Well by now, you would have known how much I love road trips!! There must have been at least 4 occasions when I have been to this place all on my own. The best way to approach Manali is to take a HPTDC bus starting from Kashmere Gate, New Delhi. The other way is to grab your car and drive to this beautiful and picturesque landscape. In 2018, we drove to Manali on the eve of New Year when my brother-in-law visited us.
Unlike Lansdowne, which I covered in one of my previous posts, Manali is commercialized, with tourists flocking. Manali is a perfect destination for all kinds of travelers - for the family, for the solo backpackers, for a group of friends and for the couples undoubtedly.
Manali is dotted with Apple trees all along. British colonizers introduced the Apple tree here and has since become an important source of income for residents along with pear & plum. Rainbow & brown trout variety of fishes were also introduced by the colonizers into the streams and river.
Check out the places which are a must visit, when in Manali.
This is a temple dedicated to Hidimba Devi, Bhima's wife. Surrounded by Cedar forest, this temple gives a pleasant scenic view. It is built around a cave where Hidimba Devi meditated. During Navaratri, the crowd swells up, so plan your visit to this temple accordingly. About some distance away is a shrine dedicated to Ghatotkacha, Hidimba Devi's & Bhima's son. There is a foot imprint of the Goddess on a rock & is worshipped.
Located in Old Manali, Manu Temple is the only temple dedicated to the Indian sage Manu who was supposedly believed to have built a boat during the great flood (Pralaya) and carried the Vedas, seven sages and various life seeds to recreate human life with the help of Matsaya (Avatar of Lord Vishnu). This temple is made of stone and wooden architecture.
A popular ski resort where you can indulge in snow sports. During the winters, one can enjoy skiing as Solang valley has giant slopes of lawn. During the season you'll find lot of agencies which offers courses and equipment for skiing. One can also hire fur coats and snow boots to walk around the valley from various shops lining the way to the valley. Apart from skiing, one can enjoy para-gliding, parachuting and horse riding. In the summer months, when the snow melts, one can also enjoy Zorbing. There is a ropeway to reach to the top of the valley. The way to reach to the top of the valley is by ATVs and trekking. This place is too crowded with tourists.
Gulaba point is located on the Manali-Leh highway and is best known for its sports and adventure. Some exciting activities that one can indulge in are skiing, trekking and hiking. You can also set up camps here and enjoy beautiful sunset and a lovely night sky full of twinkling stars. From Manali, Gulaba point is around 13 km and takes around 45 minutes to reach. HPTDC runs regular bus service to Gulaba point enroute to Rohtang pass.
This temple is dedicated to Vashisht Rishi and is located around 3.5 km from Manali bus stand. The temple is believed to be around 4000 years old and has a black stone image of the Rishi wearing a dhoti. Hot springs are located here which are believed to hold medicinal properties and cure a lot of skin infections. There are separate arrangements for men and women. Vashisht Temple has some beautiful carvings on wood and is a sight to behold. Temple timings are from 7am to 9pm & bath timings are 7am to 1pm, 2pm to 9pm on all days.
This beautiful monastery was built in the year 1960 by Tibetan refugees and is also called Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa. Monastery has a magnificent facade and attracts a lot of tourists seeking divine blessings. Monastery has a pagoda style roof with a large image of Buddha with a lot of murals depicting Buddha's non-violence themes.
Manali to Naggar is a distance of about 23 km and boasts of a medieval era castle built by Raja Sidh Singh of Kullu in around 1460. It has now been converted into a heritage hotel but tourists can still visit well preserved structure. This stone castle has withstood the ravages of time, especially the earthquake in 1905. Castle with a museum has intricate carvings on wood and is a lovely sight to behold. Remember the popular song from Jab we Met? Yes, a part of the song was shot here..
Where did we stay?
Shivadya Boutique Hotel is a beautiful property based in Karjan village (away from the hustle bustle of Manali city). The resort provides spectacular views of the Himalayan mountains and valleys and great hospitality.
For more details visit: shivadya.com
So pack your bags to this paradise for mountain lovers, having an endless options for adventure, rejuvenation, history, pilgrimage, sightseeing, to even luxurious staycation at beautiful boutique homestay.