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18 Best Places to Visit in Manali

 
  • Himachal Pradesh, the northern frontier of India, has some of the most astounding hil stations and Manali certainly takes the top drawer with its dazzling glades, snow clad peaks and gorgeous and green valleys. 

    This enchanting slope station sits cheerfully on the banks of the Beas River and has always been a most loved getaway amongst hikers and tourists alike who are constantly on the lookout for choices for adventures in Manali. 

    While it shouts out to the adventure lovers with tall and towering mountains that coax trekking, climbing, mountain biking, paragliding and skiing; it allures the laid-back tourists with its quiet, laid-back and happy vibe. Being arranged enroute to Spiti and Ladakh, it is a most popular stopover for explorers trying to go further north.

    Be that as it may, like every, Manali has always seen a convergence of tourists young and old alike who flock to the places to visit in Manali to experience calmness, solitude and beauty at its best. These are a mixture of natural landscapes, historical monuments as well as beautiful man made marvels of the modern world.

    Here are  some of the best places to visit in Manali:

  • 01Hadimba Temple Manali

    Hadimba Temple Manali
    Image Credit : wikipedia

    A temple dedicated to the mythical demon goddess Hidimba, the wife of Bhima from the Mahabharata, this temple is amongst the top draws for tourists in Manali. The temple was constructed in 1553 and is one of the most famous places to visit in Manali. 

    The wood and stone work is reminiscent of the Japanese pagodas as well as the Indian style of temple architecture.The most beautiful facet of this temple is that it is covered by Cedar forests at its foothills and is built on a large rock top that juts out through the ground.

    The temple has stunningly carved wooden doors and 24 metres tall shikhar at its height. The temple also has a sinister past though, as it is believed that in the past, religious practitioners would tie the hands of sinners by the rope and swing them against the rock. About seventy metres away from the temple lies another monument, which is built in honour of the child of Bhima and Hadimba, Ghatotkacha

    Timing: 08:00 Am to 07:00 PM.

    Entry Fee: None

    Photography Allowed or not: Yes

  • 02Vashisht Hot Water Springs & Temple

    Vashisht Hot Water Springs & Temple
    Image Credit : wikipedia

    About 3km from Manali is a beautiful natural wonder called Vashisht hot water springs, these are sulphur springs which spout hot water all year long and are said to have medicinal properties. It is believed that the water can cure a number of skin infection and diseases including eczema, psoriasis and others. Of course, you need not be worried for safety as there are separate baths for both men and women. Well decorated, they are fitted with Turkish style showers so that you can regulate the flow of hot and cold water.

     There are also a number of ancient temples in the vicinity which make it one of the must places to visit in Manali. Indulging in a dip with the gorgeous Himalayas on the backdrop is surely an unforgettable experience.

    Timing: 07:00 AM to 01:00 PM and 02:00PM to 10:00 PM

    Entry Fee: No   

    Photography allowed: Yes

  • 03Old Manali

    Old Manali
    Image Credit : wikipedia

    If you want to see the other side of Manali and the touristy town, just take a walk across the Manalsu River bridge and cross over into the part of Manali that is also known as ‘Old Manali’. The exotic charm of the village will make you feel like you have walked into a whole other world. The town has somehow carved out a niche of its own and managed to retain the old world charm, where you have the characteristic world traveller, hippie vibe in its midst, it also has the traditions of the relics of the older civilizations. 

    The idyllic village setting will make you feel like you have walked into the happy and hippie 1960s! The pathways are lined with swaying Eucalyptus trees and the small roads pas through valleys that are abundant with greenery. The calmness of the surroundings is broken only by the twittering of birds and the gush of the River Kullu.

    Attractions: Apart from the sheer mountain beauty, there are a number of places to visit in Manali old town. The most peculiar and must visit amongst them being the quaint eateries like Lazy Dog, Red House Café, Bob Dylan’s Café, Café m 1947 and Pizza Olive. All of these serve awesome world cuisines like Pasta, Burgers and mouthwatering Pizzas

  • 04The Castle Manali

    The Castle Manali
    Image Credit : wikipedia

    Situated in the Naggar town amidst stunning hills, the Naggar castle is one of its most enduring monuments. Constructed of stone and wood, it as a beautiful combination of Indian and western sensibilities of architecture.  The palace that once served as a residence to Raja Sidh Singh Kullu, ahas since served the purposes of being a rest house and is now heritage hotel that is managed by the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation. Replete with cozy fireplaces, swirling staircases and captivating stone and wood work that graces the outer façade. 

    Inside, you can even appreciate the magnificent art of Roerich- the famous Russian painter who came to Manali. If you want to take back some souvenirs, you can fill up your bag with wall hangings, coasters, as well as the Roerich paintings. The castle provides awe inspiring views of the Kullu Valley and rests in peaceful reverie as the holy river of Beas flows merrily by.

    Timing: 07:00 AM to 10:00 PM on all days.

    Entry Fee: 15 INR Per Person

    Photography Allowed: Yes

  • 05Van Vihar National Park

    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!

    Timing:

    08:00 am – 07:00 pm (summer)

    08:00 am – 05:00 pm (winter)

    Entry Fee: 10 INR per Person

    Photography Allowed: Yes

  • 06Rahalla Falls

    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

  • 07Pandoh Dam

    Pandoh Dam
    Image Credit : wikipedia

    About 6km from the town of Pandoh is the stunning sight of the Pandoh Dam which provides a sight for the sore eyes. This is one of the best places to visit in Manali if you are looking to spend time in a virgin, unexplored place.  The dam is built over the Beas River and lies in the Mandi  district of Himachal Pradesh. It is a part of the hydroelectric energy generation project of India. 

    The dam is surrounded by tall pine trees and the verdant green hills of the Himalayas. Although swimming and water activities are banned in the catchment areas, you can still enjoy the greenery and scenic beauty around the dam. The dam can be easily reached by road as a rough road leads right up to the dam. However, prior permission from authorities is required to visit the dam.

     The place is ideal for weekend treks, picnics, and a day outing. There is also a small island in the middle of the lake which is perfect for just relaxing with the sight of cool water all around you! The dam is especially suited for the click happy photo lovers out there who want to catch a sight of nature in all its glory. The sight of the blue and green water reservoir surely makes up for some great shots.

    Timing: 06:00 AM to 06:00 PM

    Entry Fee: None

    Photography Allowed: Yes

  • 08The Manali Gompa

    Also known as Gadhan Thekchholing Gompa, the Manali Gompa was built by Tibetan refugees way back in the 1960s. This is one of the most renowned places to visit in Manali and lends visitors with and incomparable feeling of peace and solitude. Although small in size, it is blessed with spiritual energy that exudes out of it and lends an unmistakable aura of godliness. No wonder then it is one of the top draws for tourists all over the world to seek blessings at. 

    The architecture is in a distinctive pagoda style and the exteriors are decorated with paintings and murals that best describe the culture and philosophies of Buddhism. The main theme that shines forth amongst all of these is the Buddhist philosophy of non-violence. The paintings inside the temple depict the ‘Kaal Chakra’ or the flow of events in the life of Buddha.Well inside the complex, you can also pick up a few Tibetan handicrafts and take them back home as memorable souvenirs to remember this wonderful place.

    Timing: 07:00 AM to 07:00 PM

    Entry Fee: None

    Photography Allowed: Yes

  • 09Cafe 1947

    Cafe 1947

    One of the oldest and best known cafes in Old Manali, Café 1947 was its first music café. Resting easily on the banks of the gushing waters of Manalsu River, it is a quaint albeit a highly recommended and a beautiful place to satisfy your taste buds. 

    On any given day, it is not uncommon to see a live music jam happening at one of the booths at the same time as the patrons enjoy the delicious servings of world, Indian and European cuisine. Get your favorite book and relish the stories with some ginger or lemon tea in your hands. The café also hosts quite a few live gigs at regular intervals.

    Timing:

     Wednesday - 7 PM - 12 AM

    Thursday - Tuesday 11 AM - 12 AM

    Speciality:

    -Burger of Bodom

    -Vegeta

    -Dimebag (the burgers)

    -UFO

    -Slayer (the pizzas)

    -Metallica (the pasta)

    -Rambo
  • 10Beas River

    Beas River
    Image Credit : wikipedia

    The Beas river which is also known as Vipasha in Sanskrit, is one of the most important and holy rivers that flows through the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. Carrying with it years of history, legends and folklore, it is one of the longest rivers in the northern provinces of India flowing for a total of 470km in its entire course and length.  

    At Manali, the river passes through dense, evergreen forests of pine, deodar and birch as well snowy mountains of the lower Himalayas. It is a water body that flows all year round and provides drinking and usable water to residents of Kullu and Manali. It attracts tourists, adventurists and pilgrims from all over the world to its awe inspiring flows and provides a stunning backdrop for all your Himalayan adventures.

    Activities:

    -Rafting

    -Biking

    -Skiing at Rohtang Pass

    -Cycling

    -Trekking

  • 11Jogni Waterfalls

    Jogni Waterfalls
    Image Credit : i.ytimg.com

    If you are looking to embark on a trek to one of the most remote and untouched places to visit in Manali, then Jogni also called as Jugni Waterfalls is the best place to be. Located at an easy distance of about 3km from the main market of Manali, it can be reached directly by a vehicle. As soon as you park at the base of the falls, you will see the beautiful natural scenery that encircles the entire falls area. 

    The trek route passes through narrow paths and is breathtakingly beautiful as it traverses orchards, pine forests and several small streams. Al through the way, you can see the peaks at Rohtang Pass and the gush of the Beas River flowing by. The trek to the top of the waterfall lasts for about 20 minutes and will expose you to some of the most serene beauties of nature. Try to make it in the afternoon when the sunlight catches droplets of the waterfall.

    Timing:  Always

    Entry Fee: None

    Photography Allowed:Yes

  • 12Manali Winter Carnival

    Manali Winter Carnival

    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           

    Activities:

    -Folk Dances

    -Music

    -Bazaars

  • Places to Visit Near Manali:

  • 13Solang Valley

    Solang Valley
    Image Credit : flickr

    If you are done with roaming around the common Manali tourist places, the head out to Solang Valley. Laying between Solang Village and Beas Kund, Solang Valley derives its name from to separate words namely, Solang (the village nearby) and Nullah (Water Stream). A beautiful valley situated at a distance of about 13km from Manali, it is best known for its awe inspiring views and stunning natural escapades.

     From Solang Nullah, once can get a majestic view of the glaciers, the snowcapped peaks near the Rohtang Pass and vast plains of snow and ice. The elevation of Solang Nullah is such that it offers a perfect place to play in the snow and go skiing on the slopes. The guest house of Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali is also situated here. 

    The institute organized winter skiing festival each year and opens up classes and workshops for tourists and travellers as well. You can feel like a child once again as you slip, slide and play in the snow! As the summer sets in, the area becomes a hub for adventurists seeking various activities such as parachuting, zorbing, paragliding and horse riding. The area also has a number of trekking and camping options making it a favorite amongst adventurers and thrill seekers.

    Distance from Manali: 13Km

    How to get there: By Road via the Leh- Manali highway on the route that passes through Vashisht.

    Best time to Visit: December to May

    Attractions/Activities:

    -Skiing

    -Snow Play

    -Zorbing

    -Parachuting

    -Biking

    -Paragliding

    -Horse Riding

    Type of destination: Adventure

     

  • 14Arjun Gufa (Arjun Cave)

    About 5km from Manali, as you take the road that goes towards Naggar, you will arrive at this destination which is known as Arjun Gunfa. One of the offbeat places to visit in Manali, it is replete with thousands of years’ worth of legends, folklore and tales. The caves are situated on the left banks of the Beas River in a village called Prini. Legend has it that Arjuna from the epic of Mahabharata actually performed his penance here in order to attain greater dexterity to handle a weapon called Pashupati Astra.

     Religious beliefs notwithstanding, people from all over the world visit this captivating site in order to see its natural rock formations and beauty. Close to the Arjun Gunfa, you can also take an excursion up to visit the Kunt Bhayo Lake and the Kunto Matha Temple, each of which is beautiful in its own right. The caves offer uncharacteristic calmness, serenity and solitude away from the crowds at Manali. However, it is advised that you visit the caves under appropriate light conditions in the broad daylight.

    Timing: Open all day

    Entry Fee: None

    Photography Allowed: Yes

  • 15Rohtang Pass

    Rohtang Pass
    Image Credit : wikipedia

    The postern to Lahaul and Spiti Valley in the state of Himachal Pradesh, Rohtang Pass is one of the most exciting Manali tourist places. Located at a distance of 51km from the town of Manali, it falls on the Manali- Keylong Highway and is one of the highest and most spectacular passes in the region. 

    The pass acts as a natural divide between the valleys of Kullu and mountains of Lahaul and Spiti creating a beautiful amalgamation of Hindu and Buddhist cultures. The slope attracts people from all over the region to appreciate its beautiful views and fresh snow! However, be warned that to visit this pass one needs permission from the Indian Army that clears the snow in order for the vehicles to pass smoothly. 

    There are a number of adventure sports that can keep you interested such as skiing, skating, paragliding, snow scooter, and more. A little ahead of the Rohtang Pass is the Sonapani Glacier and the twin peaks of Gaypan, which are known for their sweeping views of the entire Kullu valley. The place is best visited during the months of summer as during the winter the entire area is covered under a thick blanket of snow and ice. 

    However, the pass does have a sinister history as the name itself translates to mean ‘The ground of Corpses’ referring to the number of people who have lost their lives making their way up this tricky but beautiful mountain range. So, be warned not to take risks and to listen to safety instruction or read up on them before you visit the pass.

    Distance from Manali: 51 Kms

    How to get there: Follow the Manali to Keylong highway by bus or car

    Best time to Visit: April to May

    Attractions/Activities:

    -Skiing      

    -Ice-skating

    -Paragliding

    -Snow Biking

    Type of destination: Historic and adventure

  • 16Bhrigu Lake

    Bhrigu Lake
    Image Credit : wikipedia

    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 

    Attractions/Activities: Trekking

    Type of destination:  Trekking and religious

  • 17Malana

    Malana
    Image Credit : Flickr

    An ancient village lying to the north east of the Kullu valley, Malana has always intrigued visitors from all over the world to explore its unique culture and get to know more about its lifestyle and is a common destination on places to see in Manali and around. Isolated from the outside world in the truest sense of the word, it is a place that has retained ancient values and is one of the oldest democracies in the world.

     Unperturbed by the evils of modern day, the people of Malana are the ones who guard their cultural with a ferocity that has earned them quite a reputation. The village has its own parliamentary system and has been following its own governance structures independent of the rest of the country. Laying in the shadow of Deotibba and Chanderkhaini peaks, it is surely a place that is abundant with natural beauty. 

    The most interesting fact about the village is that it is an economy that rests almost exclusively on the production and selling of ‘Malana Cream’ a strain of cannabis that is unique and rumored to be the purest ever! The gushes of the Malana River flow by the village, lending it an almost unearthly, ethereal beauty. 

    However, be warned that the villagers are known to be wary of outsiders and do not appreciate or approve of any physical contact or even a conversation in their local language, ‘Kinashi’. The residents are believed to be the direct lineage of Alexander the Great that lends them their unique features and an aura of touch me not purity!

    Distance from Manali: 83Kms

    How to get there: Follow the NH21 till Naggar and then take the Manikaran Road from Bhuntar. Most state transport buses do ply on this route but one has to trek for a couple of hours to actually reach the Malana village.

    Best time to Visit: March to October

    Attractions/Activities: Trekking

    Type of destination: Trekking and Backpacking

  • 18Kasol

    Kasol
    Image Credit : wikipedia

    Sitting quietly in the Parvati valley between the hill stations of Bhuntar and Manikaran, Kasol is an ideal getaway that provides stunning views of the Himalayan peaks. Easily reached by road from the town of Manali, it attracts visitors from world over to appreciate its distinct, untouched beauty once they are done with the clamour of places to see in Manali. 

    The quiet surroundings, low population and a relatively moderate climate throughout the year, bring backpackers to Kasol year after year. The hippie vibe of the village is so strong that there are tiny settlements which welcome backpackers to set up camps here, any time of the year. It is also the start point of various treks such as Sarpass, Pin Parvati and Khirganga. The pretty coniferous forests, cheerful, happy streams and a happy cultural vibe, all of them contribute to making Kasol a top draw for tourists all over the world!

    Distance from Manali: 75km

    Best time to visit: October to June

    Attractions: Quiet and serene Valleys

    Activities: Trekking, Nature Walks, Culture