How to Reach Manali, And What to Do There: We Tell You
Manali is one of the most beautiful resort towns in India.
Manali is one of the most beautiful resort towns in India. Located near the Kullu valley in Himachal Pradesh, its high altitude and scenic beauty make it one of the most prized tourist spots in the country today. This article explains how to reach Manali and what to see once you get there.
How to Reach Manali
It is not quite so simple to reach Manali, because it does not have its own airport or railway station. However, you can know how to reach Manali from your home town when you consult an updated Manali tourism guidebook or look up the Internet for leads. Here’s some information to help you along:
* By Air: The nearest airport to Manali is located 50 km away at Bhuntar. Known simply as Bhuntar Airport, it services major domestic airlines regularly. You can get a flight from Chandigarh, Shimla, Delhi, and Leh to Bhuntar. However, you will need to look up direct flights to these cities and then book a connection to Bhuntar. The Bhuntar air strip is quite small and narrow, and flight frequency is reduced during bad weather in the monsoon and winter season. If you are wondering how to reach Manali when there are no flights, read on to know about alternative routes.
* By Road: Many people love to reach Manali by road, driving down from Chandigarh or Delhi and making their way to the hill station via Kullu. If you don’t wish to drive, you can hire a cab or take a private bus from Delhi (there are daily buses). The distance is a long one – about 522 km – from Delhi, though other places like Chandigarh, Shimla, Ambala and Dalhousie are much closer. You can also take Himachal Pradesh Tourism buses from these cities.
* By Railway: Like we mentioned above, there is no railway station at Manali. So how do you reach Manali by train if you wish to take this mode of transport from your home town? You can alight at Kullu railway station, by taking a train that arrives from Delhi to Pathankot or Joginder Nagar. These trains stop at Kullu and Shimla. From there, you can take a taxi to Manali.
1 Solang Valley
Just about 30 minutes from Manali lies Solang Valley, which comes alive with natural beauty every summer. The winter months are all about paragliding and snowboarding here, while the summer months are great for cable car rides and zorbing, among other sports. If you’re done having your fill of adrenaline-pumping adventures, then you can take a walk inside the Shiva Temple located close by. Be sure to wear clothing that covers your limbs before you enter the temple – there’s a strict dress code for both men and women.
Though strictly not located in Manali, Kullu is often referred to as Manali’s little cousin. The little hill station is almost as pretty as Manali, but a lot busier in the summer months. Most Manali tourism guides often list Kullu as a must-visit place in Manali for its bustling shopping markets, town squares, street side eateries, several old shrines and temples, and many adventure sports and activities.
3 Rohtang Pass
Another excellent location is the famous Rohtang Pass. It has long been the go-to destination for people who love to frolic in snow. Though the winter is quite severe here, you will nevertheless enjoy being bundled up in fleece jackets and snow boots, and go skiing or gliding on the hard ice. Rohtang Pass is a special delight in the summer months, when the snow is still hard enough for skiing. Atop Rohtang Pass is the famous Beas Kund, a holy site for Hindus.
4 Old Manali
Manali has an older portion that most people tend to pass up. Old Manali is a picturesque village with simple houses, small cafes dotting the streets and narrow streets. Old Manali must not be missed because you will also miss checking out the villages of Malana, Vashist, Kothi and the famous Manu Temple. There are also a few restaurants in Manali’s old quarters that will have you smacking your lips over North Indian, Tibetan and Chinese food prepared by street vendors.
5 Vashist Baths
The famous Vashist Temple in Manali will leave you spiritually rejuvenated. But the cleansing happens inside the baths. These are a series of hot springs whose waters are said to have medicinal properties. Those suffering from skin ailments and external infections often take a dip in these springs to cure themselves. You will also love the sandstone temples at the site. There are separate bathing and changing areas for men and women.
6 Hidimba Devi Temple
Hidimba was a character in the Hindu epic Mahabharata. She tried to entice the Pandav prince Bhima in cahoots with her brother, Hidimb. However, she fell in love with Bhima instead and used him to get out of the clutches of her brother who had actually held her captive for years. Thereafter, Bhima married her and stayed with her for a year before moving on as per the terms of his exile with the rest of his brothers. The Hidimba Devi Temple stands at this spot to commemorate her birth, which is said to have taken place at the site. Every year, the three-day Hidimba Devi festival in spring attracts pilgrims from all over the world.
7 Chandrakhani Pass
The Parvati River and valley hold the formidable Chandrakhani Pass, a fearsome trekking trail that is not for the faint of heart. It is stunningly beautiful, since it is almost always capped by snow and clouds. Though it is located relatively lower than most other passes here (its height is 3,600 metres), it is full of bottlenecks and twists and turns. You must be extra vigilant when navigating this pass. Amateurs should avoid this pass altogether.
8 Manu Temple
An important spot on the list of those inclined towards spirituality even on holiday, the Manu Temple is a sacred spot for Hindus in India and all over the world. It is said to be the only Manu temple in India – you will remember that Manu is often spoken of as the person who created the human race. The temple itself is built in a curious Pagoda style. You can sit here for hours and feel spiritually cleansed and peaceful.
9 Manali Sanctuary
How about taking in some flora and fauna on your holiday? Visit the Manali Sanctuary, which is the only site in all of Himachal Pradesh to house the Mona, the State bird. You will also come across both domestic and migratory bird species here. Animals to look at include musk deer, snow leopard and Indian bears.
10 Jogini Waterfall
This scenic waterfall can be found just a couple of kilometres away from Manali. It is also a longish walk from the Vashist Temple. It is a mind-bogglingly beautiful waterfall, with water crashing down from about 160 feet above the ground. The trail leading to the top of the waterfall is stirringly beautiful, with small streams and sudden glimpses of the Rohtang peaks. Find out from your resort about the best time to visit this waterfall and how to reach Manali’s most famous waterfall.
11 Museum of Himachal Culture and Art
Take a break from valleys, waterfalls, temples and old towns, and head to the Museum of Himachal Culture and Art. The museum was set up in 1998 to pay homage to Himachali art forms. You can see many items symbolising the region’s rich heritage. Find out how yesteryear Himachalis lived and worked, and study the handicrafts and pots and pans on display. The collection is laid out and maintained painstakingly, and attracts artists and historians in equal numbers.
12 Arjun Gufa
Manali is sweet and quaint, but it also has its share of mystery and intrigue. A case in point is the Arjun Gufa. The cave is a natural formation that was said to have been created over the years from landslides and natural rock erosion. Today, it is a preferred picnic spot for local schools, and many walkers and hikers also visit it for a brief rest. The cave is said to be named after the Pandava prince Arjun, who reportedly used it as a hideout and to perfect his archery skills in the dark. There is no source of light after a steep upward walk, and you must use your hands and a powerful torch to proceed.
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