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Tourist Places To Visit In Manali
Snow capped mountains, meandering rivers, quaint hamlets and a tranquil pace of life - that’s the charm of the picturesque hill resort of Manali. Located about 270 km north of Shimla in Himachal Pradesh, Manali is one of India’s most popular tourist destinations. It is cradled by the spectacular Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar ranges, and the beautiful Beas river passes through it. To help you take your pick from the diverse and interesting sights, we have drawn up a list of top tourist places to visit in Manali, which includes star attractions like Beas Kund, Solang Valley, Hampta Pass, Naggar Castle and more.
Of all the places to visit in Manali, Rohtang Pass is perhaps the most popular. Located about 51 kms from Manali at a height of 3980 m on the highway to Leh, it serves as crucial trade route and a gateway to the valleys of Lahaul-Spiti and Leh. Open annually from June to October, it offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding snowcapped mountains. Nearby are the Dassaur Lake and the Beas Kund. Also visible are the Sonapani glacier and the twin peaks of Geypan
About 14 km northwest of Manali, between the village of Solang and Beas Kund, lies the pristine Solang Valley. It commands spectacular views of snow-capped peaks and glaciers. A perfect spot for summer and winter adventure sports, thrill seekers can take their pick from paragliding, zorbing, skating and skiing. During winters, it is a popular skiing resort where skiing equipment can be rented and training facilities availed. Skiing is replaced in summer months with zorbing, horse riding, para gliding.
On the far side of the Manalsu Nala, lies the quaint, idyllic retreat of Old Manali. With its rustic cottages, lush orchards, bubbling river, laidback way of life, it is a world apart from the hustle and bustle of new Manali. The Manu Maharishi Temple, dedicated to the ancient sage Manu (from whom Manali derives its name), is one of the prominent sights. Old Manali is a peaceful haven which still retains the unique traits of a mountain village; and it is this distinctive charm which makes it one of the most interesting places to visit in Manali.
Located at about 20 km from Manali, the picturesque Naggar village was the capital of the Kullu kingdom in the 16th century. The Naggar Castle, a gorgeous stone-and-wood structure, has now been converted into a heritage hotel which offers magnificent views of the Kullu valley. Some notable attractions include the Jagati Patt temple, the Gauri Shankar temple, the Chatur Bhuj temple and the Roerich art gallery. The popular Naggar fair is held annually in April. Unparalleled natural beauty, fascinating cultural and architectural heritage, coupled with new-age attractions like adventure sports, Naggar is one of the most famous tourist places in Manali.
One of the most beautiful places to visit in Manali is the Jogini falls, a 2 km trek northwards from the Vashist village. The sight of the waters cascading from the towering mountains makes for an unforgettable experience. The trek follows a scenic route with amazing views of the surrounding mountains and pine forests. Tucked away in the lap of nature, it is a magical escape from the dust and din and into serenity.
Vashist Hot Water Springs
The small village of Vashist, situated about 3 km from Manali, on the banks of the river Beas, is famous for its natural hot sulphur springs. Modern bathhouses have been built where tourists can relax in the healing properties of the sulphurous waters. Hot water from the springs is directly channelled to the Turkish-style showers. The other notable attraction of Vashist is the pyramidal stone temple at the main village square, dedicated to the local patron saint, the ancient sage Vashist Muni.
At a height of 4000m from sea level, the mighty Beas river originates from the Beas Kund lake in the Dhauladhar range. It is a sacred spot for Hindu pilgrims as legend has it that ancient sage Vyas took his daily Bath in this lake. The Beas Kund offers some of the most spectacular views of the nearby mountains. The Beas Kund trek, along the river and through the picturesque Solang valley, is perhaps the most popular short trek in the region, boasting of stunning views of the magnificent snow capped ranges.
Dedicated to Hadimba, wife of Bhima in Mahabharata, this ancient temple is built in a pagoda style around a natural cave and encompassed by the beautiful cedar forest of Dhungri Van Vihar. The inner walls of the temple are adorned with intricate wood carvings depicting mythological characters, cosmic dancers and animal motifs. As Hadimba was the patron goddess of the Kullu royal family, this temple draws a huge number of devotees and tourists alike. Every year in May, a three-day fair is held to celebrate the birthday of the goddess which sees the congregation of devotees from far and wide.
A double serving of nature and eco-tourism, the Manali Sanctuary is a boon to those who want to enjoy clean green open spaces. Here you get to enjoy all that and more (re: local flora and fauna). The wildlife varieties here are riveting, from flying foxes to Himalayan black bears, barking deer to Kashmiri flying squirrels. You will also find snow pigeons painting the sky of Manali sanctuary and chakors singing happily. The peaks are covered in tall willows and deodars and chestnuts while poplars circle the bank of Manalsu Nullah. This Sanctuary is 2 km from the city centre.
Gauri Shankar Temple
Manali’s Gauri Shankar Temple is built in the Shikara form of architecture and boasts of strong stone walls and pillars. They are intricately carved with figurines of gods, goddesses, Hindu mythology stories and motifs, inviting visitors’ perusal. More than 800 years old, this temple is dedicated to Shiv and Gauri as a couple and performs rituals in the Gurjara way. Gauri Shankar Temple is 22 km from Manali.
Great Himalayan National Park
49 km away from Manali is the Great Himalayan National Park. It is one of the biggest, most coveted natural parks around and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here you will find more than a thousand plant species, more than 200 birds species and just as many animals. While visiting, you may sight animals like the snow leopard, Himalayan Tahr and even the brown bear if you are lucky! Wildflowers bloom across shrubs and thickets as hikers and campers abide during peak season months. Photographers also enjoy greatly here.
Trekking enthusiast? Then head to Hampta Pass near Manali. It is about 15 km away. The easy-medium trek in the alps of Himalayas is considered one of the most mesmerising treks around Manali. You will pass the famous Chandratal Lake as you trek up, and enjoy the gorgeous chain of Pir Panjal Range. So strap up, pack your essentials and enjoy the Hampta Trek!
Manu is the man that Lord Vishnu came to warn before the great flood. He came as Matsya avatar, the fish form, and asked Manu to build a boat, fill it with everyone in his village and row across Narmada to North India. And never turn back south. That’s how Manu and his people and animals were saved from a flood that destroyed all of South India. The Manu Temple in Old Manali is dedicated to this great soul who later became a sage. Located in the midst of verdant hills and valleys, this temple exudes a peaceful aura. It is hence a must visit.
Dhungri Village in Manali has a very Bohemian chic vibe to it, and Van Vihar adds to it. This public park is popular among locals as well as tourists, known for the tall lines of deodars that dance in the wind. Boating in the small artificial lake here is highly recommended, as is bird watching and photography. Early mornings and evenings are perfect for strolling, picnicking and chilling.
Named after Sage Bhrigu, this lake is all pristine waters, alpine surroundings and evergreen rolls of meadows. The deodars and chestnuts around paint a pretty postcard picture. Bhrigu Lake is one of the most significant pitstops on many a treks that go through Manali. Its picturesque beauty quenches thirst of the body as well as the soul. Bhrigu Lake is located in the Kullu region of Manali and is a must visit on the tourist circuit.
Himalayan Nyingmapa Buddhist Temple
Himalayan Nyingmapa Buddhist Temple is an ancient monastery, built in the classic pagoda style. The Tibetan touch to its structure is unmistakable, and lends a unique vibe to it. You must visit it for its various elements, like the tall, almost two storey tall Buddha statue. Or the massive walls that are painted so intricately. You get to sneak a peek into the life of monks, take some time out for meditation and click loads of photos. What more can one want?
Vashisht Hot Water Springs and Temple
There is a village called Vashisht in Manali. It is named after the great sage who was the kulguru or dynasty teacher of Raghukul. He was the teacher of Lord Ram too. In this village the Vashisht Hot Water Springs sprout from a mountainous spot, where a temple also exists. It is said to be 4000 years old and is built of wood. Carvings, inscriptions and figurines are found inside. The hot spring here is coveted for taking a holy dip as well as believed to heal illnesses. You can enjoy a day here doing just that, or set out to shop for the famous woollen apparels that the village is famous for.
Museum of Himachal Culture and Folk Art
Intersted in the history and culture of Manali? Then visit the Museum of Himachal Culture and Folk Art. From exhibitions to workshops, the museum here holds many activities. On a regular basis, you get to see local ancient handicrafts, masks, musical instruments, head gears and garments (most of which were used in folk dances back in the day). There are recreated models of classical Manali homes, staged just as they used to be. Temples are also modelled for your perusal.
A 15th Century castle perched by River Beas, Naggar Castle is like a beacon of Kullu. It was constructed all those centuries back by the then king of Kullu — Sidh Singh. Today the state tourism board has converted it into a heritage hotel with all the amenities. With its European elements interwoven with the Indian style of architecture, Naggar castle is worth exploring. Especially since the European elements were added later. This place is 15 km from Manali.
Shopping, strolling and hogging! — The three golden activities on Mall Road. There are so many shops, stalls, boutiques and kiosks, as well as endless cafes, restaurants and hotels lining this road. You can enjoy some yummy baked goods at the German bakery, pick up books and souvenirs from a nearby shop, buy Tibetan handicrafts and woollens. Most of these are handmade. And when your legs are exhausted, you can catch a bench on the side and relax, people watch and let the breeze chill you. Some of the other favourite markets in the area are Snow Lion Underground Market, Dragon Shopping Complex and Hong Kong Market.