Manali – An All Time Favourite Hill Station
Surrounded by snow caped Himalayan peaks and thick pine woods, Manali is all year round destination of Indian state – Himachal Pradesh. Set at an elevation of 6,260 feet, this enchanting hill station is squeezed between the imposing peaks of Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar ranges. Blessed with Beas River, fruit orchards and high altitude passes and valleys, Manali has many places of interests for the vacationers. Whether one is going with family, friends or his/her spouse, there are end numbers of engaging activities to indulge here.
Best Time to Visit Manali – Although Manali is charming for any season of the year, summer observes more footfalls of the tourists for its pleasant weather. It also becomes escapade from the rising heat of the plains. The summer season commences here in March and lasts till June during which the temperature varies from 10° C to 25° C. In the course of time the flora of the region comes in its peak beauty and pleasant weather offers perfect time to enjoy the outdoor activities. From July to August the place faces heavy monsoon. In September rainy season comes to an end and winter embarks on. In winter the temperature drops and sometimes even go below 1°C. At this time one can enjoy spectacular scenes covered with snow.
How to reach – Manali is well linked to other parts of the country by air, railway and road. It is located at a driving distance of 550 Km from Delhi, 310 Km from Chandigarh and 285 Km from Kalka. The nearest airport to Manali is Bhuntar that is 50 Km away from Manali and is well connected with domestic flights from Delhi and Chandigarh. The nearest railway station to Manali is Joginder Nagar Railway Station, 143.4 Km away. A large number of state run as well as private buses ply to Manali from the major nearby cities like Leh, Shimla, Kullu, New Delhi and Dharamshala.
State’s Special (April Edition)
KEY ATTRACTIONS OF THE PLACE
Rohtang Pass – Perched at a high altitude of 4,112 m, Rohtang Pass is considered the most picturesque spot of Manali. Snuggled in the eastern hills of Pir Panjal Range, the pass is famous for offering stunning views of valley and snow clad peaks.
Solang Valley – Also known as ‘Snow Point’, Solang Valley is famous for offering mesmerising views of snow covered peaks and glaciers. The place is also a hub for the adrenaline gushing activities like skiing, paragliding and trekking.
Hidimba Temple – Devoted to Hidimba Devi – Bheema’s wife in Mahabharata, the pagoda style Hidimba Temple is a revered place for locals as well as tourists. It was constructed by Maharaja Bahadur Singh in 1552.
Van Vihar – Forested with Deodar trees, Van Vihar National Park is an ideal place to spend some peaceful leisure time. Settled into the backdrop of mountain peaks, the place gives a refreshing escapade.
Old Manali – With its charming roads, beautiful woods and small eating joints, Old Manali will take you in another world. Located 3 Km away from the main town of Manali, it is an old sleepy village perched on hill.
Beas Kund – Surrounded by mountain peaks and blue sky, Beas Kund is considered to be the starting point of River Beas. The place is guarded by an igloo-like structure and considered very sacred. The place also serves as a base point for many popular treks.
Apart from relaxing yourself, there are a number of engaging activities the place offers. To indulge in these activities against the charming backdrop of the place is one of a kind to experience.
Zorbing – Usually done under someone’s assistance, Zorbing offers every possible way to view the beauty of the place.
River Rafting – The rolling currents of Beas River gives ample chances for river rafting. Besides this one can also enjoy canoeing and kayaking. The ideal time to enjoy rafting is from April to June and from mid-September to mid-October.
Trekking – Manali serves as a base camp for many popular treks. For the first time enthusiasts, there is Mountaineering Institute that offers various types of high altitude hiking and rock climbing. Ideal time to enjoy this is from April to October.
Rock Climbing – This adventurous sport which is somewhat new in India and gaining popularity with time can be experienced in Manali.
Para gliding – Manali is one of the places in the country where Para-gliding can be best experienced. This daring adventurous activity is performed in Solang Valley.
GORGE ON SOME OF THE UNIQUE DISHES OF THE PLACE
While travelling to Manali one should not miss the local flavours of the place. There are many unique dishes which you will not find in any part of the country. The cuisine of the place is greatly influenced by the neighbour states like Punjab and Tibet. Usually you will find a lot of spices in any traditional dish of Manali. Any common meal of the place includes bread/roti, vegetable, curry and non-vegetarian dish. Let’s have some bites of these delicacies:
Dham – Usually prepared during festivals and wedding ceremonies, Dham is the traditional dish of Himachal Pradesh. It includes rice, curry, sweetened rice, green lentil broth and red kidney beans cooked in yoghurt. You can find this dish as special lunch in several local food joints.
Red Rice – This locally grown grain can be found in many restaurants and eateries in Manali. It is often served with kidney beans and green leafy vegetable dish.
River Trout – The freshly available river trout cooked with local preparations is not to be missed things while you are in Manali.
TOURIST ATTRACTIONS AROUND MANALI
There are many places around the town of Manali which are laced with unparalleled beauty. If time is not a constraint, you can visit some of these places:
Katrain – Located 19 Km from Manali, Katrain is known for the apple orchards and trout hatcheries. The place is centre of the Kullu Valley and offers some of the best views of Beas River. There are enough accommodation here, set up by Himachal Tourism Department. Either you can relax here, explore the nearby places or can try your hand at fishing.
Naggar – Widely known for its castle and museum of Nicholas Roerich, Naggar is located 21 Km from Manali. There are also a number of temples, mostly dedicated to Lord Vishnu. You can relax in this beautiful place or have a look of the painting and sculptures of Nicholas Roerich in the art gallery.
Kasol – Situated on the banks of Paravati River, Kasol lies 75 Km from Manali. Scenic valley, trout fishing, great climate are some of the hooks to attract the tourists.
Manikaran – Situated at 80 Km of driving distance from Manali, Manikarna is a sacred place. The place is much known for hot water spring.
Vashisht – The place falls 6 Km north of Manali and is very popular among tourists for its hot springs. Revered temples, local wooden/stone houses and relaxed atmosphere are other attractions of the place.
So, if you are also thinking to take a break this summer, visit to this beautiful hill station. Several charming places to visit, pleasant climate and lush greenery are adequate for a relaxing vacation.