Manali in Himachal Pradesh is a quaint resort town sitting snug in the mountains near the Beas River. Known as a backpacking destination, Manali attracts visitors looking for an adrenaline rush. And with its varied adventure options, Manali never fails to deliver. Its natural beauty and the many religious spots add to the charm and allure of this hill station.
Currency: Indian Rupee (INR)
Population: 1 lakh (as of 2011)
Time Zone: UTC+05:30
Area: 16.64 square km.
Official Language: Hindi and Pahari (a kind of Hindi dialect)
The town of Manali is at the Northern end of the Kulu valley, at an elevation of 2,050 metres, making it the perfect destination in summer as well as in winter.
October to February is winter in Manali and the best time to visit if you wish to enjoy the snow and other snow activities. Summer starts from March and lasts well until June. April to June is warmer and the best time to plan your trip to Manali. 3-4 days are more than enough, but we are sure the beauty and charm of the place will make you want to stay back a little longer.
Manali has quite the fabled past. The name translates to ‘Valley of Gods’ and stories abound that the great sage Manu stepped off his ark after the great world flooding and recreated mankind. Manali is said to be the modified name ‘Manu Alaya’ which means home of Manu. Real world history traces Manali’s rise to fame to the British who recognized the hill station as the perfect summer resort to escape the scorching heat of the northern plains.
Manali has something for everyone – stunning natural vistas, beautiful religious sites and a buzzing adventure scene. This rugged hill station appeals to all travelers, and with so much to do and see, it is a travel-extensive destination. Are you ready to begin your journey?
Manali will awaken the peace seeker within you. Head over to the many ancient temples and sacred monasteries that dot the town. These places of religious significance will not only offer you spiritual guidance, but the majestic structures will leave you spellbound. When in Manali, do visit the Hadimba Temple, Manu Temple, Manikaran Gurudwara and the many mystic monasteries. Many of these monuments date back 100s of years and have been left untouched in all their ancient wooden glory. The museum of Himachal Culture and Folk Art will showcase the rich Himachal traditions and arts from centuries ago. Clothing, jewellery, utensils and even weapons from centuries ago are on display here. You can also take a walk into the Himachal countryside for an idea of how the locals live. A stroll in nearby villages, like Vashisht, Malana and Kothi, will show you rural India like never before. Understand first-hand how the people from the mountains get by in their day to day lives with ease, having learned to co-exist with the slopes for generations.
From gushing waterfalls and lush wildlife sanctuaries, to medicinal hot springs and sulfur baths, Manali gives you nature on a platter. Soak in the soothing sounds of the cascading waters of the Jogini Falls, Zana Falls and Rahal Falls while you picnic alongside. The relaxing sounds of the water will wash away all fatigue and the accumulated stress of daily life.
The Manali Wildlife Sanctuary takes you through lush green forests and offers vistas of snow-capped mountains. You will be mesmerized by the exotic birds, beautiful flora, and majestic animals that the sanctuary contains. Keep your camera ready, for you never know when one of these magnificent creatures will reveal themselves to you.
The hot water springs near Vashisht village and the sulfur water baths at Manikaran Gurudwara are believed to have healing properties. Dip in and enjoy an experience of a lifetime in these soothing waters.
You can also meditate and relax at the Arjun Gufa, a relatively unknown part of Manali. Allow the silence to envelop you and unwind from the hustle of daily city life while you explore this beautiful place. Since it is unknown, not many tourists throng the place letting you enjoy the stillness all by yourself.
Manali is an adrenalin junkie’s dream destination, offering a wide range of heart-racing activities at Solang Valley, Beas River and Rohtang Pass. From trekking and camping, skiing and cycling, to bike riding, white water rafting, paragliding and zorbing too, there are numerous adventures that you can indulge in. The activities are at various experience levels, making sure there is something for everyone in the group. Make a trip to the adventure sports centre’s headquarters at Aleo, barely 3kms from Manali to figure out what all you want to experience while at Manali.
The closest airport to Manali is at Bhuntar, about 50 kilometres away.
Manali is a very well-connected hill station. Travelers can hop into state-run buses from New Delhi, Shimla, Kullu, Leh, and Dharamshala. If you wish, you can also hire a taxi at a reasonable fare.
The closest broad-gauge railway station is Ambala Cantt or Chandigarh from New Delhi. You will need to take a bus or cab from either of these two destinations.
The best way to see Manali is with a private vehicle. If you’ve driven down, then you have your own car at your disposal to go as you please. Many tourists hire taxis for their travel needs. You can book them per day (at approx. Rs 1800) or for 3 days in a row (about Rs 3000 during the peak season). Off season charges are lower and you can also bargain.
The next best way to move about is on a motorbike. There are several places that rent out bikes by the day. Rates are a bit steep at Rs 1000-1500, but these are much lower in the off-peak season and you can always bargain.
There are quite a few local buses. Services come cheap but the frequency and overall experience is not always that good. If you plan to stay for a long time, you can find out the timings and use this transport to plan your day.
You could consider taking an autorickshaw for shorter distances. The rates are much higher than local transport and the driver could charge you extra if you show that you do not know your way around.
Manali has been a favourite tourist destination for a long time now. Families, youngsters, honeymooners as well as retired groups are drawn to the charm and beauty of this hill station.
Whether you are interested in its natural beauty or have a religious bent of mind, Manali will not disappoint. The best way to see all that the place has to offer is to opt for a Manali tourism package that will showcase the best there is to see and experience.
Pick the season that you love best and allow Manali to reveal its beauty to you.
You can do a short 2-minute paragliding ride, and if that whets your appetite for more, you can go for the longer 10-minute one.
Manali’s favorite and most famous restaurant, Kwality Sher-e-Punjab, will make the foodie in you very happy indeed. Delicious food, unbeatable hospitality, and quick service are the hallmarks of this loved destination.
Manali offers you the global village experience – riverside cafes and hotels offer you foods from all over the world, at reasonable prices.
Although Manali has a pleasant temperature throughout the year, for the ones who want to experience the snowy landscape of Manali, the best time to visit Manali is said to be around mid-December to January. During this time, the mountains and landscape of Manali get covered in a thick sheet of snow. A number of recreational activities also take place during these months like skiing, snowboarding and even mountaineering expeditions. Our Manali tour package offers a number of activities. You can also opt for a regular Manali tour, as per your convenience.
We here at Thomas Cook offer a number of additional services, including flight booking aid. One can easily customize their Manali tour package, making it convenient for the tourist. There are several Manali tours available for the tourist to choose from, making them customizable as well.