Best places to visit in Manali

6th Jun 2021
Photo of Best places to visit in Manali by Andrew Paul

This Article is Written by Eishita Rambhiya.

"Heaven is Myth but Manali is Real" depicts the emotions of so many mountain-lovers travelling to Manali every year. The place gives a feeling of home while warm people greeting you and making a permanent place in your heart with their sweet gestures make your heart long for visiting Himachal.

Once a small quaint hippie town famous for its trekking routes has now become a world-famous destination making Himachal famous on the map of India. With its snow-clad peaks and small Wooden Houses, this place has something for everyone travelling to Manali. Imagine you have just left your house and there is a river flowing by with mountains on one side and apple orchards on the other with you just sitting there listening to the sound of water and soaking the sun in. That is Manali, the staircase to Heaven on Earth.

Photo of Best places to visit in Manali 1/5 by Andrew Paul

Places to Stay in Manali:

Manali Mall Road is one of the most famous Mall Roads of any hill station in India. Lined with bustling shops on both sides full of hippie and woolen clothing, food culture inspired from Tibet and North India along with small souvenir shops to take home gifts make this market a go-to place. There are many hotels available on the Mall Road that are frequented by families and tourists who wish to enjoy the major touristy attractions of Manali and require hotels that have easy access to the Mall Road

Naggar, a small village consisting of dreamy apple orchards is another destination that has become very popular for a stay near Manali. Located around 25 mins away from Manali Mall Road this small village has small cottages and orchards that are mostly private properties converted into resorts available at throwaway prices thus making Naggar a destination for young and budgeted travellers. Naggar has a quiet river flowing through it and is a complete winter paradise when it snows but the only flaw is that being away from the city one has to frequently travel via Manali to access a lot of major city points. But if you are looking for a budgeted, quiet and basic stay with views of clear mountains and sky then Naggar is your place.

Old Manali, the original heart of backpackers and hippies this town spells the magic of Manali like no other. Located on the famous Banana Pancake Trail which passes through the entire South-East Asia the quiet town of Old Manali has been home to hippies and budgeted travellers for many years. With small home-run cafes and cottages, one can easily find a clean budgeted room in Old Manali. It is not suggested for Families and Honeymooners since they would not enjoy the vibe there. Old Manali spells energy and a sense of calm as soon as you reach there and keeps calling you back to ride a scooter in its small quaint lanes. Old Manali is a very good base for nearby treks to Spiti Valley, Pin Valley, Lahaul Valley, and not just short treks but also a base for intermediate treks.

Stay Option: Compass Cottage, Old Manali- Rs.450/night for a dorm room and Rs.1600/night for a private room. It has all the facilities like a heater, geyser and clean washrooms available.

Manali Tourism promoted by Himachal State Tourism also has a lot of different guesthouses for comfortable stay available on their website all-round the year. They are located at amazing locations and are very easy on the pocket but booking them is difficult especially during peak tourist season.

Places to Visit:

1) Solang Valley: A famous tourist destination especially in the summers this dreamy valley has been a snow destination for tourists coming to enjoy in the snow especially in the summers for years now. On the route to the famous Rohtang pass, this hub of adventurous activities has many activities to give you the much-needed adrenaline rush. Paragliding over snow-clad peaks with the cold wind gushing is an experience for a lifetime.

Photo of Best places to visit in Manali 2/5 by Andrew Paul

2) Atal Tunnel: The newly inaugurated Atal tunnel build in 10 years to majorly reduce the distance between Leh and Manali from 116kms to just 24.4km. Passing through many small villages and mountain ranges the road from Manali to Atal tunnel is picturesque and has become quite popular because of the technology used to build the tunnel making it a unique one. Not only has it reduced the time but also increased the connectivity for a lot of locals to a city as equipped as Manali.

3) Hidimbadevi Temple: Locally known as the Dhugri Temple, the temple of goddess Hidimba is one of the most famous tourist spots in Manali. Featured in famous movies like Yeh Jawaani Hai Dewaani this temple was built in the year 1533 and built around a cave for Goddess Hidimba, the wife of Bhima from Mahabharata. During Navratri, the people in Manali worship the goddess Hidimba while its beautiful architecture keeps it crowded all year round.

4) Rohtang Pass: Covered in the snow all around the year Rohtang Pass opens every year in the middle of April and is open till November. Since Manali is a year-round destination Rohtang pass is the place to experience snow for tourists coming to Manali from far and wide. Passing through the natural drift between the Kullu Valley situated at a height of 13,054ft. It has a lot of different snow activities like Mountain-Biking, Sledging and is also a base camp for the Lahaul Trek. It is 54kms away from Manali and perfect for a day trip to experience the snow.

5) Jogini Falls: Jogini falls also known as Jogni falls is located just 7.5kms from Manali and close to the village Vashist is the perfect short trek from Manali. The waterfall is formed by a stream merging in the Beas River and is surrounded by forests all around. The place is a major tourist attraction because of its natural beauty with locals coming for a day picnic. The waterfall is 150mt tall and has a small pool where people enjoy plunging in. The water is fresh and straight from the Himalayas making it a unique experience.

6) Naggar Castle: Naggar Castle, a hidden treasure for art and history lovers has stood the test of time since 1460 AD. It has been converted into a heritage hotel by the HTPDC and is built completely by wood with artifacts from all over Himachal. It has throngs of tourists every year visiting to check the ancient carvings done in wood by professional craftsman appointed by Raja Sidh Singh of Kullu. It opens a window to learn about historical art and is a must-visit for art lovers.

Cafe’s To Visit:

Locals in Manali and the areas of Himachal Pradesh grow their produce and hence the fruits, vegetables, and grains are all fresh. The local Pahadi food is quite different than your regular food and as compared to the rest of North India wheat is not consumed in abundance here. A lot of foreign nationals have also settled in Manali especially Old Manali and opened their small cafes featuring the local international cuisine of their own countries. You will find Chai and Maggi at every nook and corner making it the famous Pahado Wali Maggi. Here is a list of some famous and visit-worthy cafe:

1) Born Free Cafe: A hostel,co-working space, and cafe packed in one this quaint cafe located at the Manu Temple road in Old Manali is a must-visit. With local and international delicacies on its menu, it is the perfect place to end your day. It has live music on weekends and is mostly crowded with teenagers and backpackers.

Photo of Best places to visit in Manali 3/5 by Andrew Paul

2) Johnson’s Cafe: Featured in many famous travel publications this vintage cafe situated on the posh Circuit Road has some of the most lip-smacking European Delicacies. It is crowded all day round and its breakfast platters are quite famous. It is a winter wonderland and serenely instagrammable especially when it snows.

3) The Lazy Dog: Located in the lap of a river surrounded by green trees this airy cafe has spectacular outdoor seating with a view of the mountains and a river flowing by. It has continental food and has frequent live performances to entertain the guests.

4) Cafe1947: Very famous for its views and food this cafe has an amazing river flowing by on the Old Manali road. Frequented by a lot of tourists this place serves pasta, pizzas, burgers as well as drinks. A lot of artists come here to perform and the cafe is huge as compared to other small cafes making it stand out.

5) German Bakery: Years old establishment in Old Manali this place has freshly baked goods daily and their Nutella Banana Cake is quite famous. A perfect spot for your late-night or morning coffee they have some of the best-roasted beans in Manali making every coffee lover's paradise.

How to Reach Manali:

Manali is quite easily accessible by all means of transport due to its fame amongst the tourists.

By Train: Chandigarh is the nearest railway station to Manali and is connected with several important cities of the country. Delhi and Chandigarh are other feasible options to reach Manali by train. Other than this, the Kalka Railway Station, a terminal at the foot of Himachal i.e Kalka, connects Manali to the major cities via the Shimla-Kalka Toy Train.

By Flight: The nearest airport to Manali is Kullu Manali Airport, located approximately 50-60 km away from Main Manali town, in Bhuntar. Domestic flights from Delhi and Chandigarh are directly connected to this airport. The prepaid taxis run by the local union and also by Manali Tourism are available outside the airport. The Chandigarh International Airport is also one of the nearest airports to Manali. It only takes 7 to 9 hours to reach Manali from Chandigarh by taxi

By Bus: One of the most economical ways to travel this place has huge connectivity of both state-run and private Volvo buses from Delhi and Chandigarh. Major tourists travel from Delhi to Manali because of Delhi's connectivity to the rest of the country via buses. It takes about 12 hours and is mostly a night journey. In Delhi, most buses are available from Majnu ka Tila, Paharganj, and Kashmere Gate.

Activities to Do:

Trekking: One of the most loved activities for mountain lovers is to trek different mountain ranges and routes. The town of Manali also known for Manali Trek has many tour guides and companies arranging treks to different routes and ranges thus making it convenient for everyone. You can also trek by yourself or with a group of friends by searching the route and its stay arrangements.

Photo of Best places to visit in Manali 4/5 by Andrew Paul

Here are some famous treks around Manali:

1) Hampta Pass with Chandratal Lake Trek

Duration: 5 Days

Starting Point: Manali

Grade: Easy to moderate

2) Beas Kund Trek

Duration: 3 days

Starting Point: Solang Valley

Grade: Moderate

3) Pin Parvati Trek

Duration: 10 days

Starting Point: Rumsu Village

Grade: Difficult

4) Bhrigu Lake Trek

Duration: 4 days

Starting Point: Manali

Grade: Easy to Moderate

5) Deo Tibba Base Camp

Duration: 6 days

Starting Point: Rumsu Village

Grade: Moderate

6) Sar Pass Trek

Duration: 6 days

Starting Point: Kasol

Grade: Moderate

7) Great Himalayan National Park Trek

Duration: 3 days

Starting Point: Kasol

Grade: Easy

8) Chandrakhani Pass Trek

Duration: 4 days

Starting Point: Rumsu Village

Grade: Easy

Paragliding: Paragliding is one of the major tourist attractions that attracts adventure lovers every year to Manali. Other than being a famed paragliding spot it also has a paragliders training school. In all there are around 5 spots for paragliding near Manali:

1) Solang Valley: The most famous spot for first-timers and tourists this spot is very famous for paragliding and is preferred since it is only 25 km away from Manali.

2) Fatru: A sight to behold this off-beat spot is for people having a little experience and has some amazing mountain ranges and peaks insight.

3) Bijli Mahadev: A famous trekking destination located in the Kullu Valley this place is a paradise for nature lovers and people wishing for a less crowded paragliding destination with clear skies.

4) Kangra Valley: Bir, a famous paragliding town located at approx 3 hours away from Manali is famous for its paragliding. It offers some spectacular views of the Kangra Valley.

5) Marhi: A hidden secret by experienced paragliders this small town in the Dhauladar range is another amazing spot for paragliding and is gaining quite a momentum in recent times.

River Rafting: One of the most popular adventure activities in Himachal Pradesh, river rafting in Manali is done in the Beas river in its stretch from Manaki to Jhiri in a 14km stretch. The waters of River Beas are ideal for the beginner as well as expert rafters. Rafting mainly starts at 10 am depending on the influx of tourists. The rafting duration is of around one and a half hours and comprises easy and moderate rapids. There are a lot of agencies that take tourists for River Rafting and can be booked at Mall Road. The Manali Tourism also promotes River Rafting and can be booked via them as well.

Photo of Best places to visit in Manali 5/5 by Andrew Paul

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