Manali, at 1,926 metres on the northern edge of the Kullu valley, is the most popular tourist resort in this area. Though it does not have the colonial characteristics of Shimla, over the last few years Manali has developed into a major hill resort, chock-a-block with modern hotels and tourist lodges. Situated along the Beas River with a superb view of the perennial snow cover of the Solang Nala, Manali transports travel-weary tourists into the exalted heights of the Himalayas. Originally known as Manu-alaya or abode of Manu, the name was later simplified to Manali. The ancient village is said to be the original home of Manu, the 2nd century BC lawmaker of the Hindus.
Shawls, local tweeds, caps, rugs ('namdas'), footwear, fresh fruit, natural oils (olive and alond), silver jewellery, pullovers, metal craft, woollen jackets and bamboo products.
In winter, the temperature can drop below freezing point when heavy woollens are required. Summer temperatures are mild an light woollens/cottons are recommended.
Hadimba Temple: Built in 1553 and with a superbly crafted four tiered pagoda roof, it is famous for its exquisitely carved doorway.
Manu Temple: This is dedicated to the sage Manu.
Vashishth (3 km): Well known for its hot springs. There are old temples dedicated to the sage Vashishth and to Lord Rama. These are just beyond the Himachal Tourism baths.
Monasteries: There are three recently built Tibetan monasteries at Manali.
Jagatsukh (6km): The one-time capital of Kullu. Here are old temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and to Sandhya Gayatri. The Arjun caves are just ahead.
Solang Valley (14 km): In a picturesque setting, this has good ski slopes and picnic spots. In has the glacier closest to Manali.
Hadimba Temple - Manali
Rotang Pass - Manali
Towards the Rohtang Pass: On the road to Keylong is the Nehru kund (6 km) which is a clear water spring and scenic spot named after the late Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. Kothi (12 km) is a picturesque village and has a thrilling view of the deep gorge through which the Beas swiftly races. The beautiful Rahalla falls (16 km) are at an altitude of 2500m. A crucial link on the old trade route and still, the gateway to trans-Himalayan Lahaul, the Rohtaing Pass is at height of 3980m.
Club House: The Club House with its comprehensive facilities include a roller skating rink, an auditorium, a billiards room, a library, a bar and restaurants.
Vashisth Baths: One of Manali's main attractions, it is a place to luxuriate in Himachal Tourism's baths where the water of hot sulphur springs renowned for their medicinal qualities has been piped into baths-including private deluxe ones.
Attractions and Places to Visit in Manali
The Mall, or main road of Manali is the hub of activity in this tourist town, lined with hotels, restaurants, shops, the bus station and many travel agencies. Though it carries the same British epithet as its counterpart in Shimla, the Mall of Manali has an entirely different character from the colonial flavour of the former. It is more of a busy commercial street with modern concrete blocks of hotels that spill over with tourists in the peak season. Most of the hotels overlooking the foaming Beas River, however, do offer pleasant views of the valley, green terraced fields and the surrounding orchards.
To get a more authentic flavour of the area, take a half-hour walk from the Mall across the Manalsu nala to reach the village of old Manali. Also known as Manaligarh, the village has a ruined fort and a cluster of houses built in the Pahari style - with heavy stone roofs and wooden balconies projecting out of the first floor. According to popular belief it is here that Manu, the lawmaker lived around the 2 nd century BC. His treatise, the 'Manusmriti' is the foundations of Hindu law and of the rigid caste system based on varna or profession. Considered one of the most orthodox Hindu texts with strict role definitions based on gender and class, the Manusmriti continues to be followed by many devout Hindus even today. In the centre of the village is the Manu Maharishi temple, a relatively new shrine dedicated to Manu. The village itself is an idyllic break from the rush of main Manali, surrounded by terraced maize fields and apple orchards. There are several guesthouses and cafes lining the path to the village.
At Dunghri village, a 2 km walk from the Tourist office in Manali, is the famous Hadimba Devi Temple . Maharaja Bahadur Singh built the present wooden pagoda-like temple in 1553 after earlier structures were burnt down by forest fires. Standing on a stone platform surrounded by old deodar trees, the three-tiered temple is crowned with pennants, brass bells and a trident. Carvings of animals, plants and folk deities adorn the temple, while hunting trophies hang over its entrance.
Inside the shrine is the brass icon of the goddess, surprisingly tiny compared to the huge temple structure and the legendary prowess associated with her. The shrine is within a natural cave formation dominated by huge rock. A set of enlarged footprints on the rocks is believed to be of Hadimba, herself. In mid-July the idol from old Manali is brought to this temple for a major festival. As part of the frenzied celebrations, several animals including a buffalo and a goat are sacrificed to the goddess. The blood falling on the stones is channelled to the mouth of goddess Hadimba. Not for the faint-hearted, this ancient ritual draws large crowds, along with some pickpockets who take advantage of the spellbound mobs.
Manali has the largest Tibetan settlement in the valley, standing out by their colourful new gomphas, many prayer wheels and prayer flags fluttering over the houses. The Gadhan Thekchokling Gompa, built in 1969 has a prominent yellow coloured pagoda roof and bright frescoes on the walls. Inside the brightly painted prayer hall is a statue of Shakyamuni (form of Buddha). Beside the main entrance is a roll of honour listing Tibetans killed in the late 80s during the many violent uprisings against the Chinese occupation in Tibet. The monastery is maintained through donations and the sale of carpets woven by the lamas within the temple workshop. A smaller gompha near the market has a large gold-faced image of Buddha, which is best viewed from its first floor verandah. Monks can be seen printing prayer flags in the open terrace.
How to Reach Manali
By Air - The nearest airport is Bhuntar, 52 km south of Manali. There are flights to Delhi via Shimla.
By Rail - The closest narrow-gauge railhead is at Jogindernagar, 135 km away. The closest broad-gauge railheads are Chandigarh (310 km) and Ambala (355 km).
By road -The distance from Delhi via Mandi is 585 km, and from Shimla the distance is 270 km. We would provide you all India tourist permit vehicles for the local transportations and also for the intercity drives too.