Nestled between the snow-capped Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal ranges, with thick forests and meadows of the Beas Valley carpeted by wild florals, Manali is blessed with a breathtaking scenic beauty. From temples to museums; quaint hippie villages to crowded upscale streets; trekking trails to river adventures, the hill station is a tourist magnet all year round.
Best Time to Visit
Owing to its pristine beauty and pleasant weather, Manali can be visited throughout the year. The summer months from March to June are extremely pleasant. While the rich sunshine warms up the town during the daytime, the evenings are balmy.
The winters are the ideal time to enjoy the snowfall. However, if you plan to drive up to the Rohtang Pass in the winter time, visit between September – November.
Average annual temperature: 4 °C -26 °C
While the summer temperature ranges between 10 °C and 26 °C, the temperature drops to as low as -15 °C to 12 °C during the winters.
What to Pack
If you are visiting during the summer and autumn months, pack your summer clothes and essentials. However, the temperature drops down in the evenings, so light woolens and windcheaters are recommended. If you are visiting during the winters, pack your woolens and warmers to save yourself from the cold. Besides clothing, pack comfortable walking shoes, trekking boots, sunscreen, raingears and a camera to capture all the special moments during your holiday.
Places to Visit
Manali has ample ancient monuments, Tibetan monasteries, natural wonders and other key attractions. No wonder it occupies the top spot in every traveler lover’s list.
(i) A half hour drive from Manali is the glacial Solang Valley offering the most stunning view. Owing to its fine slopes, the valley is a popular ski destination during the winters. In summers, it turns into a paragliding paradise. Sports like zorbing and horse-riding are also available in the valley.
(ii) Connecting the Kullu and Lahaul Valleys, the Rohtang Pass is undoubtedly one of the most popular scenic spots of the Manali. Famous among adventure seekers, nature lovers and photographers, the drive to the Pass is an equally exhilarating experience as is exploring it. Enjoy skiing or mountain biking here while snow-capped peaks and glaciers surround you.
The best time to visit the pass is between May-June and October-November.
(iii) Surrounded by dense foliage of pine trees are the Vashist Baths and Hot Water Springs. Located in the famous Vashist Temple, these natural sulphur springs are believed to be medicinal.
(iv) Located on the Mall Road, the Van Vihar National Park is a popular nature sanctuary. The park is populated by dense deodar and pine forests. A small pond in the park confines is the perfect picnic spot. You can enjoy boating in the waters of the pond or take a pleasant stroll through the park.
(i) Built several centuries ago, the Manu Temple in Manali has great historic and religious significance. The temple walls and pillars are adorned with many intricate scriptures.
(ii) Set amidst dense deodar forest, the Hadimba Devi Temple is a center of religious, historical and archaeological interest in Manali. Dedicated to Goddess Hidimba, the temple has a 4-tier pagoda roofed structure. Throughout the temple complex, you will find many Angora rabbits. Make sure you get a picture clicked with these rabbits.
(iii) Gurudwara Manikaran is an important place of worship for Sikhs and has a major historical significance. The Gurudwara is unique in the sense that the ice cold waters of the Parvati river co-exists with hot sulphur springs known for their medicinal value.
(iv) The Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa is one of the prime attractions of Manali and hotspot of Tibetan heritage. Built by Tibetan refugees in the year 1960, this renowned Buddhist monastery draws scored of tourists. The monastery architecture is impeccable with a pagoda style yellow roof blanketing the structure. The interiors are rich in exquisite murals illustrating Buddha’s teachings. A giant statue of Lord Buddha is the highlight of the monastery. The Himalayan Nyingamapa Gompa is another significant Buddhist Monastery in Manali.
Museum of Himachal Culture and Folk Art
Located close to the Hadimba Devi Temple, the museum flaunts a huge collection of artistic models of temples and forts around the Kullu Valley; domestic and artisans’ masks, traditional textiles, musical instruments and dance masks
Where to Eat
On your visit to Manali, try the indigenous cuisine of the hill station to get a taste of its authentic flavors. Red Rice, River Trout, Yogurt Curry and Rice, Curd based Madra and homemade wines-Chakti and Lugri are the must-try dishes of Manali. If you get a chance, do try the elaborate fare called Dham, usually cooked in weddings and functions. It is a culinary experience like no other.
- Il Forno in Siyal
- Café 1947 in Old Manali
- Casa Bella Vista on Log Huts Road
- Rose Garden Restaurant in Vashisht
- Café Nirvana in Old Manali
- Fat Plate in Shuru
- Art Café in Old Manali
Where to Shop
Mall Road: Lined with multiple restaurants, shopping emporiums and several small markets, the Mall Road is the hotspot for shopping in Manali. From Kashmiri and Kullu shawls, rugs, traditional handicrafts and jewelry to wooden furniture and archaic books, everything can be found in the Mall Road. Smaller markets like Thai Market, Hong Kong Market, Lama Underground and Shangri La Markets are also located on the Mall Road.
Old Manali Market: Shopping in the Old Manali Market is a unique experience. Junk beads, silver jewellery, and a wide range of old music CDs are sold in the shops of this market. Take a lovely stroll around the narrow, winding lanes of this market to explore the hidden quaint shops.
Tibetan Market: To get a peek inside the Tibetan heritage and culture, shop at the Tibetan Market. The market is famous for hand-woven carpets, beautifully designed rugs, Tibetan artifacts and souvenirs. The interior by-lanes of the market are dotted by shops selling local handicrafts, Tibetan prayer-wheels, silver jewelry and traditional Thangkas (Buddhist paintings on a cloth).
Experience the Native and Unique Culture of Himachal
Manali has an intriguing diversity in it culture which is clearly evidenced in its rituals. The festivals celebrated in Manali reflect the cultural legacy of the past era. Manali is famous for its enchanting folk songs and indigenous folk dances. Blessed with rich traditional art forms and ancient craftsmanship, the cultural aspects of Manali display the enriched socio-cultural lifestyles of the locale.
Experience the rich indigenous culture of Himachal in the scenic landscape of Manali.
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