Things To Do In Manali
Famously known as the ‘honey moon spot’ for Indians, Manali rests at a height of 6,398 ft. in the Beas River Valley (state of Himachal Pradesh), on the highway leading to Leh. Well defined snowcapped peaks, breath taking scenic beauty and a sprawling landscape here, make it just the ideal location for a relaxing, fun filled, break from the city life. Resting in the shades of the pine and deodar trees which cover the entire area; there are many uncountable things that you can do here to make your holiday a recollection to cherish. The rich waters of the Beas River flow through the locale; the orchards and the small fields are a delight.
Manali falls on the ancient Trade Route which led to Ladakh in ancient times, and so it is the gateway to the Lahaul & Spiti, Kinnaur and Leh regions. Very aptly called the ‘Switzerland of India’, this heaven in the hills is discoverable every time, even if you are making recurrent visits.
Mythology is copious with the mention of the sparse population of “Rakshas”, the nomadic hunters, inhabiting the area. This was followed by the advent of the shepherds from neighboring states and small settlement areas of agriculture. Manali is world famous for its crop of apples, and ironically, the apples are not native to Manali. The Britishers were the ones who planted the first apple orchard in the landscape.
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If on one hand the summers are the best times for open skies and adventure activities, the spring shows the blooming mountains in all colours. The winters are awaited year after year for the winter sports and the snow fall. You should avoid it between the months of July-September because of the heavy rainfall which results in many landslides and muddy tracks. Easily accessible by a road drive, the places in and around Manali are a delight to the tourist.
Read on, for a narrative of all the amazing things to do in Manali…
Maa Sharvari Temple
Uphill from the Shaminallah village and at a distance of 5 kms from main town Manali, this route is a small trek which opens to an ancient temple. With pine and deodar trees shading the narrow pathways of the trek, the temple houses the “Kuldevi”. Hindu mythology demands stringent loyalties towards the clans and the bloodline. The Goddess of the clan is the Kuldevi who has the miracle to heal you of any difficulties if allegiance is sworn in. Housing the idol of the Goddess Durga, the best time to visit this temple is during the festival of Dushehra.
On the last day of the ten day long festival which marks the triumph of good over evil, the idol is carried all the way over to Kullu which lies at a distance of 50 kms from Manali. Decorated on palanquins and with devotional hymns and praises, the festival concedes with the Goddess being taken to Kullu. After a visit to the temple, you can sit and stroll around for some time and enjoy the breath taking view of Manali which can be captured on a good lens from up there.
Vashisht Hot Water Springs
Does the thought of a natural hot water spring mesmerize you? Have you even wondered what touching naturally hot water gushing out through a spring would feel like? Experience that on your visit to Manali. These hot water sulphur springs are magical. Across the Beas River, on the banks of which Kullu and Manali have settled, Vashisht Hot water springs have many bath houses and private areas modeled on the Turkish styles.
Praised highly, to cure skin diseases and ailments, the hot water of the sulphur spring is passed through the showers which have been fitted into the bath houses. This place is continuously flocked by tourists who want to be cured by this magic water. A Vashisht Temple nearby is also a spot to visit. The market place around this area is best for deals in handicrafts, shawls, local brass ware and souvenirs.
Also, known as the ‘snow point’, this place is famous for hosting the acclaimed winter adventure sports every year. Skiing, paragliding and parachuting are the common tourist attractions here; and both the experts and the amateurs can enjoy it. With an altitude of around 2500 meters above the sea level, this Valley has just the perfect bends and hustling winds for snow sports. A destination which is a hot favourite among the trekkers, it is not uncommon to see many camping sites in the region. Atop the hill, is the shire of Lord Shiva, the Hindu God with the incredible third eye.
Not only can you have fun in the winters but the summers will set your energies high too. Zorbing, horse riding and paragliding are some of the continuous activities here. If gliding in winters will give you beautiful views of the sheet of white snow everywhere, the summers will show you the colours of bloom in the valley. Sail in the blue skies and feel at par with the birds, paragliding does literally give you wings. And if the sky is what you have seen closely already, go ahead and zorb yourself down the slope. Tired after a long day of fun and frolic, just take a seat in one of the many eating shacks here. Almost everything that can be cooked on slope is available on the menus. Eat a heart full, there is quite a lot more to be done after all.
Yes this is the place that Manali used to be. Not that we can call Manali polluted by modernization yet, but this is the stretch of Manali which is pretty much considered a hippy enclave. It serves the perfect example of a ‘global Village’ and has many river-side Cafes that waylay your senses of appetite with aroma of soups, dim sums, teas, pancakes and all the yummy food at very pocket friendly rates.
You may just shop for the local artisan ornates, or enjoy a long winding walk. Bakeries, chemists, Banks, and Foreign currencies; everything is available here. So are the well-furnished guest houses and the hotels. Also, the spas and the meditation centers offer you relief from the stress that you have accumulated so far. You may also hire vehicles as per your need of the day. So hire a motor bike and go check out the Pandoh Dam, or rent out a jeep and take a test of the terrain.
The Pandoh Dam
Driving down to Manali? A short stopover is well deserved! Built on the river Beas, this hydroelectric electricity generating Dam is a reservoir of water, but the view in the backdrop is marvelous and it is this reservoir of water, which is the Pandoh Lake.
Located on the National highway 21, a short picnic here is a worthy experience. So whether you want the photographs lucidly clear or you to want to bask in the sun and feel the nip in the air, this dam situated at 10 kilo meters from Manali is a perfect spot to visit. Pull out our cameras and click away. Let the photographer in you, find yourself. And once you are done capturing some beautiful frames, move on to the Rohtang Pass for another day full of hikes and trekking.
Lying on the eastern range of the Pir Panjal mountain range, this beautiful spot is the entrance to Leh - Ladakh and the valleys of Lahaul Spiti. Snowcapped mountains and steep slopes all in white are a characteristic of this place. The glistening White Mountains against the backdrop of the blue skies make this an awesome place to be in. Cover yourself in layers and layers of clothes because this place will chill your bones. Rohtang Pass is a mountainous pass, a stretch of plain land between two mountains, which connects two adjacent mountain ranges.
The wind velocity here is very high. Coupled with the fact that the mountains are snowcapped, the winds are chilly and make you shiver. Come winters, and the place attracts a lot of tourists for the winter sports like snow blading, skiing, skating and mountain biking.
Summers see the place abuzz with the bloom of the season but it is still colder as compared to the adjoining areas. The place also has many shacks that serve piping hot food. Just what you would need in the chill!
A stone carving just sprung up from the earth and a temple was built around it to honor it. The sheer precision of the carvings of the local deities and various religious animals, on the walls of the temple, is a sight to behold. A little away from the hustle and bustle of the market, this temple is hidden in the pine trees all along its way and is surprisingly shaped like a Pagoda. A venue for local weddings, this temple is devoted to Hidimba Devi. The tales of valor of the five Pandava Brothers are still alive in the Indian History. Hidimba was the wife of one of the brothers, Bheem, who was of the stature of a giant.
Close to the Club House in Manali, this temple is built on architectural fusion of the ancient Indian and Buddhist styles. This is one place that needs to be captured on the camera. This huge rock jutting out of the mountain is the statue of Hidimba Devi and is worshipped by the locals. In the final days of her life, she meditated deeply in this area. Visit this temple for pictures that you could frame as ancient works of art. If you are lucky, you may also see a local wedding and be treated like guest!
Why does everyone say that Himachal Pradesh, a mountainous state in India, is the abode of God? Is it really so special? What could it be? Are not the trees, the skies and the landscape almost the same everywhere? Though you can now traverse a stretch of road to reach it, the Chandratal Lake, till recent times, was accessible only by a cart. This lake is postcard perfect and has no human carbon footprint so far.
No permanent structures and no shops, just temporary arrangements besides a lake, which make you gasp at the perfection of Mother Nature. Visit this lake and you would know why Himachal Pradesh, is truly the abode of God. Many a times, people driving down from the plains try to reach this place directly. This is not advisable as this could cause Acute Mountain Sickness. There are just some places left which are in their natural forms. This is one such place on the planet, where you genuinely feel the joy of walking on the clouds.
This small district is a hidden gem. The place is filled with apple orchards surrounded by trees of towering heights. Naggar, a secluded district, is a pleasure to your eyes. And it is here, that are located the pristine Jana Falls. A short trek to the location will leave you relaxed into the serenity. The sight of the waterfall is quite sudden in the greenery and does surprise you by its abrupt appearance.
Overlooking an old wooden bridge, the water rolls on with gushing speeds on to the rocks creating the splashes of white everywhere. Hungry after the trek? Rest a while, climb further up, and relax in one of the many picnic spots. Enjoy the various delights of the local delicacies. You must visit this place, if you visit Manali. This is one thing that will linger on for long in your memory.
This is one of the best things you could do in Manali. The Beas River is wild in many places and it is one of the stretches like this, that, you would find many rafts ready, to take you down the river, popping up and down the ripples and the rapids. There are many rapids all along the rafting stretch. And the rafts take you through them seamlessly. The rafts have an instructor and a helper, and can take you in groups. Rafting in Manali is a world class experience where, even amateurs can jump in the waters. Not knowing how to swim is not a drawback here.
All through the routes there are many spots where in you can jump in the water and hold on to the raft and skim for a distance. The rapids can make the rafts topple also. And then the members of the raft help in the rescue operations too. Throughout the stretch there are various high rocks from where you can jump down and try adventure swimming too. Completely safe and secured this is one sport you would thoroughly enjoy in Manali. The stretch has certain rapids which only the experts and the members of the armed forces can cover. Most of the rafts just topple over the water. The gush of the water, the bone chilling temperatures and bright sunshine overhead just make this the most adventurous trek of water you may have ever tried.
Situated at a distance of 2 Kms from Manali, the Manali Sanctuary is the best you can have in terms of wildlife. With all animals in their natural abodes, you get to see the real life of animals. The animals are in natural, respective habitats and have the life style that they would exhibit in the jungles. The caging here is just for the security of the animals and not to confine their movements. The glacier zone in this sprawling area of 31.8 square meters is often occupied by the herds of Ibex in winters. Tress of various heights and thick foliage, make this as good as a jungle. When standing under the shade of the trees and leaves jutting out of everywhere, you can hear every chirp of a bird and every groan of the Monel; you feel the wilderness around you. See the Musk deer nuzzling through the foliage and the snow leopards descending down in the winters. Who knows you might be able to click a selfie with the Leopard and post it? You can just be plain lucky at times.
Travel is what helps you discover yourself. And a holiday is what you need. Be it the peer pressure or a break from the monotonous routine, we all need holidays. And so they should be planned in such a way that they fulfill our needs of a holiday in the first place. So if you want to sit and relax over a couple of days , going to place which is too fast and too active will tire you more. On the contrary, if you have been bored and are planning a vacation for fun, then you should select a travel destination what would keep you on your toes. Manali is just what a tourist needs. Have some days of fun and frolic, and spend some quiet evenings. This is the balance which this Beauty spot on the planets offers.
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