Manali is an exciting hamlet town in Himalayan ranges of Himachal Pradesh in India. Manali is one of the most visited destinations in India. Surrounded by mighty mountains in the valleys created by river Beas, this small town is a hot preferred spot for newlyweds, adventure seeking trekkers and those looking to escape the maddening city life, in short everyone.
What separates Manali from other hill stations is the fact that there are numerous places to visit in around Manali which will keep you engaged during your stay here in this heavenly destination. In Manali; thick forests, cool breezes and chirping of birds will be a complimentary delight.
Let’s start to unfurl the Manali delicacies in the order of proximity from the Mall Road, the centre of town. First attraction to greet you in the Manali is the lively Mall Road, which will invite you for delicious variety of food or a beer with the friends or a romantic dining overlooking the hills. There are also a number of souvenir shops in the sprawling market and the charming ambience to cheer up your moods.
Adjacent to the Mall Road is a Monastery located in the Tibetan market, which can be also visited while roaming around.
• Hadimba Temple: It is an ancient temple dedicated to Hadimba Devi, this is the place where Hadimba attained then status of Goddess by virtue of her meditation. Hadimba was the wife of Bheem, the most powerful of the Pandavas. Temple premises also offer an enjoyable ride on the Yaks in its premises.
Adjacent to Hadimba temple is a small temple dedicated to Ghatotkach, the brave warrior son of Hadimba and Bheem.
• Vashishth Temple/ Lord Ram Temple: Situated at the foothills and adjacent to each other are the impressive pair of temples dedicated to sage Vashishth and Lord Ram. Sage Vashishth was the teacher of Lord Ram.
One should not miss the natural hot water springs in the Vashishth temple.
• Jogini Waterfalls: Jogini Falls is a sacred stream of waterfall on its way to join the river Beas. It can be reached by a trek from Vashishth temple or a gentle trek of around 30 minutes from the Manali to Rohtang road. People of Vashishth village believe that Goddess Jogini reside inside the waters of this waterfall.
• Solang Valley: Continue on the road to Rohtang and reach the Solang Valley (14 km. from Manali): This is a picturesque spot and one of the most famous landmarks around Manali. Picturesque slopes of the Solang valley provide an excellent setting for skiing and other adventure activities like paragliding, trekking and camping. One cable car has also started operating here to provide beautiful view of the valley from the top.
Once these slopes get covered with snow the point becomes a preferred spot for film shooting and picnics for the visiting travellers.
• Visitors here get often so much overwhelmed by the Solang Valley that they miss out the Anjani Mahadev, entrance of which is just before the Solang valley. However to seek blessings from Lord Shiva, one has to trek for around 30 minutes and cross a water stream. A cable trolley car is also available to cross the stream; you may choose your option. Water dripping directly on to Shivlinga creates a landscape setting worth fantasy tales.
During the winters the Shivlinga rises up to 5 ft. in height, due to condensation of dripping water. People from far off places come to see this natural phenomenon and to offer prayers to the almighty.
• Old Manali (2 km): One can roam anywhere, but should reserve your evening for Old Manali, the uber happening and lively spot in the Manali. One can enjoy practically every available cuisine on this earth, be it trout fish, Pizzas or cuisines like Korean, Israeli, Japanese, Mexican and Continental.
Guests are entertained by musical bands in the evening and let different cultures and their cuisines shake hands with each other. No doubt Old Manali is a hot spot for foreigners.
There are lot of shops selling customized clothing as per your choice and preference.
• Ancient Manu Temple (2.5 km.), dedicated to sage Manu in old Manali: According to legend at this place sage Manu stepped off from his ark to recreate human life after the great floods had deluged the world.
Wait Wait; there is also Rohtang Pass, 52 km. from Manali without which Manali trip is incomplete. Road to Rohtang goes all the way to Ladakh.
Roads are pretty good for driving but the time taken to reach depends on you, how much clicks you will take. One can enjoy a cup of tea/ coffee in the way at Marhi. Entry permit is required to visit Rohtang. The road to Rohtang is closed in winters due to snowfall, generally from late November to April.
Just before the Rohtang halt is the Vyas Kund, the origin of river Beas. A lovely and fantastic time what you will get in Manali. Not only sightseeing Manali is a great place to pamper yourself with variety of delicious food. Locally prepared trout fish is a must delicacy to be savoured along with nutty flavoured red rice and freshly toasted Pizzas at a quiet restaurant will make for romantic moments. When you are driving around enjoy specially prepared Masala Omlette with a cup of tea mixed with lots of ginger and cinnamon at the local food joints and dhabas.
Start your evening with a freshly brewed coffee and some amazing cuisines in Manali to make a lifetime of memories.
Manali is well connected by drivable roads, which will ensure you reach Manali in good spirits. When coming to Manali from Kullu one can take a 1 or 2 day halt at Kullu and enjoy nearby destinations like:
• Manikaran Sahib – Holy place for Sikhs and famous for hot water springs. Manikaran Sahib is visited by large number of devotees throughout the year.
• Malana – A village which is still disconnected from the mainland. Trek from bottom of the valleys to reach this village. Village is mostly visited by foreigner hippies, especially from Israel.
• Kasol - Can indulge in trekking, shopping and hiking along the Parvati River.
• Bijlee Mahadev – Lord Shiva temple at the hill top which is worshipped as protector of Kullu valleys
• Dhakpo Shedrupling Monastery - Inaugurated in 2005 by Dalai Lama, apart from centre for study of Budhist philosophy, the monastery offers picturesque view of the surrounding valleys.
• Nagger Castle – Prime attractions consisting of an old heritage castle, Gauri Shanker and Tripura Sundari Temples temples and Roerich art Gallery. Check out Tripura Sundari temple…
Take out some time from your busy schedules to embrace the mystic trance of this beautiful destination and let your soul soak the divine experience of while going around numerous places to see in Manali…
Contributed by Gaurav Verma...