Land of many things in the Himalayas: Manali, Himachal Pradesh
Manali arguably the most famous place in the state of Himachal Pradesh, the town is located at an altitude of around 6398 feet above sea-level (1950 m). Manali is situated on the Beas river and is a popular holiday destination spot for backpackers and holiday makers during the summers and a majestic, snow covered place in the winters.
There are multiple options for travellers to get into Manali. By road, Manali is around 570 kilometres from Delhi and around 291 kilometres from Chandigarh. The most economical way of getting to Manali by road is to board one of the many HRTC state buses from either Delhi or Chandigarh. The bus ride from Delhi takes around 14-15 hours and from Chandigarh around 8-9 hours. The nearest airport is located at Bhuntru which is around 50 kilometres.
Manali is also the getaway to Ladakh, Lahaul and Spiti via the famous Rothang Pass which is one of the main attractions. There are daily buses from Manali bus station to Leh in Ladakh with a night stop over at Keylong in Lahaul.
The town of Manali has been named after the Indian philosopher and sage Manu, because if Noah’s Ark found haven on Mt. Ararat, then Manali was the high water-line for Manu’s Ark.
There are plenty of attractions or sights for tourist in and around the town. Rothang Pass at an altitude of 12,050 feet above sea-level is a huge adventure site where skiing and other winter sport activities are conducted even during the summers since this place is covered in snow all year round.
Other attractions around Manali are Vashist hot water springs, Jogini falls which is a two kilometres hike from Vashist, the town of Naggar which is around 20 kilometres from Manali. Hadimba temple is another ancient cave temple dedicated to Hidimbi Devi, this temple was built in the year 1553.
Manali is also home to many adventure activities such as river rafting, skiing, zorbing, trekking, snow scooters and river crossing. Most of these adventure activities come as a package and the adventure companies provide transportation to and fro for these activities. If you are the adventurous kind then this is the place to experience adventure.
The town of Manali is not very big and hence can be easily covered on foot. Walking through the lanes is a must do thing as it is the best way to explore this beautiful Himalayan town. To visit the nearby places hiring a taxi is a good option for a group of travellers and for others the government buses are a very good option, since there are frequent buses that ply to nearly every place from here.
Manali has plenty of cafes, bakeries and restaurants which serve some really delicious food which caters to the taste of all kinds of travellers and also has a verity of restaurants that serve western food in the form of Chinese, pizzas, pastas, etc. and also good Indian vegetarian food. The burgers at Mom’s Kitchen is a must try for all those who love burgers.
A good thing to try out is the local alcohol Luhdi or Chang, a kind of crude beer made from fermented rice or Arak an alcoholic drink distilled from Chang or made from jaggery.
Accommodation in Manali is in plenty and to meet the needs of all kinds of travellers from budget hotels for backpackers to luxury resorts for the honeymoon couple and families.
Manali also has a market which has plenty of handicrafts which are made locally and also shops selling winter wear and the famous Kullu Shawls and carpets. There are a few shops which sell customised key-chains and door name plates, these are worth a buy and is also a good place to buy dried fruits since they are at a very reasonable price and of very good quality.
The best time to visit Manali is during the summer months from mid-March to end of May when the weather is pleasant and perfect for travel. Other than the monsoon months from June to mid-September and is a perfect place to spend your holidays relaxing or hiking around the mountains near by.
Manali is a beautiful place to visit for all kinds of travellers. This town has plenty to offer for the adventure junkies and also has a nice feel and good ambience for those looking to just relax in the mighty Himalayas.