Nestled in between the snow-capped slopes of the Pir Panjal and the Dhauladhar ranges, Manali is one of the most popular hill stations in the country. With jaw-dropping views, lush green forests, sprawling meadows carpeted with flowers, gushing blue streams, a perpetual fairy-tale like mist lingering in the air, and a persistent fragrance of pines and freshness – Manali has been blessed with extraordinary scenic beauty. From museums to temples, from quaint little hippie villages to bustling upscale streets, river adventures to trekking trails, Manali has every reason to be the tourist magnet it is, all year round.
Clean roads, swaying eucalyptus trees, endearing little eateries, small kitschy local market places, and cafes which serve delicious local food at unbelievable prices, Old Manali is a serene, tranquil place, whose lingering silence is broken only by the twittering of the birds and the sound of the roaring waters of the Kullu river.
Solang Valley is the of the most visited places in Manali, with the drive up to Solang being as picturesque as the valley itself. Not only does Solang Valley offer some breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, but its slopes are also a very popular skiing destination, especially during the winters. In summers, the place turns into a paragliding haven. If you’re an adventure enthusiast, Solang Valley has adrenaline-pumping activities such as zorbing and horse-riding available.
With more than 25 lakh visitors every year, Rohtang Pass easily stands out as one of the most popular scenic spots to visit in Manali. Connecting the Lahaul and Kullu valleys, the Rohtang Pass is famous among nature lovers, photographers and adventure seekers alike. Mountain biking or skiing whilst surrounded by the awe-inspiring glaciers and snow-capped peaks on all sides is an exhilarating experience.
Manali is also home to a tiny slice of history, in the form of the Naggar castle. Located among the breathtaking forests in Naggar town, the Naggar Castle is a stunning historical edifice. Once used as the residence of Raja Sidh Singh of Kullu, the castle is a fine blend of traditional Himalayan and European architecture. With majestic fireplaces, beautifully built staircases, and meticulous wood and stone works, the Naggar Castle is a must-visit when you’re in Manali.
When heading to manali for a vacation, two absolutely essential destinations in the itinerary are rohtang and Solang Valley. 14 kilometres to the north west of the main town of Manali, Solang Valley is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Himachal Pradesh. Situated on the way to Rohtang from Manali, every year the valley welcomes tourists in huge numbers. A favourite for adventure enthusiasts, parachuting to paragliding, horse riding to driving mini-open jeeps specially available for tourists of all age groups, Solang Valley has it all.
During winters, Solang valley is covered with snowmaking skiing is a popular sport here, with training institutes and trainers located in the valley to supervise skiers and train beginners. As the snow melts, skiing is taken over by zorbing. Another popular attraction of Solang valley, taking advantage of the slopes of the valley, you are likely to spot a huge transparent ball with mostly two people inside it rolling down the slope during summers. Yes, Zorbing is as much fun as it looks like. One of the most vibrant and enjoyable places in Manali, there is no way one can possibly miss this amazing valley, while here.
When planning a trip to manali, a day off to the vista point of Rohtang Pass is the ultimate and almost essential attraction of the itinerary. Located at a distance of just 51 kilometres from the main town, Rohtang Pass can be reached only by road. The pass is located at a massive height of 3978 metres, the way up the hills is a treat to the eyes. As the vehicle climbs higher on the Manali- Keylong road, the beauty of the landscape around will leave you awestruck. A peculiar fact behind the name of the place is that it was named so because a number of people working in CBRE died whilst trying to cross this treacherous stretch. Owing to its splendid natural beauty, Rohtang Pass is a favourite among the community of film directors. Many blockbusters ranging from ‘Jab We Met’ to ‘Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani’ have been shot here.
To just curl up on your seat in the car as it begins to chill with every increasing metre on the altitude scale and gaze outside at the mesmerizing beauty of nature is absolute bliss. Rohtang pass is an experience of nature in one of its rawest forms possible, amongst mountain peaks covered with snow, breathtaking view and magnificent and sprawling landscapes and views. The magnificence of the white landscape and sonorous silence is a mesmerising thing worth experiencing.
Adventure Activities in Manali
Manali is the hub of adventure activities in Himachal Pradesh. From white river rafting to trekking opportunities to zorbing to horse-riding to skiing to paragliding, Manali has everything to offer.
Beas Kund Trek
Other than being famous a tourist destination, Manali is also the way to one of the most undertaken treks – the Beas Kund Trek. This trek is a perfect weekend getaway plan which takes you away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. Get a chance to feast your eyes on the outstanding views of Pir Pinjal mountain ranges over the Beas river, let your soul get wooed by the spectacular meadows of Dhundi and Bakarthach and finally, the glacial lake at Beas Kund which is worth all the hiking.
The first leg of the trek is reached by driving from Manali up to the Dhundi road link via the Solang valley, which is famous for providing some of the finest slopes for skiing and it is indeed the starting point for a number of treks in Himachal Pradesh. You have to descend down the Solang valley by following the river Beas up to 8 kilometres by walking on either sides of the stream, after which you will reach Dhundi. The entire landscape on the little mountain is covered by wild flowers complemented by the peaceful silence. You have to set camp and spend the night at Dhundi.
The next day, a 6 kilometre will take you through the area full of boulders and small rocks deposited by a glacier. Further ahead, you will reach the campsite at Bakarthach which is a high-altitude meadow and known for its enchanting beauty. The cool breeze will ease your tiredness away and you can see flocks of sheep grazing in the green fields. Put up your tents and spend the night in this haven of calmness.
The third day begins a bit early and this includes climbing up a small ridge through Bhoj Patr which will take you all the way up to Beas Kund. You will see ranges of birch trees on your way as they dominate the area. The glacier at Beas Kund is a source to a major river flowing northern India and it has a mythological significance as it is believed that Sage Vyas, the author of Mahabharata, used this place as his meditation grounds. After spending the day in undertaking the complete excursion, you will return to Bakarthach in the evening.
Finally, on the last day, you will follow the same trek leading back to Solang after finishing breakfast. From there, you will be escorted back to Manali which marks the end of the trek.
So if you ever want to take a break from your otherwise monotonous life, the Beas Kund trek is what you need right. Mark your calendar, pack your bag and set off on the trek to Beas Kund and let your soul rejuvenate.
Located amidst the snow-covered hills of Manali, the Hadimba Temple is a unique shrine dedicated to Hidimba Devi, who was the wife of Bhima and mother of Ghatothkach. Surrounded by gorgeous cedar forests, this beautiful shrine is built on a rock which is believed to be in the image of goddess Hidimba herself. The construction style of the Hidimba Devi temple is entirely different from that of any of the other temples, with its wooden doorways, walls, and cone-shaped roof. This temple is a fitting dedication to its presiding deity Hadimba.
The magnificent Hidimba Devi Temple holds monumental importance to Hindu pilgrims as it is a part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. Even apart from that, the Hadimba Temple is no less of wonder to nature lovers. Packed away into the laps of nature, this temple offers a quiet getaway to nature and peace lovers. Being quite a quaint story in itself, the Hidimba Temple is slowly but steadily attracting tourists from all over the country to its doors where history and heritage meet natural beauty.