You can take a train to Chandigarh and later on a bus from Chandigarh to Manali. You can visit the Amritsar's golden temple from Chandigarh. It will take a day to go and come back from Chandigarh to Amritsar.
U can take the route via Indore, Jaipur and Delhi which avoids going through MP, if this is your concern. Having said that, there is no guarantee that any road is safe or any road is unsafe. Safe drive:)