Manali Tours

Manali Tours

Snow clad peaks, peaceful environs, amazing flora and fauna, beautiful apple orchards, audacious activities, chilled out cafes, bars and lots and lots of shopping- that’s what Manali is all about.

The lovely hill station is perched on the northern edge of the Kullu Valley - just 40 kms away from Kullu, at an altitude of 1,926 metres, and makes a wonderful holiday destination ideal for a family vacation, a honeymoon or on your own. The mighty River Beas hurtling through Manali adds a dramatic tone and you can spend hours watching the river rush by.

Over the last few years Manali has developed into a major hill resort, chock-a-block with modern hotels and tourist lodges. The Mall or main bazaar in Manali is the hub of activity, flooded with shops, restaurants, trekking and mountaineering outfits and wayside food stalls.

Manali’s rapid ascent as a major tourist destination has been accelerated mainly by its tranquil and verdant surroundings- travellers who wish to seek solace come to the tiny hamlet to get soaked up in the environment and admire its spectacular landscapes, lush green valleys, and meadows along with its mystical mountain lakes and rivers.

The excellent combination of wooded forests, snow covered slopes, lush green valleys and the swirling waters of the mighty Beas make Manali an ideal destination for treks and mountaineering expeditions into the Solang Valley and over the Rohtang Pass into Lahaul-Spiti.

It is also the beginning of the epic two-day trans-Himalayan journey up to the cold desert town of Leh in Ladakh, connected by the Leh-Manali highway. Manali comes alive in winter with immense skiing and ice skating opportunities- it is often called The Land of Snowballs and Skiing!

So travel to Manali and explore the natural beauty of Manali.

History of Mathura

Manali's `history' is really more myth than history. According to the Hindu mythology, Manali was the home of the lawgiver Manu (after whom the town is named). Legend has it that when a flood deluged the earth, Manu and the gods were towed to dry ground by a giant fish, which was the seventh `avatar' of the god Vishnu. The area where Manu eventually found refuge was Manali.

Whether that's actually how it happened or not, Manali remained a fairly quiet place, more or less unknown to the outside world, till pretty recently. During the 20th century, the British started to frequent the town- its climate and natural beauty were equable enough- and Manali gradually began to acquire the reputation of a tourist destination. This reputation got a bit tarnished during the 1970s and 80s, however, mainly because of the discovery that marijuana grown around the town was particularly good.

Manali Tours

Sightseeing in Manali

There are lots of places to see and sightseeing opportunities in Manali and these includes visiting its ancient ruins, villages, temples, and Buddhist monasteries. Some of them are mentioned below for your convenience.

Visit the village settlement of old Manali, also known as Manaligarh which comprises of 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 2nd century BC and even today the Manusmriti continues to be followed by many devout Hindus. The village itself is an idyllic break from the rush of main Manali, surrounded by terraced maize fields and apple orchards.

At Dunghri village, a two 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.

Note: The opening time of the temple is 6 am and there is no entry fee to visit the temple. Do remember that cameras and video cameras are not allowed inside the temple. Dress in simple and sober attire and if you wish you can make a donation in the donation box.

Manu Maharishi Temple is a walk away from the main Mall and lies in the Old Manali. The shrine is designed in a pagoda style and is dedicated to the Hindu sage Manu and is the only temple of Manu in India.

The ancient temple was renovated in the year 1992 and additions like vaulted ceiling and marble floors were made. When you visit the temple make sure you wear dresses covering the knees and shoulders. The path to the temple is quite slippery so be careful while you walk it. While in Manali, a visit to the Manu Temple is a must!

Note: The opening time of the temple is 6 am and there is no entry fee to visit the temple. Do remember that cameras and video cameras are not allowed inside the temple. Observe a simple dress code. It is advised that you start your day early if you have to visit the temples as hills darken by early evening.

The Tibetan Monasteries have preserved Tibetan culture in the form of three colourful monasteries. Manali has the largest Tibetan settlement in the valley, standing out by their colourful new gompas, many prayer wheels, and prayer flags fluttering over the house.

Kerala Tours Gadhan Thekchokling Gompa, built in 1969 has a prominent yellow coloured pagoda roof and bright frescoes on the walls. Inside the vividly 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 gompa near the market has a large gold-faced image of Buddha, which is best viewed from its first floor veranda. Monks can be seen printing prayer flags in the open terrace.

The Himalayan Nyingamapa Gompa is situated near the market place in Manali. It has been nicely designed in a very modern style. The monastery glows at night with light bulbs. There is a huge gold faced statue of Lord Buddha preserved inside the monastery.

The Tibetan Monasteries are known for their rich handicrafts, especially carpets and paintings. With the aroma of Tibetan incense sticks filling the air, hymns, and chants in the background, the ambience of the monastery is captivating. There is another monastery which is located at Aleo on the bank of River Beas. You can visit the monasteries at anytime during the day.

Note: Cameras are allowed in here. You can buy amazing Tibetan handcrafted goods and Buddhist paintings here.

Vashisht, a village three kms and half an hour away from Manali is famed for its hot sulphur springs and panoramic view of its valley. One can take a day trip to the village and can reach on foot; it won’t be much of a hassle. If you wish to reach there by a car, then there are taxis available from the main Mall in Manali where you can hop on to get to the tiny hamlet.

Himachal Tourism runs a hot bath complex offering 30-minute sessions with piped water running into tiled tubs. The tubs are of two sizes regular and deluxe (Rs. 60 – Rs.120), and towels are available for an additional cost. After a dip in the healing waters, you can relax with a glass of fresh apple juice or any other soft drink on the open terrace. Within the temple complex, there are also free communal baths with separate sections for men and women. Remove your shoes before you enter the temples.

Note: Enjoy the traditional hot springs or visit the two old stone temples with elaborate woodcarvings facing each other in the main square. One is dedicated to Rama (incarnation of Vishnu) and the other to sage Vashisht, who was Rama’s teacher.

The beautiful water spring at the Nehru Kund, only 6 kilometres away from the main town, is a refreshing and peaceful spot. People come here for its waters as it is believed that they have some medicinal effect.

Where to Stay in Manali

Most of the places to stay in Manali overlook the foaming Beas River and offer pleasant views of the valley, green terraced fields and the surrounding orchards. The Mall or main road of Manali is lined with hotels and restaurants. Manali offers a wide range of accommodation options which include luxury resorts, river-side cottages, deluxe hotels and 3-star budget properties.

Kerala Tours For your luxurious stay in Manali you can choose to stay in any of the luxury resorts that include Manu Allaya Ambassador Resort, Holiday Inn, Solang Valley Resort and the river-side Span Resort.

If you don’t want to shell out much on your stay and don’t want to compromise on the facilities and services you can book your holiday in the 4-star deluxe hotels of Manali which include Apple Country Resort, Quality Inn Resort, River Country Resort, Mapple River Crescent Resort, Highland Park, Manali Resort, Piccadily Resort, Manali Heights and Hotel Manali Inn.

The accommodation options for the budget travellers include 3-star and 2-star hotels in Manali, which provide all basic amenities and feature good service. The budget properties in the region are Glacier Resort, Snow Valley Resort, Royal Park Resort, Shingar Regency, Snowcrests Manor, The Orchid Greens, Sagar Resort, Ishaan Resort, Whispering Woods Resort, Whispering Valley Resort, Hotel Le Grande, Sitara International, Hotel Vintage, Manali Palace, Ankit Palace, De Vivendi Resort, Hotel Jessica, The Royal Grand, Hotel Harmony and Neeralaya and Nature Notes Riverside Resort.

You can also choose to stay at cottages in Manali which include Manali Tree House Cottages, Banon Resort, Log huts and Hamta cottages, Holiday Cottages, Paramount Cottages, Casa Bella Vista Cottages, Silver Birch Manali Cottages and Snow Crest Manor.

How to Reach:

Manali does not have an airport of its own and the nearest airport is at Bhuntar (KUU Bhuntar Aiport), near Kullu and is 50 kms, and 40 minutes away from Manali. Airlines connecting Manali from Delhi, Mumbai are Kingfisher Airlines and Indian Airlines. From Kullu airport, take a pre- paid taxi from right outside the airport terminal or take a regular bus (tickets are very reasonable) to get to the main town of Manali. If you have too much luggage on you then it is well advised to take a taxi to the town as it is more convenient than taking a bus. The taxis have fixed fares so don’t hesitate asking as the taxi drivers tend to over charge for a ride to the town. Taking a taxi from the airport is quite convenient as you can enjoy the overview of the hills and descending valleys.

If you are planning to take a train, the nearest railhead to Manali is on the narrow gauge line at Joginder Nagar 95 kms away. The Joginder Nagar Railway Station is well connected to all other Indian cities via Chandigarh. From the railhead, you can take a bus to Kullu first and then from there get on the bus which departs for Manali. The bus services from Kullu to Manali are very regular and depart daily throughout the day. The distance between Kullu town and Manali is about 40 kms.

Manali is well connected with direct bus services from all cities of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Depending on which route you take, road distances from various Northern cities in India can vary. However, the closest distance from some cities is as follows: Kullu is 40 km, Shimla- 257 km, Chandigarh- 288 km, Delhi- 543 km, Pathankot- 299 km and Dharamshala- 217 km. The road connections are quite good and computerized reservation facilities are available at the bus stand itself. Regular deluxe buses and Volvos ply to and from Delhi and Chandigarh daily and usually run overnight. The Manali bus stand is in the centre of town on the Mall Road.

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