Manali is a resort town nestled in the mountains. It is a small town with a population of approximately 10,000. It is a popular tourist spot for Indians in summer, whereas in winter most of the places are snow-clad. In the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh near the Northern end of Kullu Valley, at an altitude of 6,726 feet in the Beas River Valley is where Manali is located. Today, we’ll talk about the places to visit in Manali and the food to try.
We bet you have that one “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani” wish to go on an exciting tour like this. Manali is the place where that movie was mostly shot and all the places you see are of this region. It also comes on the road to Ladakh via the valley of Lahaul and Spiti and the Rohtang Pass which is the main attraction near Manali.
Manali is named after the Sanatan Hindu lawgiver Manu. The Manali is regarded as the derivative of ‘Mana-Alaya’ which literally means ‘the adobe of Manu’. The valley is often referred to as the ‘Valley of Gods’.
How to reach Manali:
Manali is the most frequently visited hill station in India and hence accessible from all parts of the country. Though nestled in mountains, reaching Manali is quite convenient.
By Air: The nearest airport for Manali is Bhuntar, also known as Kullu Manali airport. It is 50 km from Manali.
By Train: Jogindernagar railway station is the nearest railhead to Manali that connects the hill station with several important cities of the country. This railway station is 165.6 km from Manali. Ambala and Chandigarh are other options to reach Manali by train. There are various ways of transportation after reaching the railheads including taxi and buses at reasonable rates.
By Road: Tourists mostly prefer a self-drive to Manali as it offers everyone the astounding glimpses of the mountains while ascending the Ghats. The buses to Manali leave from Chandigarh and most frequently from New Delhi.
Manali’s culture and festivals:
The people, culture, and festivals of Manali reflect the distinct and unique socio-cultural lifestyle of the aboriginal inhabitants of the region. The diversity in culture of the region reflects the ample traditional endowment and ancestral patrimony that has permeated to the modern era.
The exotic valleys of Manali are the natural home to several aboriginal tribes of the region. The tribal community of Kinnaur is one of the prominent local inhabitants of the valley. Gujjar is another important tribe of the region who are commonly referred to as the wandering tribe of the region.
Being blessed with such traditional arts and crafts, Manali is famous for its folk dances and the enchanting folk songs which are performed enthusiastically by the performers.
READ THIS : How to mix up with cultures and people.
The local people of Manali prefer to wear the traditional attire. Usually spun out of wool, the colorful and attractive clobber reflect the culture of the local people. Vasantotsava and the Mela Bhuntar are two festivals which are celebrated to the fullest.
Places to visit in Manali:
1. Solang Valley:
It is 13 km from Manali, located at an elevation of 8,400 feet. This place attracts tourists both in winter as well as summer. In winter for its snow and in summer for its adventure sports. It is renowned for being an adventure paradise.
Anyone can try skiing, snow scooter and paragliding here. Hidimba Devi Temple is on the way to Solang Valley from Manali. This shrine is located at a hilltop with mesmerizing surroundings. In case you are forgetting it, Hidimba Temple is the one shown in the Bollywood movie “ Yeh jawaani hai deewani” where the group hangs out. This is one of the best places to visit in Manali.
2. Beas River:
The Beas River in Manali originates from the Himalayas, passes through the Kush evergreen forests and ends at Punjab. The river has a tranquil environment which has incited many sages like Vashist, Narad, Vyas, Parshuram and others into meditation in the ancient times. Photographers can visit the place to capture the backdrop of the large River surrounded by timbered hills.
3. Jogini Waterfall:
It is 7.5 km from Manali. The location of this place is 4 km trek from Vashist Temple. It is a beautiful waterfall situated in Vashist Village. The fall is formed by a stream which is merged in to Beas River in the downstream.
One of the most important places when it comes to places to visit in Manali.The waterfall cascades down from a height of around 150 feet through multiple levels. Tourists can take a plunge in the water and spend some time. The trek to Jogini falls is among the best short treks in Manali. The top point of the waterfall can be reached by walking another 15 minutes. The whole trek route is very scenic through beautiful villages aligned with the sprawling valleys.
4. Rohtang Pass:
It is 51.2 km from Manali. Located at a height of 13,050 feet on Manali Keylong Highway. For anyone to go there, you will need to pay a permit fee. This is applicable for all vehicles visiting Rohtang Pass, this tax is applicable on a daily basis based on the daily quota defined by National Green Tribunal (NGT)/District Administration. And it is valid for only one day. It connects the Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal Pradesh. You should not miss this if you wanna visit the best in places to visit in Manali.
The routes are covered in snow in winter and no one visits this place during a snowfall. The name ‘Rohtang’ means ‘ground of corpses’ due to the number of people who lost their lives while crossing this difficult mountain range. Just beyond the stunning Rohtang pass is the Sonapani Glacier and the twin peak of Gaypan, which is known for its panoramic view and peaceful atmosphere.
NOTE: The permit is not given on Tuesday; this day is kept for maintenance purpose.
Taste of Manali:
Manali’s food largely owes itself to the crops that are widely grown in the surrounding valleys. Manali has got some amazing food, from the road vendors to the authentic cafes and restaurants.
These are some prominent dishes of Manali
- Bhey (Spicy lotus stems): It is a delicious dish which is fondly eaten in households of Himachali people and made out of Lotus stems. Thinly sliced lotus stems are cooked in ginger-garlic, onions and gram flour.
- Chha Gosht: This is a typical Himachal delicacy, it is a appetizing dish prepared with marinated lamb which is further cooked in the gravy of gram flour and yogurt.
- Mittha: This dish is for sweet lovers. This dish is prepared on special occasions in Himachal Pradesh. It has sweetened rice mixed with dry fruits and raisins.
Best time to visit: May-October, adventure enthusiasts can plan a trip in winter when the snow offers great skiing. Here are some travel hacks to help you.
READ: Top 10 travel hacks
Clothing: Cottons and light woollen during summers and heavy woollen during winters. Scarves and gloves are a must if travelling in winter.
Moving around: Manali is best explored on a motorbike, which can be hired at reasonable charges. Try this only if you know the way around. Taxis and local buses are also available.
This is everything about Manali…so pack your bags and enjoy this Summer in Manali. You can visit Manali with your family or SOLO.
If you are planning for a Solo trip, Read this.
Abhishek Raushan, Intern Travel Blogger.