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Rohtang Pass is quite famous among Ladakh travelers but the unpredictable avalanche and severe climatic conditions make it scary some times. Nonetheless, it had made adventure seekers’ tour of Ladakh mind-blowing. A high mountain pass at an elevation of 3978 meters above the sea level, Rohtang is just 51 km from Manali. It is a part of the proud Pir Panjal Range of the mighty Himalayas.
It acts as the connecting link between Kullu Valley and Lahaul and Spiti Valley. Being an ancient trade route, it was well maintained by the natives. The generic name of the pass suggests that either the pass was the oldest and the most used pass. With the increase of visitors every year, the fragile mountain ecology will be in threat, environmentalists worry.
But the exciting beauty of the mountain terrains seen from the top of the pass is indescribable and flamboyant. The Indian Government started building a tunnel which is 8.5 km long to bypass Rohtang pass in order to reduce the travel time and distance to Keylong, Lahaul and Spiti and Leh.
The tunnel promises to reduce the distance by 50 km and the time by five hours between the south and north faces of Rohtang pass. Currently, the time taken to ascend and descend the pass itself is 5-6 hours.
Height: Rohtang Pass is located at an altitude of 3978 meters above the sea level in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas.
Location: The pass is located about 51 kms away from Manali and you can reach the pass if you take Leh- Manali Highway.
Best time to visit: The pass will be open from the months of May to October as the snow starts melting and the paths will be cleared.
A quintessential location and a high altitude roadside bar is Zingzing situated on the road from Manali to Leh. Travelers come here to refresh with a sip of coffee or to have food to energize the body and soul to resume their journey to Leh. The multi-purpose shacks can be availed to stay overnight as well.
A space where you will love to roll a joint and smoke it up to escape from the extreme cold. Located at an altitude of 4270 meters above the sea level, the place is recognized to be the most suitable one to take rest. Peaceful ambience and the silence prevailing would leave everyone addicted to it.
The fame of ZIngzing Bar was enhanced because of Baralacha La pass also; the starting point of Baralacha La, one of the most loved passes in Ladakh is Zingzing Bar. Thus it cannot be missed during one’s journey to Leh. The temperature level at the bar will be crazily as low as -2* Celsius and as you ascend from a different temperature from the base, chances to feel altitude sickness and fluctuations in the body are quite higher.
Height: The highest roadside bar in the world is located at an elevation of 4270 meters above the sea level before the steep Baralacha La roads starts.
Location: From Manali, Zingzing Bar is situated at a distance of 193 kms and a drive of about 3 hours will take you to the bar and from Leh it is about 337 kms away.
Best time to visit: Zingzing Bar is found the most scenic during the months of December, January and February when the winter hits at its peak. For those who are searching for peace over a joint, Zingzing bar during winter would be the best option.
A story says like this; there were two lovers in mythology, Chandra and Bhaga, one is the daughter of the Moon and the other one is the son of Sun God, respectively. To do their marriage, both of them climbed to the Baralacha La and from there, they started running in opposite directions.
Both of them found Tandi as their meeting point and thus their marriage became eternal. The factor made their love shine is Baralacha La pass, a high mountain pass in Zanskar Range that connects Lahaul in Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir.
In ancient times, Baralacha La was considered to be the main trade route. Near the pass, there is this emerald like the lake, the Suraj Tal which is the source of Bhaga River. The pass is situated at an altitude of 16040 feet and on this plateau, the famous mountain ranges such as Pir Panjal, Zanskar and the Great Himalayas come together to meet.
One who wishes to go to Leh through Leh-Manali highway has to cross this pass which hides plenty of adventure and thrill in it.
Height: Baralacha La is the most important pass as Khardung La and it is situated at an altitude of 16040 feet above the sea level.
Location: Baralacha La is located 73 kms away from Keylong on Manali-Leh road.
Best time to visit: The months of April to October are the best months to visit Baralacha La pass as the roads will be open because the snow melts. If you are going from Manali to Leh, then it is advisable that cross the pass before noon due to the melting of snow and creation of streams on the road
As a part of the adventure itineraries travelers follow on their tour of Ladakh, they will choose to halt in Jispa, a mesmerizing village 20 km north of Keylong and 7 km south of Darcha along the most explored Leh-Manali Highway and on the banks of Bhaga River. At a height of 3200 meters, Jipsa is located and it is the major village in Lahaul district.
In the backdrop, the lofty Himalayan Mountains create alluring images. There are 78 households in the village and the population is calculated as 332 including 235 males and 97 females. Travelers take a stopover here to stay one night during their travel to Leh. There are camping grounds and many other stay options. The village is occupied with a helipad, post office and a monastery.
The small houses shimmering in the multiple colours of nature would leave everyone stunned. Jispa is simply adorned by the rugged mountain terrains in the background and the village seems so small when you see it from a distance as the towering Himalayas play the dominant role.
Height: Jispa is located at an altitude of 3200 meters above sea level.
Location: Jispa Village is a main stop for Leh travelers and it is located 120 kms away from Manali. Keylong is in the north of Jispa about 20 km away and Darch is in the south about 7 km away. You can come to Jispa if you take the Manali-Leh Highway. The nearest airport to Jispa is Kullu that is situated at a distance of 180 kms.
Best time to visit: The peak tourist season is starting in May and continues till October. After that, the roads will be covered by heavy snowflakes.
Darcha is a recurring name when you pack your bags for Padum trek as it is the base camp for the moderate yet adventurous trek in the Lahaul region. Darcha is a small village on the bank of Bhaga River in Lahaul in Spiti Lahaul District in Himachal Pradesh situated at an elevation of 3360 meters. In the northernmost part of Himachal Pradesh along the Leh-Manali Highway is Darcha, a secluded permanent settlement.
Many have described the village as a “lonely cluster of dry stone huts and dingy tent camps”. The total population of the village is 298 among which 152 are men and 146 are women. Travelers going to Leh from Manali take an overnight stay at Darchu. The river nearby causes nature to be soft and calm especially at night so that the travelers would find better sleep during their tiresome journey.
The popular Padum trek ends at Darcha and there are many stalls and shops on the street to just relax and have food. The village is surrounded by Naggar Tehsil, Spiti Tehsil, Bharmour Teshil. The nearby cities to the village are Keylong, Dharamshala, Mandi, and Chamba. There is a check-point set up by the police to check the passport of all passing people and vehicles.
Height: Sarchu is located at an elevation of 3360 meters above sea level.
Location: Darch is on the border of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. The nearest railway station is Shimla Railway station only that is 174 km away. Buses and jeeps would be available in plenty to reach Darcha.
Best time to go: Anytime is suitable to visit Darcha but during winter the cold climatic conditions may pose difficulty to stay there.
Located atop the Kullu Valley, the Solang Valley is ideal for adventure sports such as parachuting, skating, zorbing and paragliding. The slopes of this valley also provide ski lovers an ideal destination to enjoy this activity on a trip to Manali. During the summer months, the snow on these slopes evaporates, resulting in ideal ground for zorbing, where a person hurls down a slope in an indestructible bouncy ball.
Solang Valley is definitely a playground for people looking to lose themselves in an assortment of exciting activities. Be it a honeymoon vacation or a family outing, a thrilling and engaging experience is guaranteed.
Also known as the ‘Pool of Gods’, Bhrigu Lake is a majestic an picturesque water body that is located at a distance of about 43km from the town of Manali. Each year, the lake attracts thousands of trekkers and visitors who come here to appreciate the serene, crystal clear blue pools of the lake as a part of their itinerary to visit Manali tourist places.
Rising to a height of about 14,100ft it is located on the eastern courses of the Rohtang Pass. One of the many glacial lakes of the Kullu Valley, it makes up for being a perfect weekend outing on your next trip to Manali.
The lake is bordered by snowy peaks of the Himalayas on all sides and is a moderate to difficult trekking escapade. Also nearby is the Nehru Kund, which is a natural water spring that is fed by the waters of the Bhrigu Lake and is truly picturesque.
The trekking route to Bhrigu Lake starts either at
the village of Gulaba or Vasishth Temple, either ways it perches you up at a
height of almost 14000ft right on the second day, making it one of the most
captivating treks of the Pir Panjal Ranges.
Locals of the village believe that this lake has been blessed by the
sages and Gods which is why, it never freezes over completely even in the times
of harsh winters.
Distance from Manali: 18 Kms
How to get there: Follow the Kullu-Naggar-Manali Road through the village of Gulaba
Best time to Visit: May to June
Type of destination: Trekking and religious
Built in 1460 AD, the Naggar Castle has a unique architecture that comprises of stones and wood. About a century ago, this castle of Raja Sidh Singh of Kullu was converted into a rest house, and presently it is being taken care by the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation.
In its rechristened avatar, the castle is now The Castle Heritage Hotel. Naggar Castle came into the limelight after a bollywood movie was shot here. A grand Tibetan carnival dance was shot here and hence this castle grew in touristic prominence.
One of the most
frequent places to visit in Manali, the Van Vihar National Park attracts
visitors mainly because of its ideal location, which is bang on the Mall road
in Manali. The park is a welcome respite from the crowds and the pollution with
its tall and shady groves of Deodar, birch and pine. There are a number of
wooden and concrete benches within the park, which provide rest, relaxation and
recreation to its visitors.
Take off your shoes and take a leisurely walk across the garden paths of this wonderful haven of nature. You could also have fun cruising around in a boat that sails in the small pond within the vicinity of this park. Set amidst beautiful and verdant environs, the park is a perfect respite for anyone who chooses to visit it and makes up for a great place for a spontaneous picnic or simply a long walk!
08:00 am – 07:00 pm (summer)
08:00 am – 05:00 pm (winter)
Entry Fee: 10 INR per Person
Photography Allowed: Yes
Cascading from a height of 8,500ft, the Rahalla or Rehala Falls as they are called as one of the most stunning natural places to visit in Manali. They are located at a distance of 16km from the town on the way to the Rohtang Pass and are must stop over on your way to visit this haven of snow. The falls are formed by glaciers as they melt on their way down from the mountains. It is one of the best places to enjoy photography or just sit peacefully by and admire the natural beauty.
The more adventurous can go trekking up the mountains behind the waterfall
cascades. The waterfalls are set amidst dense thickets of Deodar, birch and
pine trees, making it one of the stunning places for photography. The sight of
the place and the gentle rhythm of the falls gives instant peace and harmony to
anybody who chooses to visit it.
Timing: The waterfalls are best visited in the months of March and November
Entry Fee: None
Photography Allowed: Yes
Each time around the dawn of New Year, Himachal Pradesh gets ready to welcome the oncoming year with aplomb and festivities and makes up for one of the most exciting Manali tourist places. The festival is called Himachal Winter Carnival and it is surely one of the most unique and exciting cultural experiences.
The tradition of celebrating the festival goes way back to 1977, and over the passing years the festival has assumed a bigger and more glorious role and look. The Himachal Winter Carnival, that once promoted the culture of the hills with folk dances and music; has now become varied as other activities like Bazaar, Street plays, band competitions and food festivals have been added.
Usually celebrated on the mall road, which is one of the busiest areas of Manali, it is surely a festival that cannot be missed. You will get to see colourful dancers, upbeat music of the hills, yummy food and most of all get to know what the pulse of the people of Manali really is!
Ideal dates to travel: Jan 02 - Jan 06, 2016
Attractions: Cultural extravaganza
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