The picturesque hill town of Manali is sometimes referred to as the Switzerland of India, as it is surrounded by mountains on the three sides and has some of the most beautiful meadows, orchards, rivers and fields in Himachal Pradesh. Though discovered by the British and Europeans in the late 19th century, Manali had always been one of the pilgrimage sites in India. It derives its name from Manvalaya or Manuwali. The legend goes like that of the Joan's ark. Long long ago the sage Manu, the divine law writer in Hindu mythology, found a fish who asked him to build a huge ship to save the world from the terrible flood that would drown the land. Manu did so and when the water receded, the place he landed was today's Manali. The life started from this place. Therefore the place was known as Manvalaya that is the abode of Manu or Manuwali meaning Manu's. But it was only in the 1970s that the government realized its potential as growing tourist destination. That gave rise to the new town of Manali, which was linked with the old by a bridge. Today, Manali still maintains its charm and beauty despite the heavy tourist traffic. Manali is a hot spot throughout the year. It is at its best in the spring when the River Beas gushes through, the streams flow at every nook and corner, the meadows are lush and green, flowers bloom everywhere and various berries, raspberries and cherries start wearing the pink colour. The winters are no less when the green turn white and people from India come to experience the snow in the crisp cold. Pine forest all around, acres of verdant landscapes, grazing herds, apple orchards and the people with their smile and folk dances and song add to the mystic romance that Manali offers.
Apart from the beautiful nature Manali has many things to offer. Manali is the point to start trekking, learn skiing, go bird watching, do river rafting, go mountaineering and from Manali one can cycle up to the hilly regions of Leh in Ladakh. Manali offers great variety of food. Along with local preparation of Lentils and rice and rotis, the typical Tibetan thukpa and other dishes are famous in Manali. It is also a shopper's paradise where one can buy ample variety of woolen items and handicraft items made of wood.
Places to see in Manali :
Further ahead is the Beas Kund. The tiny roundish igloo like stone hut shelters the Beas Kund, the very source of the holy river Beas. Water flows at the source of the river likfe a spring, so clear and icy cold that it almost numbs the fingers. All around is the rocky terrain with very little vegetation. A few mules graze around while all and sundry try to brave the wind on a clear sunny day.
To reach the closest glacier to Manali, Solang Nala around 15 kms Manali one has to pass through the road that actually has many turns. Solang Nala is the picturesque village with icy slopes those can be seen throughout the year.
At about half an hour’s brisk walking distance from town, there are sulphur springs-gush, hot and medicinal - emerging out of the mountains at Vashisht. Here, in a bath complex with a restaurant and a beautiful view, couples can soak in the privacy of their own sunken bath, warming all kinds of ailments out of their systems.
The Rohatang Pass situated about 52 km from Manali town at an altitude of 3980m is the place one has pass through to reach Keylong or to Lahaul and Spiti. Full of snow throughout the year it supposed to be a difficult pass to go through. The trek to Rohatang starts from a small village of Marhi near the pass. The Sonapani glacier is clearly visible from the Rohatang pass on a clear day.
This is probably the only place in India where a lady of a demon origin is worshipped as a goddess. It is said that when the Pandava brothers were wandering, they came across a demon called Hidamb. He was killed by one of the strongest of the five, Bhim. His strength and valour overpowered Hidamba, Hidamb's sister and she got married to him. She washed her sins following strict rituals and meditation and thus she attained the level of Goddess. Hidamba belonged to this region and hence the temple is here. The beautiful wooden temple in Pagoda style architecture has beautiful and intricately carved figurines on the doorway. The temple is 500 years old and there is no idol enshrined inside and only a foot-print on a stone is kept to worship. Every year in the month of May there is a major fair celebrating the goddess's birthday is held here.
4 kms from Manali near the village of Perini is the Arjuna cave. It is said that Arjuna wanted the weapon from the king of the Gods Indra and he chose this place to meditate and please Indra to acquire the weapon. The place offers a charming panoramic view of the hills and the mountains around.
How To Get There:
The nearest airport to Manali is that of Bhuntar, which is 52-km from Manali. From Bhuntar one can take a taxi or a bus to Manali.
The nearest railhead is that of and this narrow gauze railway station is 95-km from Kullu. The scenic beauty of Kullu while going to Manali can best be enjoyed on a bus or a taxi. It is better to take a taxi, which one can stop and enjoy the nature at will.
The road to Manali passes through the picturesque valley of Kullu. The motorable roads to Manali connect the town with other major tourist places in Himachal as well as in the nearby states. At the Manali bus stand there are two booths, which do computerised reservation for buses. The reservations can be made one month in advance. Both private and state government buses are in service over here.
In winter, the temperature can drop below freezing point when heavy wollens are required. Summer temperatures are mild and light woollens/cottons are recommended.
Where to stay:
Total Rooms : 54
Star Category : 3
Star Category : 3
Located at the highest point, every room comes with a picturesque view of the snow-clad Rohtang Pass. The hotel is within walking distance to shops and places of historical and tourist interest.Quality Inn River Country Resort in Manali is the newest luxury resort of Manali. Located off the main crowded Mall Road overlooking the River Beas and the hills beyond, this is an exclusive hotel. It is only when you walk into the hotel that River Country Resort’s elegant world comes into view— large as life windows suffuse the lobby with lights, three very busy restaurants lie right ahead and an informal reception— devoid of gigantic desks and wooden faces, welcomes you! The interiors are uplifting in their colours, design and execution. A touch of understated elegance is all pervasive. It is one of the best Honeymoon resorts in Manali to begin a new life.
Total Rooms : 43
Star Category : 3
Sarovar Portico,Manali marks our presence in the hills. It is situated on the banks of the Manalsu River, below Manali village and next to the temple of Manu Maharaj. It has 43 rooms and suites.
Total Rooms : 74
Star Category : 3
Sterling Manali is located in lush green terraced environs, cradled in the snowcapped Himalayan Mountains which provides ample opportunities for trekking. The Rohtang Pass, the Rahla Falls, Beas Kund, Solang Valley and the Brighu Lake are all worth a visit. Other sight seeing places include Hadimba Devi Temple, Vashist Kund and the Dhoongri Temple.
Total Rooms : 39
Star Category : 3
Set at the highest point in Manali. The resort is a place where time stands still. Where you can bask in the sunshine or relax in the shade. And the rules are all your own. A place where you can find peace within. Where you lose yourself in the beauty of nature. And if you listen carefully you can hear your soul.