Manali Travel Guide


Manali Travel Guide


Manali is one place that definitely lives up to the hype it creates. I have gone there again and again, but still wish to go there one more time. There is something about that town which pulls you like a magnet. Manali is beautiful, without any doubt. This place is drenched in natural beauty. The best part about Manali is that it doesn’t have a loud Hustle Bustle of Shimla even though there is quite a rush of tourists there. It has also retained the old world charm.

Right in the middle of the town you have Deodar Forests running along with the gurgling river Beas. Manali can be a honeymoon destination or a family place or a getaway with friends, anyway you want it! Traveller Magazine named Manali “The best Hill station” in their February issue, and I could not agree more. To really take in all that Manali has to offer, you need a week. I am really going to touch upon the “Must visit” in Manali for all those who are going to visit Manali for the first time and as we know time is the luxury most of us don’t have! The best time to visit is March to June for summers and December to January for winters and Snowfall.

Hidimba Devi Temple, Mall Road ,Food & Shopping

Hidimba Devi Temple is located inside the Dhungiri Van Vihar. It is dedicated to Rakshashi Hidimba Devi, who was Bheema’s (One of the Pandavas) wife. It doesn’t matter which religion you belong to, this temple must be visited for its sheer beauty and a completely exceptional architecture. Its a four storied wooden temple built in Pagoda style, in the midst of the forest. There is no idol inside. Though the legend comes from ancient times, the temple is fairly new and was erected in 1553. The best way to reach it is to take a hike, go walking through the forest to get there.

The hike is not even a Kilometer away from the Mall Road. The whole affair would take roughly two hours or at most three depending on how much time you want to spend there ones you have reached. For your afternoon snacks or lunch you can head to mall road. The dominant cuisine that you see there is Tibetan and its worth trying it out. Its also light on the pocket. Though it depends what you are really ordering, but Rs.100 Per person is the fair Estimate.

Manali Travel Guide

On the mall itself there is an open air Theatre/ Auditorium. And the shopping scene during summer is also pretty interesting. The Kullu Shawls, Caps, Tibetan Jewellery is on the show. The market place really opens up by the afternoon through late night.  And you can squeeze a nice hot Water bath between the lunch and Shopping. And I did not mean, heading to your hotel and into the bath tub!!

This area is famous for its natural geysers. Muni Vashistha is one such temple complex where you have these areas where you can enjoy these hot water springs. There are separate areas for Men and women. It’s around 3 Kilometers from the Mall. I would recommend walking down. Back to mall, you will also need to hire a cab. To get better rates hire the cab for two days, since any place outside Manali, even a 30-40 Kilometer stretch take s a long time and you would need a big car. The preference should be an SUV.

Rohtang Pass

Rohtang pass is located at the altitude of Thirteen Thousand Feet  and around 51 kilometers from Manali. The distance is misleading since it is almost an entire day’s affair. Since the road is narrow and steep, it usually gets choked with traffic. So you have to give one entire day to this place, but you will not regret. Also, its one of those places that are covered under the snow sheet almost 9-10 Months. Start Early, preferable around 6  30AM from Manali, this way you will dodge the traffic and reach the pass in 2-3 Hours. It is advisable to keep halting at regular intervals so that you can get acclimatized to the altitude.

There are small villages on the way up and here you can rent the woolen clothes too. Also, remember as you will go towards the higher reaches, the oxygen levels drop. A little dizziness is all but natural, so do not panic. Take smaller steps, don’t try to run, that is going to make you breathless. Asthma patients must carry their inhalers here. You can even get ponies to ride on, ones you reach the Pass. There is not much to eat here, as there are temporary shelters that can serve only the costliest Maggi you can ever have! After riding the ponies, Sleigh and Skiing, try to head back by 12 noon. The descend takes time as the oncoming traffic is big at this time. It can take anywhere from 4-6 hours to get back!

Note: Rohtang is closed from October Onwards till March depending on the snowfall. During Winters one can only go till Solang valley which is 13 kms from Manali

Adventure Sports

If you are in Manali, you have to get down to enjoy these even if you not much of an adventure lover. The various sports options available are Rafting, Paragliding and Mountaineering amongst Skiing , trekking etc. You can choose from the various activities though. The White Water rafting is done in Pirdi around 45 Kms from Manali by Private operators. And would usually take a day. The season for this sport is from Apr to June.

For Paragliding, that is undertaken throughout the year at Solang Valley. It is around 13 Kms from Manali. And you would not believe your eyes when you see the vast expanse of the snow capped mountains and forests swiftly moving under your feet. However, in the times of monsoon i.e. July- Mid Sept, its best to avoid it. Skiing is also done in Solang valley during the winter months. The best time to go is between December and Jan as the snow cover is at its peak during this time.

Manali is an all round experience of serenity with Crazy stuff to do. I would also advise that you visit the tourism department which is located right on the Mall road and get an approximate idea of the cab tariff and adventure sports. The reason is that cabbies charge according to season and so there is no fixed fare that they would take. For adventure sports too, its better to check since there are times in an year when it is not safe to indulge in these sports. Also, make sure that the agency you are hiring for adventure sports is registered and licenced. A great place to see whether you are looking for some tough adventure or just relax by the sounds of river and forest, as I said this place lives up to the hype it creates!

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