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Manali- A Paradise In the laps of the Himalayas
With breathtaking views of the valleys and the majestic snow clad mountains, Manali is every nature lover’s paradise. It’s matchless charm and dramatic views make it seem like a page taken out of a fictional novel. While it is commonly known as one of the best honeymoon destinations, it is also home to numerous trekking trails making it a place that lures trekkers from around the globe. You would find a lot of backpackers and hippies in and about the place relaxing and distressing as well.
If you are an adventure enthusiast or admirer of nature, Manali has something for everyone. From trekking trails, paragliding, rafting to zip lines to ever inviting mountains and waterfalls it is a destination that needs to be visited at least once in a lifetime. Here are some must-visit places you need to visit while in Manali.
Hidimba Devi temple
It is an ancient four storied shine that is hidden amidst the Cedar forest in Dhungiri Van Vihar region. This temple was constructed in 1553, dedicated to goddess Hidimbi, who was the wife of Bheem, one of the Pandavas. While it is interesting to note that, unlike most of the temples, it does not have an idol. But it has a stone on which the footprint of the goddess is present.
Here you can take photographs with Yaks, Rabbits (they are huge and fluffy!) and also get dressed in the typical Manali attire, all for a nominal rate.
Where: 2.8 Km from the Manali Town
Timing: 08:00 AM to 06:00 PM
Vashisht temple and hot springs
You have to see it, to believe it; the sulfurous hot water springs comes across as a blessing especially in the winters. This miracle of nature is not only a sight to behold, but it has therapeutic qualities as well, due to their rich mineral content.
Hot water and with healing powers- What more could one ask for! It is like nature’s very own spa! There are Turkish-style thermal bath houses, where one can enjoy a bath. There are separate baths for both men and women, fitted with showers.
Where: 6 Km from Manali
Timing: 07:00 AM to 09:00 PM
The Manu temple is dedicated to an Indian sage called Manu, who is said to have created the human race on earth according to mythology. He is also the writer of the well known Manusmriti. The temple provides a view to the Beas river adding on to the charm. While visiting this temple, it is advised to wear clothing that covers the knee and the shoulders.
Where – 4km from the Manali town
Timing – 08:00 AM to 06:00 PM
The ever buzzing roads of Mall road will give you a high. The mall road is mostly crowded at all times of the day. There are numerous shops from where you can get your hands onto yak, rabbit and sheep wool. A must buy I should say!
There are a variety of eateries that you can indulge yourself. Chicken Tandoori and Afghani Chicken are a must try while you are here. You will also find people selling mini Gulab jamuns, that you should try. It will definitely make you crave for more!
Lugdi is a kind of crude beer made from fermented rice/barley, an alcoholic drink that you should give a try as well.
The panoramic view from Gulaba will make you pause and admire the beauty. It unbelievingly real, a ‘too good to be true’ sight. Gulaba is a sight to behold especially when it is snowing. The snow is fresher than the snow in Solang valley. While most of the tourists rush to the well known Solang Valley, Gulaba is a hidden gem. There are a lot fewer people, the snow is pristine and untouched, and a view to die for.
But make sure you head to Solang if you want to do activities like skiing, tube ride, and paragliding. Gulaba is more of a nature admirers dream.
Where – 14.2 Km from Manali
Shot while on the trek to Jogni falls
Jogini falls is natures well-kept secret. The trek to Jogni falls is one that will refresh all your senses. It is the beauty of the journey more than the destination. Not that Jogni falls won’t blow your mind, but views during the trek is simply stunning! Walking through the forest, with the view of the snow clad mountains, it is a one to behold.
Through the trek is a short one, make sure that you carry some water. You won’t find sellers selling anything there. It is as pristine as it can get.
Where – 4.7 Km from Manali
Hampta pass is picturesque. Snow clad mountains, fun activities, people renting out snowsuits and boots and you will find hot Maggi being sold. The snow here is comparatively fresh as well. You can have a swell time playing in the snow. The place is bound to bring out the child in you.
You also need to take a permit to go here. If you have hired a taxi, the driver can arrange it for you.
Where -15.2 Km from Manali
Nightlife in Manali
Old Manali is where you need to be to enjoy the nightlife. The place has numerous cafes that you need to visit the end of the day to rewind and relax. Most of the cafes are small compared to the ones in Delhi, but lively and cozy nevertheless. But make sure that you reach before 7:00 PM to get seats. There is live music in the weekdays in almost all the cafes. There are exceptions live Cafe Melange that have live music every night.
Here are my personal favorites-
- Cafe Melange
- Cafe 1947
- The Johnson’s cafe
- Lazy Dog
- Casa Blanca
Rockys is one cafe you should visit while the sun is still up. The view and the ambiance of the cafe makes it worth the visit.
Where to stay
There are a lot of places to stay from budget-friendly motels, hostels to 5-star hotels. You should definitely give Zostel a try once though. Meet new people, make new friends and have a delightful stay.
Manali is also home to the 4,000m-high Rohtang Pass. But Rohtang pass remains closed during some months. You need to check beforehand before you take the drive. If you have more days to spare, make sure that you go to Jalori Pass. It comes on the way while traveling from Delhi to Manali and vice versa. Most of the buses stop at Auli, from where you can take a local bus or hire a taxi. While Manali has turned into a township, Jhalori is still comparatively untouched by tourists.
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