang Valley. So book in advance for paragliding. You can either opt for 15 minutes or 45 minutes.
We trekked to Jogni fall mid way on the way back from Solang Valley to Manali. The path is covered by rivulets , small waterfalls, pine forests and meadows. Most people start the trek from Vashisht to Jogini Falls but we took a different route and i can vouch for the fact that it is a better route. The trek is very easy . More of a hike. Best part is the waterfall . Its nature at its best. So bewitching. We took off our shoes and immersed our feet in water and sat there for a while before moving to the next spot - Vashist (which is a hot water spring). The small trek leading upto this clearing is fairly easy and definitely worth the effort. Navigating craggy paths though the ancient village is a memorable experience in itself.
If you plan to spend a few hours in the midst of nature, packing in a hearty picnic basket would be a good idea. The first sight of the falls is astonishing to say the least. Abruptly flowing through a cluster of small hills, the falls are the perfect backdrop for an afternoon picnic. Take in the beauty, serenity and quiet surrounding the place and enjoy the warm sun as you dig into some local delicacies. The shops lining the area sell authentic Himachali food including the likes of kadi chawal, brown rice, rajma and aata namkeen. Away from the hustle bustle of tourist spots, you are in amidst natural beauty surrounding only by the melodious sounds of nature. You could choose to go for a long, luxurious walk in the nearby pine forest or simply find your spot and relax under the warm, soothing sun.
Wear good sneakers at Jogini Falls
Good footwear is always a must in any hike. It saves you a lot of trouble.
Vashisht village is a green patch of steep hill hanging at the base on a cliff. The village is 6 km from Manali at the banks of the Beas River opposite Old Manali. Streams rises at the base of this mountain. There are hot water springs here because of deposits of sulphur. I walked up from the main road near the Beas River through a small steep footpath. The road was idyllic. Clear streams cut through the road and a small bridge suspends over it. The rustic village has a calm soothing effect.The village still retains the traditional house making style. Every gully springs up surprise. At one corner there’s this German bakery and at the next turn we’ve the traditional houses with cows. Foreign tourists who have only seen cows on the road in India looked overwhelmed like they were seeing a deer or a Nilgai.
Vashisht was named after Rishi Vashisht one of the seven sages of Hindu. Legend has it that the saddened Rishi Vashisht after learning that his children were killed by Vishwamitra tried to commit suicide. But the river refused to kill him. The river was therefore named as Vipasha which literally means ‘freedom from bondage’. It was later shortened to Beas River. He began mediating and vowed to start his life anew. The Vashisht temple which exists even today is believed to be more than 4000 years. It’s difficult to imagine how a place so old could remain so small. Perhaps the village is protected by its difficult landscapes. Vashisht temple is built in a traditional style with lots of intricate wood carvings. It is also most popular for hot springs which is believed to have medicinal value. There are separate bathing arrangement for men and women. According to another legend Lakshman who paid a visit realized that the sage had to go for long walks to take bath. He shot an arrow into the ground and hot water began to gush out. There’s another temple ancient stone temple known as Rama Temple adjacent to the Vashisht Temple.Vashisht village is considered an important place by the Hindus in India. The place is often associated with pilgrims.
Most shops in Vashisht sell woolen clothes. There are beautiful cafes and dining places all along the main street. Vashisht offers by far the best view of the Beas River and the Old Manali. Watching the river valley spread below at sunset leaves a lasting photographic image in my mind.
Vashist has Hot Water Springs
Vashist has deposits of sulphur which make the water here warm naturally. The water has therapeutic properties.
The road from Manali to Rohtang is one of the most precarious roads I had been to. Higher up, there are no trees but rocks and snow. The mountains are bare and you could see small road cut out of steep mountains. .After driving through endless winding road we finally arrived at Marhi, the last inhibited place before Rohtang Pass.Just before reaching Marhi I got a glimpse of the traffic trail uphill. Our bus tyre punctured and we had some time to stretch ourselves. I had two slice of parantha, for lunch. Rohtang pass is just 16 kms away but the mountain looks daunting and it looked like a gruesome task to climb on foot.
Marhi is a good place for Para-gliders. But the mountains and deep gorges can be more unnerving than Solang Nala. Here the wind is cold and the weather seemed to be changing all the time. The 16km road from Marhi to Rohtang Pass took more than 2 hours. After a certain point of time you stopped worrying about time and just hoped you’ll make it safe through the fresh lava like- sticky paste of mud and rocks. Many vehicles turned their way around and headed back to Manali without even reaching Rohtang Pass. The Pass is open for a short period from May to November. Popular sports here are skiing and quad biking.
Rohtang Pass is also the place where many rivers rise. It is the origin of Beas. I wandered off from the madding crowd towards the upper mountains facing Leh. The lower face of these mountains is carpeted with purple, yellow and pink summer blossoms. You couldn't see it from distance but these tiny flowers are perfect and beautiful. By autumn they will rot under sheet of fresh snow and will have to wait for summer to see the light of day.
Stay Warm at Rohtang
Warm suits are available on rent. Do not go to Rohtang without wearing them. Else wear a really really warm jacket or coat , even in summers.
Manali is an absolute delight for adventurers looking to take on the jagged hills. A great base camp for treks, Manali’s Mountaineering Institute offers several types of high altitude hiking and rock climbing opportunities. Yoga-Trekking is another unique concept which combines spiritual wellness with physical well-being and has become a rage among both adventure and spirituality seekers.The most natural way of exploring the majestic beauty of Himalaya is trekking. Trekking infuses a feeling of comradeship, self reliance besides it inculcates a sense of perseverance. The vast expanse to the highest mountain chain, sheer magnitude of its snowy heights and indefinable feeling of joy and elation that they evoke in the mind of a trekker, make a trek in the Himalaya an experience to be remembered. Are you interested to gain such a wonderful experience? Pack your rucksack for the thrill and join Trek India's 6 days sojourn in one of the dreamiest valleys – Manali, nestled in two beautiful ranges- Pirpanjal and Dhauladhar of western Himalaya in Himachal Pradesh. Picture postcard perfect Manali, with its fertile valleys, evergreen thicket and crystal clear gushing rivers which set against the backdrop of towering mountains provide everything that an adventure seeking youth desires.
High on the east side of the Kullu Valley, sleepy Naggar was once capital of the Kullu kingdom and is perhaps the most charming village in the valley today. Russian painter and explorer Nicholas Roerich (Nikolai Rerikh) liked it so much he settled here in the early 20th century. It's an easy day trip from Manali, but with interesting sights and some good guesthouses and restaurants, it's a fine place for a few days' relaxing stay. As souvenirs, you can take home traditional items like wall hangings, coasters and artefacts bearing imprints of Roerich's paintings from here. In the year 1978, the castle was converted into a rest house, and more recently into a heritage hotel that is run by Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC). The holy Beas River flows close to the castle, adding beauty and sanctity to it. No trip to Manali is actually complete if you don't pay a visit to this attraction.
the visiting hours are from 07:00 am to 10:00 pm (All days).
Plenty of hotels are available. Make sure to book in advance.
Best Place to Eat
A German Bakery called - Manali Day. I fell in love with the food , the ambiance and the excellent service.
Best Way to Reach - Flight till Bhuntar Airport from New Delhi.
Volvo AC buses from all major cities.
Internal Transport - Local transport