MAGIC IN THE MOUNTAINS
Somewhere in the vast expanse of the snow-capped Himalaya, 6,000 feet above sea level, lies the stunningly beautiful riverside town of Manali. It’s the perfect place for romance and adventure. Honeymooning couples huddle close for warmth and intimacy; children, invigorated by the cool mountain air, prance gaily; young adventurers head out in search of heart-stopping thrills; locals, in colourful mountain gait, shuffle to work… Slowly, as the chilled air permeates the senses, you succumb to the magic of the mountains.
In this idyllic town, you don’t really have to go anywhere to do sight-seeing. There’s hardly a place that doesn’t have a view of a stupendously beautiful mountain or the cool, clear waters of the pebble-strewn river Beas.
Popular excursions just add to your experience of the Manali magic. The fresh green meadows of Solang Valley, the high-altitude road to Rohtang Pass, the pristine valleys of Lahaul and Spiti, the hot springs of Manikaran, ancient temples and humming Tibetan monasteries are just some of the attractions of this beautiful place.
The landscape lends itself to an incredible range of outdoor sports such as river rafting, paragliding, zorbing (which is rolling downhill inside a huge plastic orb), skiing, trekking, and mountain-climbing. Of course, the humble walk becomes an experience in itself in the thick wooded groves of deodar, pine, sal, rhododendron, oak, fir and birch.
Evenings are a good time to descend into the Manali marketplace, a motley montage of curios, kitsch and food. From charming Tibetan shops to touristy trinkets, and Tibetan momos to Lebanese, Japanese and Italian food, Manali is a delightful blend of cosy and cosmopolitan.
- Altitude –1,926 metres above sea level
- Latitude 31° 20’25” to 32°25’0” North Latitude and longitude 76°56’30” to 77°52’20” East Longitude
- Area – 5.12 km (core Manali town)
- Distance from nearby towns/cities: Shimla 270 km, Chandigarh 310 km, Ambala 365 km, Delhi 585 km
- Take away: Tibetan and Kashmiri handicrafts, hand-woven carpets, famous Kullu and hand-made shawls, Kullu caps, woollen wear
#1.Khajjiar: The Mini Switzerland of India Khajjiar, a 6 hour ride from Manali, will give you the feeling of a Bollywood song location. In 1992, this hamlet town was declared 'Mini Switzerland' by Willy T. Blazer, the then Vice Counsellor and Head of Chancery of Switzerland in India, due to its resemblance to the geography of Switzerland.
#2. Arjun Gufa: The cave where Arjun Meditated
According to an old legend, Arjun Gufa in the Prini Village near Manali is where Arjun (one of the Pandavas) meditated and practised austerity. As a result of this he succeeded in acquiring the Pashupata Astram from Lord Indra.
#3. Manali: Bollywood's Favourite Shooting Spot
Manali has been the backdrop to many Bollywood movies. Some movie directors even believe it to be a lucky location. Many of the movies shot in Manali such as Aap Ki Kasam, Roja, Saudaagar, Jab We Met, Krishh and 3 Idiots have proved to be immensely successful.
#4. Kullu: Indian home of paragliding
Paragliding, as a sport and adventure activity, began in India during the early 1990s on the hilltops of Kullu. This happened when some visiting foreign pilots decided to explore the possibility of flying over such beautiful locales.
#5. Manali: Where Bhim found his love
According to a legend, the Pandavas visited Manali during their exile and came across local strongman Hidimb who obstructed them. Bhim overcame Hidimb in a fight and went on to marry Hidimb's sister Hidimbi. The Hidimba Devi temple is dedicated to Hidimbi.
#6. Manali: Marked by the presence of both Vyasa nad Valmiki
Manali is one of the very few places in India that can boast of legends featuring authors of both of India's epics. Vyasa, narrator of the Mahabharata, is considered to be the patron of the Beas river; even the source of the river is named Vyasa Kund. Though in a different period, Valmiki, author of Ramayana, is also supposed to have spent time meditating near the Jogni falls in Manali.
#7. The Frozen Falls of Manali
Rahalla Falls, in Manali, are known as the frozen falls because they only flow in the summer and remain frozen throughout the months of November to February. They are one of the very few waterfalls in India that remain frozen for such long periods.
#8. Shitidhar: The Friendship peak of Manali
'Shitidhar‘ peak near Manali is also known as the ‘Friendship Peak’. It owes this nickname to an Indian-French expedition, the first to conquer the summit. Friendship Peak is situated in the Beas Kund region of Manali. It is the only open peak in Himachal where no royalty is required to be paid to the Indian Mountaineering Federation for recreational purposes. It's also considered as one of the best starter treks for amateur mountaineering enthusiasts.
#9. Apple: An Integral Part of Manali’s Culture & Economy
Manali is known for its apples. However, apple trees are not native to Manali and were introduced by the British. According to local legend, when apple trees were first planted the fruits were so plentiful that often branches, unable to bear the weight, would collapse. Today apple farming forms the backbone of the hill town's economy.
#10. Bijli Mahadev Temple: Where Lightning is a blessing
The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and sits atop a hill at a height of 2,500 m. Bijli Mahadev temple is famous for its 60 feet high staff, which periodically attracts lightning. Watching the lightning strike the temple is considered a blessing by believers. A 2-km trek to the top of the hill offers devotees a chance to see the temple’s ‘pahadi’ architecture, seek blessings of Lord Shiva and enjoy the stunning panoramic view of the valley around.
#11. Vashisht Hot Water Springs: A Curative Bath
A bath at the Vashisht natural sulphur springs, located in the Beas river valley, is both enjoyable and therapeutic. Baths in these springs are considered to have curative effects on skin ailments.
Want to skip the waiting & view it right away?
Click on the + sign to view the photos.
12°C - 25 °C
–3°C - 15°C
BEST TIME TO VISIT
You can visit breathtakingly beautiful Manali any time of the year. Ideal seasons, though, are April–June andSeptember–December. The months of July and August are best avoided due to rainfall and landslides.
You could also choose a season depending on what you’d like to do here –
Rohtang Pass – Open from May to November 15 (depending on the weather)
Skiing – November to February
Paragliding – April to November (depending on the weather)
Rafting – Mid-April to June
In general, if you’re looking for snow, winter months are the best. Summer months are better for sight-seeing, trekking, mountain climbing and other activities.