Situated in the lap of the Himalayas, Manali offers a spectacular tourist experience.Also called “Valley of the Gods”,Manali leaves a deep imprint on the mind of an observer. Manali is named after the mythological figure of- Manu and literally means “the abode of Manu”. One can see the snow capped peaks, the Beas River flowing through the town, adding to its captivating beauty.
Manali is situated 40 km to the north of Kullu. It attracts the largest number of tourists during the summer. Summers are generally very hot in northern India, so to beat the heat people rush to the mountains and Manali is one of the most favoured tourist destinations.
How to reach Manali
By air: The nearest airport is Bhuntar, 52 km from Manali. A taxi or bus is easily available from there.
By road: The best way to reach Manali is by road. It may be tiring but the beauty of mountains never lets one think of anything else, such is the drama and the magic of the mountains! It’s a 12 hour drive from Delhi and six-seven hour drive from Chandigarh.
The must-visit places
This temple has been one of the most popular destinations among the people of India. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Hadimba,wife of the Pandava prince Bhim. It is a building with wonderful four storied architecture and exquisite wooden carvings.
The trip would be incomplete without visiting the Rohtang Pass. Around 50 km from Manali,the whole area is covered with snow and one cannot take one’s eyes off the scenery. The steep and bumpy roads always keeps one on the edge of the seat. The road to Rohtang offers some of the most majestic scenes. One can see and feel the crystal clear water flowing through the mountains and when the sunlight falls on the water it creates a rainbow effect which is an absolute delight for the eyes. Rohtang Pass provides a panoramic view of mountains rising far above the clouds. The whole area is covered with virgin snow and it feels as if one is touching the sky. The road to the Rohtang Pass is closed in winters due to heavy snowfall.
The best destination in Manali is the Rohtang Pass – the mountain pony takes you to the top of the mountain, the ride is very scary but exciting. There is snow everywhere and fun rides like skiing and tube skating. One can cross the Beas River by hanging by the on the rope, an adventurous experience.
This valley is 13 km from Manali and famous for its 300 meter ski lift. It offers splendid views of glaciers and is a hub for adventure sports, such as skiing during winters, paragliding, etc. Manali also has various adventure clubs offering river rafting – when rafting one feels as if one is flying down the Beas River with the water gushing through the mountains. Manali also pffers sports like trekking and river crossing – letting one discover the mountains more intimately.
Manikaran is an 85 km ride away, on narrow and steep roads, from Manali. In Manikaran, icy cold waters of the Parvati River miraculously co-exist with hot water springs. There is a gurudwara and a temple adjacent to each other, highlighting the harmony among people. The springs are also popular for their healing properties.
The Local Culture
The unique and varied culture reflects a rich traditional legacy, and is unaffected by industrialization. The tribal community of Kinnaur and Gujjars reside in this area. The multicoloured and attractive woolen apparel reflect the diverse and the peaceful life of the local people.
A traditional Manali food consist of rice, curry or cooked beaten curd,and pulses. When the food is traditionally served on leaf plates or pattal it is impossible to control one’s appetite. Restaurants on the Mall Road also offer French, South Indian and Mughlai cuisine. Apple is the most famous fruit and is grown in abundance.
Manali is not a place to be explored in a car. Wake up in the morning before sunrise and go for a jog or walk in the valley with complete silence all around, the paths surrounded by deodar and pine trees. Feel the fragrance and savour the beauty of nature. Stand on a mountain and see the sun rise, open your arms to welcome the first light and you will feel like a bird flying free. While returning from the walk you can also see little kids waving good bye to you and this little moment is one of the most beautiful memories that you will always cherish.
The whole experience of Manali is wonderful. Staying at the riverside hotel let one’s thoughts roam free wonderfully.. To gaze at impassive mountains or better still to stand on the summit of any mountain peak is a rare privilege and Manali offers the best travelling experience.
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