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Manali in Himachal Pradesh

Height: 6260 feet
Temperatures: Summers: Max 26 deg C, Min 12 deg C
Winters: Max 12 deg C, Min sub zero.
Clothing: April-Sept: Light Woollens; Oct-Mar: Heavy Woollens
Bets time to visit: The best time to visit Manali is May and October but one can visit this place during winters too.

One of the picturesque hill stations of Himachal Pradesh, Manali is located at a distance of 40 km from Kullu and 521 km from state capital of India, Delhi. One of the preferred tourist destinations of Himachal Pradesh, Manali offers an excellent opportunity for adventurous sports activities like trekking, mountaineering and river rafting. Apart from the these, tourists can travel to Manali to witness century old temples and monasteries like Hadimba temple, Manu temple and the Gadhan Thekchhokling monastery. The small town was the beginning of an ancient trade route to Ladakh and, from there, over the Karakoram Pass on to Yarkand and Khotan in the Tarim Basin.
While planning a tour to Manali, keep in mind the climatic condition of the region, an ideal time for the tour would be mid-May to June and September to November. Monsoon months are to be avoided because of fear of landslides.
Manali derived its name from Manavalaya i.e. the abode of Manu. According to myth, Manu the divine law-giver, was the only survivor of the Mahajal Pralay – the great flood – and is said to have fathered the human race. The valley of gods, as the Kullu valley has come to be known, is perhaps the most delightful region in the western Himalayas. The ancient Hindus regarded it as the furthest limit of human habitation – Kulantapitha, and its original name finds mention in the epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata as well as Vishnu Purana. The actual myth is:
One day, Vaivasvata, the seventh incarnation of Manu found a tiny fish in his bathing water. The fish told him to look after it with devotion for one day it would do him a great service. Manu cared for the fish till it grew huge and he released it into the sea. The the fish warned Manu of an impending deluge when the entire world would be submerged and bade him to build a boat that could save humanity. When the flood came. Vaivasvata and the Seven Sages were towed to safety by Matsya the fish (regarded as the first avatara of Lord Vishnu).

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* Kothi – This is a quiet but picturesque spot, at the foot of the Rohtang pass, 12 km away Manali town, situated on the Lahaul-Spiti Leh Highway. It offers a magnificent view of the snow-capped peaks and glaciers and an awe inspiring gorge below Kothi, where for more than a kilometre the river Beas flows through a deep gorge, almost a subterranean passage, 30 metres or more in depth, and the cliffs which flank both sides of the canyon are a favourite haunt for rock pigeons.
* Van Vihar: This is just off the Mall with pathways between towering deodhars and also leads to a boating pond.
* Tibetan Market and Mall: The Tibetan Market is an interesting cluster of shops. Nice to browse around for knick knacks, handicrafts and imported goods. Located on the Mall. The Mall also has other shops selling local handicrafts and clothes. It also has some good restaurants. Buses, taxis and autos are easily available from the Mall for local sightseeing or excursions.
* Rohtang Pass – Situated at an altitude of 3979 mtrs above sea level and 51 kms outside Manali is the mighty Rohtang Pass – the gateway to Lahaul-Spiti valley. Open for just about four months a year, it affords a wide panoramic view of the mountains. Here one sees the majesty of the mountains at its height and splendour. At the top of the pass the air seems to glitter against the snow as you look down over herringboned ridges into the Lahaul valley. There is the beautiful Dashohar Lake left of the pass. A few km away from the pass is the Sonapani glacier and slightly to the left are the twin peaks of the Gaypan-jagged pyramid of rock, snow streaked and snow crowned peaks.
* Solang Valley – 13 kms outside Manali is the Solang Valley, offering spectacular views of the snow-clad mountains and the glaciers all around. Solang is the venue for paragliding and the annual skiing courses. The plateau is frequently used for holding camps by trekking enthusiasts.
* Rahla Falls: 2 km from Kothi. Here the river Beas hurtles down from a height of about 50 metres. Charming spot for picnics.
* Manali Sanctuary: A bridle path from the Manali log huts goes past the Dhoongri Temple and wanders into the dense deodar, kail, horse chestnut, walnut and maple forest that form a part of this sanctuary. Camping overnight in tents at Lambadug or Galiani Thatch is possible. You can see various animals such as Musk deer, monal and brown bear over here.
* Gadhan Takechokling Gumfa : Close to Tibetan Monastery, Gadhan Takechokling Gumfa is another tourist spot which was constructed in 1969. The Lakhang or the shrine hall of the monastery was built by the contributions of local people. The Gadhan Takechokling Gumfa has the idol of Shakyamuni.
* Jagatsukh Temple – About 6 km from Manali is the famous Shiva Temple in “shikara” style and nearby is the old and interesting Devi Sharvali Temple.
* Roerich Art Gallery – In Naggar, the museum, houses a collection of the paintings by the Russian artist. It is located in a grove of deodhars and has lovely views all around. Naggar is very serene and picturesque.
* Hadimba Temple – Also known as the Doongri Temple, this four-tiered pagoda-like wooden temple stands in a clearing amid tall and stately deodar trees and has beautiful carvings on its ornamental door. Dedicated to Hadimba, the wife of Bhim, this temple is the venue for an annual fair held during May. Built in 1553 and with a superbly crafted four tiered pagoda roof. It is famous for its exquisitely carved doorway.
* Vashist Spring – Across the Beas river, about 3 km away from Manali, at an altitude of 1,982 meters (6,200 feet), are the natural sulphur springs. There are old temples dedicated to the sage Vashishth and to Lord Rama. The village itself is perched on a steep hillside across the river Beas.
* Tibetan Monastery – These are new and colorful (3 of them). A pleasant place to visit. Two are located in the town and one at Aleo on the left bank of Beas river.
* 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. The great rishi, Vyas performed “Tapa” here during the Mahabharat times.
* Manikaran: 85 km from Manali and 45 km from Kullu, lies in the Parvati Valley, the holy pilgrimage place of Manikaran. Here icy cold waters of the Parvati river co-exists with boiling water side-by-side. The hot water springs are reputed for their healing properties.
* Triloknath: Located in the Pattan Valley, its an important pilgrimage centre. Noted for its temple dedicated to six armed statue of Avalokiteshwara Bodhisattva.
* Arjun Gufa (Arjun Cave): 4kms. from Manali towards Naggar, the cave is situated near Prini village 1km. above the road where Arjun had meditated. This is good 1/2 a day excursion with a beautiful view of the striking mountains.
* Nehru Kund: 5 kms. on National Highway to Leh,a natural spring of cold clear water named after Pt. Jwahar Lal Nehru, who used to drink water from this spring during his stay in Manali. This spring is believed to originate from the Bhrigu lake situated high-up in the mountains.

Things to do: Manali is famous for adventure sports like skiing, hiking, mountaineering, para gliding, rafting, trekking, kayaking, and mountain biking.

Skiing: 13 km from Manali, Solang Valley has good skiing slopes equipped with an excellent lift. A splendid valley between Manali and Kothi, it also offers views of the glaciers and snow-capped mountain peaks. Season: January – March. Gulaba slopes also provide good skiing. Facilities for skiing are available at Solang Nullah (January-March) and Rohtang La (during summer). The Mountaineering Institute at Solang Nullah is a good training institute.

Trekking: There are several good hikes from Manali. The 12 km hike up the western banks of the Beas to the Solang Valley is noteworthy. Lama Dugh meadow is a 6 km hike up to the Manalsu Nala, west of Manali town. Another great trek is from Solang Valley to Dhundhi onto Dussar Lake and terminating at Manali (a good 5 day trek)

Whitewater River Rafting: Many organized adventure companies organise rafting along the River Beas between the stretch from Manali to Aut. The points where the rafting trips start from are Raison and Mohal. Season: May to mid June.

Angling and Fishing: River Beas is said to abound with trout and salmon.

Paragliding – Organized by the local adventure companies in the summers in Solang Valley.

How to get there:
By Air: Manali has no airport of its own. The nearest one Bhuntas is around 10 km south of Kullu town and about 50 km from Manali.
By Train: Chandigarh, about 280 km away and Joginder Nagar, about 200 km away.
By Road: Manali is well connected by road to Delhi through NH-21 which goes on to Leh and is the world’s highest motorable road.

Places to stay:
Good reference article (link)
Span Resorts: Phone : (01902) 240138, 240538
Manali Resort
Holiday Inn: Tel.: 01902-52563, 53312
Manali Heights: PH no: 01902-252621-252061
Apple Country: Phone: +91 – 1902 254187 – 89
Banon Resorts: Tel: +91-1902-253026, 252490, 253994
Lords Regency
Orchard Greens
Sun Park
Ankit Palace
Beas View
Snow Crest Manor
Manu Allaya (Ambassador Resorts): Tel.: 01902 – 252235 – 38 Fax: 252173
Quality Inn River Country
Hotel Honeymoon Inn
Hotel Sagar Resort
Hotel Shingar regency: Tel:+91 1902 252251-52
Hotel Lord’s Regency
Glacior Resorts
Hotel Evergreen
Snow Valley Resorts (link)
Hotel Vintage
Hotel Mountain Top
Hotel Sunpark
Club Mahindra: Tel : (01902) 254181 / 82/ 83
Highland Park, Manali: Phone: 01902 256501/02/03
Vacred Manali Resorts
Hotel Manali Ashok
Piccadily Hotel
Sagar Resort
Kanishka Hotel
Hotel Chandramukhi
Glacier Resorts
Hotel Regent Centre Point

Other articles:
Some good photos (link)
Book a luxury bus (link)
Blog 1
Sandeepinlife blog (link)

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