Top 6 Places in Manali, Temperature, Best Time to Visit, Hotels etc. – A Complete Guide
A quickie guidebook for Manali- The valley of Gods
Manali is amongst the most popular and visited hill stations of the country. Its soothing backdrop of the Himalayas, blend of tranquility and adventure make it one of northern India’s favorites on the list. It’s a magical place bordered by cool pine forest and the raging Beas River, which give it a special energy.
Manali is amidst the mountain slopes, with spell-binding views, charming streams, the fairy-tale-like fog surrounding little hidden cottages, and a lingering scent of pines and freshness. The place is ideal for families as well as young couples looking for some hide and seek with the flavor of romance on top of it. It is largely visited by honeymoon couples.
Manali is known as the Valley of Gods. The hill station derives its names from two terms- Manu (Manu Rishi) + Aali (Home). Legend has it that sage Manu stepped off his ark in Manali to recreate human life after a great flood had deluged the world. This adds another flavor of spirituality to the majestic Manali.
Manali is 580 kilometers northwards of Delhi, at the northern end of the Kullu valley of Himachal Pradesh. It is about 325 kilometers off Chandigarh. So it might be a very distant and tiresome journey from a personal car or self-driven mode.
The nearest Airport to Manali is Kullu-Manali Airport, located in Bhuntar approximately 32 miles south of Manali. Although Manali’s nearest airport isn’t excessively far, going overland from Bhuntar to Manali takes at least two hours or more because of the mountainous terrain.
High prices, flight unpredictability, and erratic airline schedules cause most travelers to opt for the bus to Manali rather than attempting to fly there.
The nearest Railway station for Manali is Chandigarh. You would have to hire a private cab or board a bus to Manali, which would take about 8-9 hours.
However, there are ample private and government buses from Delhi, Chandigarh, and surrounding locations. The trip from Delhi takes about 15 hours and most buses travel overnight. If possible, book a sleeper or semi-sleeper bus where you can recline and rest well. Deluxe Volvo buses too are a good option.
Night buses make the 14 to 15 hours run from Delhi to Manali. expect a bumpy, winding trip through the mountains and you may feel some motion sickness as well. Buses typically do not have on-board toilets, however, your driver will take frequent breaks to calm nature’s call amidst steep roads.
When to plan your trip
The best time for travel to Manali is late March until the monsoon strikes in the region. September and October too are viable options. Wet months experience heavy rainfall and the area is prone to landslides. However, avoid Navratri’s or Durga Pooja break as the city gets heavily crowded by then.
From October onward, the nights and mornings are cold, and it usually starts snowing in December. The spring (late March to late April), when nature starts coming alive again after the cold winter, is a beautiful time to visit. The crisp clean air, rows of blossoming apple orchards, and masses of butterflies are a real treat.
December and January are months to enjoy snowfall and the spectacular scenic white views of the surrounding mountains, making it a favorite with honeymooners. This is the ideal time for adventure enthusiasts who want to go skiing.
Where to go?
It’s ideal for spending time in the great outdoors, and many of these places to visit in Manali reflect the numerous activities that can be done in the area.
Anyone looking for thrilling adventure sports will love Manali. Fishing, whitewater rafting, paragliding, skiing, mountaineering, and hiking are all on offer in or around Manali. Here are some key suggestions:
1. Solang Valley: Solang Valley is quiet and is best approached by road. The drive up to Solang is an extremely picturesque and enjoyable one. Once you are there, try out some Chinese food from the local roadside shacks, and enjoy the views.
2. Old Manali: Swaying eucalyptus, lovely roads, sweet little eateries, small kitschy market places, and cafes that serve your favorite continental food at unbelievably low prices, the serenity of Old Manali is only disturbed by twittering birds and the sound of the gushing waters of the Kullu River.
3. Rohtang Pass: A beautiful and popular spot in Manali, fetching over 2.5 million visitors every year. In winter, the mountains at the Rohtang Pass are completely covered in snow and it is impossible to get there. Hence, the pass remains closed during winters (from October) and generally opens again in May.
4. Hidimba Devi Temple: Locally known as Dhungari Temple, the Hadimba Temple, is an ancient cave temple dedicated to Hidimbi Devi, wife of Bhima, a figure in the Indian epic Mahabharata. People in Manali worship Hidimba Devi as a deity. It’s near Circuit House approximately a 15-20 minutes walk.
The three-day Dhungri Mela at Hadimba Temple, which takes place in mid-May each year, provides an interesting glimpse of local culture. Gods and goddesses from local villages are dressed up and carried in a procession to the temple, and local artists perform traditional folk dances.
5. Naggar Castle: Located in Naggar Town, amidst breathtaking forested hills, Naggar Castle is a magnificent historical edifice. Once the residence of Raja Sidh Singh of Kullu, this castle is an amalgamation of European and Himalayan architecture.
6. Manu Temple: This religious edifice is visited by countless devotees every year. Legends have it that Manu saved the holy Vedas and the seven sages from the great flood and subsequently made Manali his home. A visit to this revered temple will definitely leave you mentally and spiritually rejuvenated.
1. Trekking: Manali is an absolute delight for adventurers looking to take on the jagged hills. A great base camp for treks, Manali’s Mountaineering Institute offers several types of high altitude hiking and rock climbing opportunities. Yoga-Trekking is another unique concept that combines spiritual wellness with physical well-being.
2. Skiing: A thrill for adventure lovers while touring Manali, as they can indulge in some high adrenaline skiing sessions in the snow-clad mountains that surround the hill station. You can feel the adrenaline rush in the gut!
3. River-Rafting: The River Beas comes across as a perfect avenue for adventurers to indulge in some exhilarating rafting action amidst grade II and III rapids.
4. Zorbing: Zorbing, a one-of-its-kind adventure sport wherein a person is slid into a huge transparent plastic zorb ball which is then rolled down a mountain slope. It is surely not to be missed while in Manali.
5. Himalayan Caravan Adventure: From trekking to paragliding, mountain biking, jeep safaris, and rafting, Himalayan Caravan Adventure offers you multiple options of adventure activities. This attracts countless adventure-seekers every year.
Where to stay
Manali offers you a complete variety of accommodation depending on your budget. From lower range to mid-range, outskirts has it all. Also, the main city offers you a stay ranging from three-star hotels to five-star stays, your visit can be made a memorable one.
We recommend Royal Park Resort to stay in Manali simply for its exotic location, good connectivity, luxurious services, and amazing amenities. You will enjoy every ounce of your stay here.
Grab and Grub
If you don’t necessarily want Indian cuisine, you’ll find the most atmospheric restaurants and the best food in Old Manali. You may fetch some decent cafes serving refreshing and yummy Italian dishes. Some old-fashioned coffee houses brew mouthwatering coffee.
Key Things to note:
If you are traveling in winters or during snowfall, do take 2-3 pairs of inner thermals, long woolen socks, airtight shoes to avoid freezing and numb body. Do not exert yourself too much and try to keep your body hydrated. Take at least one full day rest in Manali before venturing further heights.