Manali, Himachal Pradesh

Manali is a city in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It lies at the northern end of the Kullu Valley, which is formed by the Beas River. The city is located in Kullu district, about 270 kilometers (170 mi) north of the state capital Shimla and 544 kilometers (338 mi) northeast of the national capital Delhi.

With a population of 8,096 in the 2011 Indian census, Manali is the beginning of an ancient trade route through Lahaul and Ladakh to the Karakoram Pass and Yarkand, and Hotan in the Tarim Basin of China. _ Manali is a popular tourist destination in India and serves as the gateway to Lahaul and Spiti districts as well as the city of Leh in Ladakh.

Hadimba Temple, Manali

Also known as Hidimba Devi Temple and Dhungari Temple, this ancient temple was built in 1553 by Maharaja Bahadur Singh. As the name suggests, the temple is dedicated to Hidimba Devi, wife of Bhima.

The wooden architecture of the temple is very different from most Hindu temples in the country. There is another temple in the premises dedicated to Ghatotkacha, son of Hidimba Devi. Surrounded by thick cedar groves and with snow-capped mountains serving as a backdrop, the temple is one of the best places to visit in Manali.

Solang Valley, Manali

A mini valley situated at about 8400 feet above sea level, Solang Nala is a short distance from Manali. It is a haven for adventure and sports lovers and while staying here you can try your skills on a pair of skis or go for a snowmobile exploration.

When the weather warms up, people flock here for zorbing and paragliding. You can also board the cable car and enjoy the scenic views of the Himalayas. If you are looking for snow based activities and sports, winter is the best time to visit while summer months are ideal for other adventure sports.

Jogini Waterfalls, Manali

The rushing cascade of Jogini Falls is a short and exhilarating trek away from the main town of Manali. The trail leading to the falls is scenic and gives you glimpses of the Beas River and the snow-capped peaks of Rohtang.

Apart from the serene atmosphere, Jogini is also an important pilgrimage site and you can visit many old temples around the pool at the bottom. An early start is recommended so that you can spend more time at this picturesque natural spot, which is one of the top trekking as well as picnic spots in Manali.

Manu Temple, Manali

The Manu temple is dedicated to an ancient sage after whom it is named. The shrine’s pagoda-style architecture stands amidst deep valleys and mountain peaks that make for a postcard-worthy backdrop.

You have to hike a bit to reach the temple, but the views at the peak and the spiritual vibes it offers make all your efforts totally worth it.

Manali Gompa, Manali

Ornate design and exquisite Tibetan architecture make Gadhan Thekchokaling Gompa, commonly known as Manali Gompa, one of Manali’s finest landmarks. Built by Tibetan refugees in the 1960s, this monastery allows you to enjoy serene settings and unique spiritual vibrations.

Some of the main features of Manali Gompa include the exquisite murals that depict the important events of Buddhism in vivid colors and the pagoda-style roof. The stalls in the complex are a good place to pick up some souvenirs and Tibetan handicrafts.

Bhrigu Lake, Manali

Take a moment and think of postcard-perfect alpine meadows and evergreen tree forests near calm high-elevation water bodies. Well, you have just pictured Bhrigu Lake, one of the best trekking spots around Manali.

If you are going for the trek then some acclimatization is required as the lake is situated at an altitude of more than 4000 meters above sea level. The scenery and panoramic views of the Pir Panjal mountain range attract the most visitors to this place.

How to reach Manali

Planning a trip to Manali? Here are some guidelines on how to reach Manali

by plane

This is the least popular way to reach Manali due to altitude and adverse weather conditions. The nearest airport is Bhuntar Airport which is about 50 km from Manali and 10 km from Kullu. Domestic flights connect Bhuntar with Delhi and Chandigarh.

Air India Regional and Himalayan Bulls are the two carriers that operate flights to Bhuntar. However services are irregular and airfares can be exorbitant. From the airport, the best way to reach Manali is by pre-paid taxi.

by rail

Manali is not directly accessible by railway. The nearest major railway stations are at Chandigarh (289 km), Kalka (285 km) and Ambala Cantonment (339 km). Some of the most popular train routes are: Kolkata – Jammu Tawi Express, Howrah – Amritsar Express, New Delhi – Amritsar Shatabdi Express, Howrah – Kalka Mail, New Delhi – Kalka Shatabdi Express etc. Being such a popular route, it is advised to make it. Advance reservations. From these stations, travelers can proceed to Manali by road. Travel options include private and state-run buses; Taxis can also be hired.

from the bus

Red Bus is a popular choice for online ticket booking for private bus services from all major railway stations mentioned above. You can also check online ticketing facility of Himachal Pradesh Tourism for Delhi-Manali bus travel and sightseeing in and around Manali.

It takes around 8-9 hours by bus to reach Manali from Chandigarh. Regular bus services are also available from Kalka to Manali, which takes around 9-10 hours. The preferred route of travel from Ambala is to reach Chandigarh by taxi and then avail of one of the city’s multiple bus services, both private and government. AC Volvo Coach is the best option for luxury travel!

by road

You can also drive from Delhi to Manali, first taking the National Highway NH 1 to Chandigarh. From there via National Highway NH21 which passes through the cities of Bilaspur, Sundernagar, Mandi and Kullu. Delhi to Chandigarh road distance is 260 km and Chandigarh to Manali distance is another 273 km. It is a mesmerizing drive to Manali with amazing views of snow capped mountains and green valleys. However, extreme caution should be exercised when negotiating the difficult curves of mountain roads.

Thus, probably the best solution to the question of how to reach Manali is to travel by train to these major railway stations and then board a bus or hire a taxi for the onward journey to Manali.

Getting around in Manali

There are various ways to travel in and around Manali. You can hire a taxi or motorbike for local sightseeing. Public transport is the cheapest way, although bus service can be irregular and infrequent. Hence it is advisable to inquire at the local bus terminal for bus timings.

Public bus routes are: – Kullu – Manali, Manali – Naggar and Manali – Solang. Himachal Pradesh Tourism also operates a fleet of luxury buses for Manali-Kothi-Rohtang Pass and Manali-Vaishnodevi-Manikaran-Manali local tours.

Manali, Himachal Pradesh

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