Manali, 'India's valley of Gods', is an important hill station in the Himalayan Mountains of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Near the northern end of the Kullu Valley, Manali is an awe-inspiring with spectacular views of snow coated peaks and wooded gorges. The rich and healthy environment offers marvelous walks, fruit orchards and mesmerizing forest of pines and deodars.
Yes, it’s set amid dense pine forests and shadowed by snowy peaks, but Manali’s reputation as a spectacular Himalayan resort is much exaggerated. The primary reason to be here is to set off for Leh in Ladakh, a 2-day drive away, or to participate in the many treks or adventure sports, including heli-skiing. Manali comprises several neighborhoods, each with a distinct personality. North of the Manalsu Nala River is Old Manali, with its historic stone buildings; to the west is the pleasant village of Dhungri; while messy Model Town is a motley collection of concrete buildings tucked behind the main bazaar area, concentrated around The Mall. East of the Beas River, a few kilometers north of Manali is Vashisht, a village known for its hot springs and laid-back atmosphere. Unfortunately, Vashisht has lost much of its charm thanks to an influx of long-stay budget tourists; a dunk in the communal hot-water bath of the local temple is hardly reason enough to visit. The most peaceful area is Dhungri Village (around 2km/11⁄4 miles from the bazaar), where you can stroll through deodar forests or visit a 450-year-old temple where animal sacrifice is still practiced. On the outskirts of the neighborhood, the multi-tiered wooden pagoda-style Hadimba Devi Temple , built in 1553, is Manali’s oldest and most interesting shrine, dedicated to the demon goddess Hadimba (an incarnation of Kali). Look around for the sheltered sacrificial stone used for blood rituals during important ceremonies; the central hollow is where the blood from a slain buffalo or goat drains into Hadimba’s mouth. Another good walk takes you through Old Manali (center of cheap backpackers’ accommodations), the temple dedicated to Manu, and beyond to silent hillside paths where you’ll encounter village women passing the day over idle gossip while their men unhurriedly herd goats and cows toward greener pastures at higher altitudes. Most visitors pay a visit to Manali’s two rather modern Buddhist gompas in the town’s Tibetan quarter south of the bazaar. Gadhan Thekchhokling gompa was built in 1969, and is recognizable by its yellow, pagoda-style roof; memorial notices outside draw attention to the extermination of Tibetans in China.
Just 24km (15 miles) short of Manali is Naggar, which like Manali is slowly being wrecked by unchecked construction and tourism. Visit the Nicholas Roerich Museum ([tel 01902/24-8290 or -8590; Tues–Sun 10am–1pm and 2–6pm), where the famous Russian artist lived from 1923 until he died in 1947. In this small but well-maintained museum, paintings and books by the prolific artist and philosopher are on display. In this stunning location, it’s easy to see why Roerich and his wife, Helena, were so inspired by their surroundings, though the same cannot be said of his artwork. Also part of the estate is the Urusvati Himalayan Folk Art Museum (Tues–Sun 10am–6pm), created for the preservation of folk art and craft.
Manali literally means the 'Home of Manu'. Manu is the mythological character who is supposed to have survived when the world was drowned n a flood. Manali is an ancient town in the lap of Kullu district. Encompassed by towering peaks at arm length, Manali's major asset is its proximity to the snowline. The Hadimba Temple, also known as the Dhungri Temple is devoted to Hadimba, the wife of Bhima. Opposite to the Hadimba Temple is the Himachal Culture & Folk Art Museum, which is worth a visit as it has an interesting collection of religious relics, household objects, instruments and weapons. The natural beauty of the hill resort gets greatly magnified by the presence of the Beas River. The wild flowers, hamlets and fruit-laden orchards seen on the banks of the river lend it a magnificent look. With a lavish display of virgin natural beauty, Manali is not surprisingly a much favored honeymoon destination. Its flourishing orchard industry is worth a visit. Manali has ample scopes for trekking and deservingly, it draws a significant number of adventure sports lovers.
Manali is located at 32.16°N and 77.10°E. It is situated at an altitude of 1,926m and is spread over an area of 12.5 sq.km.
The climate of Manali is very cold as it situated in the Himalayas. During summer season, the maximum temperature is around 25°C and minimum about 12°C. Winters are too cold with maximum temperature upto 14°C and minimum dipping to -2°C with heavy snowfall. During the monsoon months, there is heavy rainfall and landslides, which hamper the movement.
Manali derived its name from 'Manavalaya', meaning the abode of Mau or the "Home of Manu". According to the Hind mythology, Manali was the home of the lawgiver, Manu. Legend has it that when a flood deluged the earth, Manu and the gods were towed to dry ground by a giant fish, which was the seventh avatar of the Lord Vishnu. The area where Manu eventually found refuge was Manali.
Whether that's actually how it happened or not, Manali remained a fairly quiet place, more or less unknown to the outside world, till recently, during the 20th century, the British started to frequent the town its climate and natural beauty. Manali gradually began to acquire the reputation of a tourist destination. This reputation got a bit tarnished during the 1970s and 80s, however, mainly because of the discovery that marijuana grown around the town was particularly good.
Manali Tourism Information
Rohtang Pass is about 51km from Manali. This pass ones served as a crucial trade route, and still remains the gateway to the districts of Lahaul and Spiti. It is at an altitude of about 4,111m. Here one can admire the majesty of the mountains. There is the beautiful Dashohar Lake located towards the left of the pass.
The Dhungri or Hadimba temple is a four storey wooden building in the middle of a lovely forested parkland, known as the Dhungri Van Vihar. Erected in 1553, the temple is dedicated to Goddess Hadimba and the features intricate wooden carvings of dancers and characters from various Hindu stories.
Some of Himachal Pradesh's best skiing slopes are at Solang Nullah, about 13 km north-west of Manali. February and March are the best months to ski. The area is very pretty in spring and summer, and offers great hikes.
The famous Beas Kund, the source of the Beas River, at the Rohtang Pass is easily accessible. The great Vyas Rishi performed tapa here during the Mahabharata period. The place is still hallowed by the celestial light. It was because of this that the river got the present name of Beas.
Jagatsukh is on the left bank of the Beas and the road from Naggar to Manali runs through the village. Jagatsukh is 6km away from Manali. The place is famous for very old temples, in the village, particularly the Shiva Temple in Shikhara style and nearby old and interesting Devi Sharvali temple.
Angling, ballooning, jeep safaris, mountain biking, rafting, rock climbing, skiing & snowboarding, trekking, zorging, horse riding, paragliding and mountaineering.
Though almost all the festivals are celebrated with zest and devotion, Dussehra gets special attention all over the valley. The festival is celebrated in the month of October during the autumn season when the rest of the country celebrates Durga Puja and Vijayadashami. The celebration goes on for a few days when all the people of the Kullu valley take part enthusiastically.
Hadimba Devi Fair
The Hadimba Devi fair is another important event in this place and a rather big fair is organized in the Hadimba Devi temple complex. People from in and around the countryside come to visit this fair, which is held during the spring season when the valley is at its spectacular and colorful best.
Manali Distance Guide