Together with its sister town Kullu, Manali is one of the best, if not the best, hill stations in India. Nestled between the mountain ranges of the Himalayas, the town attracts tourists with its spectacular beauty and thrilling adventure activities. Tall oak, deodar, and other coniferous trees adorn the slopes. Apple, plum, and pear orchards that are usually found in the European landscape grow abundantly here. The comfortable weather of Manali is another factor that lures travelers. Hence people from all parts of the world love to visit this tourist spot.
Manali is a destination that receives tourists almost all year-round. The winter brings with it the beautiful view of snowfall. The landscape becomes covered with glistening snow and nature assumes an air of purity. Many activities like skiing, snowboarding, and so on are arranged to welcome tourists during the season. The summer brings with the breathtaking colors that convert the place into a paradise. The greenery which fills the valley and the snow-clad peaks in the background adds to the picturesque beauty of the place. The most difficult part of the tour to Manali is choosing the season as whichever one you choose, you cannot stop thinking of the one that you have missed.
Manali owes to the ancient king Manu for its name. The legendary sage is believed to be the author of Manusmrithi – the legal text of the Hindu religion. The story says that after the flood that destroyed the whole of humanity except Manu, he took refuge in Manali. Stepping off from his ark, the sage king propagated the human race from this place. To this day there are many places in the tourist spot associated with the legend.
With the advent of the British colonizers, the land slowly started developing into a recreational place. The cool climate may have attracted the Europeans here. They planted apple, plum, and pear which grew abundantly in the favorable climate. These orchards added to the scenic beauty of the Manali. The Beas river, natural park, waterfall, shrines, and Himalayan peaks in the backdrop combined with the comfortable climate makes the hill station ideal for tourism. The place also offers many adventure activities like skiing, snowboarding, trekking, river rafting, river crossing, and so on.
The major attractions in Manali are given below.
Top attractions in Manali
Manali Nature Park
Manali is famous for its cool climate and scenic beauty. There is no other place where you can enjoy the unrefined beauty of Manali like Nature Park. The dense thicket with its towering cedar trees makes you feel that you have reached the magical forest in the Harry Potter stories. A stroll through these woods is a great feeling that will take all the stress away and rejuvenate you. The Beas river which borders the forest adorns it like a silver ornament. You will indeed lose the sense of time because your soul is so immersed in the beauty of the place. Hence the park finds a prominent spot in the Manali tourism map.
As a law, everyone thinks that a waterfall is indispensable for a nature trip to be complete. If you are thinking that it is impossible to find a cascade in a Himalayan hill station, you are wrong. The small but beautiful Jogini waterfall crowns Manali. Though the fall may not be as impressive as other huge ones, you will find that Jogini is a refreshing sight that adds to the beauty of the forest. The chilly water of the cascade is suitable for a nice bath. But if you do not feel that adventurous, you can enjoy some quality time by its banks enjoying the enchanting view.
Hadimba Devi Temple
The temple is dedicated to Hidimbi Devi, wife of the Bhima from the Indian epic Mahabharata. Located in the center of a cedar forest at the foot of the Himalayas, the shrine is a must-visit place due to its history and architecture. This is also the best place to visit in Manali for those who love to learn the ancient culture of the land. The four-tiered pagoda was built in 1553 by Maharaja Bahadur Singh. The structure is believed to be built around the ancient cave where Hibimbi sat in meditation. The huge rock jutting out of the ground is worshipped as the deity. The intricate wood carvings of the temple are awe-inspiring. The shrine stands like a small cottage at the center of the beautiful forest. The picturesque beauty of the jungle combined with the serenity of the temple creates a meditative mood around the place.
To the south of the Manali town, there is a small Tibetan colony that is worth a visit. With their simple lifestyle and Buddhist faith, the people of the colony arouse curiosity. After a visit to the colony, the contrast of the Indian and Tibetan cultures will be apparent. You will also enjoy a visit to the Buddhist shrines in the area. They capture the imagination of anyone with their serene atmosphere. The temples are quiet and you will feel like spending some time meditating in the place. Small shops that sell souvenirs are an ideal place for a shopping experience in Manali.
A temple dedicated to Manu – the ancient Hindu sage – is an attraction for history and adventure lovers. Those who love some action in their Manali tour will enjoy the trek to the temple. Located at the top of the hill at a distance of 3 kilometers from the main market, the steep path to the shrine is quite a hike. You will be wonderstruck at the construction of the temple. With a high tower, the structure has a lot of windows, marble floors, and a vaulted ceiling. The shrine appears nothing like a religious place of your imagination. The view from the point is also very captivating and the beauty is accentuated by the Beas river.
Nyingma Buddhist Temple
Nyingmapa Gompa is a Himalayan Buddhist monastery located in Manali. It may be one of the most famous Buddhist pilgrim centers in North India. The tranquil vibe of the shrine also attracts many tourists to it. An enormous statue of Sakyamuni in a sitting meditative posture greets visitors to the place. The walls are decorated with elaborate paintings using bright colors. The intricate carvings on the columns also catch the eye. The turning prayer wheel, the sublime smell of incense, and soft chanting of prayers instantly bring you to a meditative state. Those who would like to sit and enjoy the calmness are more than welcome to do so. Many spent hours in the shrine and come out feeling energized.
Adding to the beauty of the picturesque landscape, the Beas river flows through it. Originating from the snow glaciers in the Himalayas, it adorns Manali like a silver necklace. The rapid flow of the river calls for many adventure activities like rafting, kayaking, river crossing, and so on. Many prefer to camp in the banks of the river. Some others choose the place as a picnic spot. If you are not into adventure, you can sit in the banks and relish the beautiful sight of the river rushing by.
If you feel like getting to know the life of villagers of the place, there is a great place to do so. Away from the bustle and rush of the Manali town lies old Manali. It is located uphill and is a traditional town where the people lead a simple and easy life. It is not completely cut off from the outside world. You can find cafes, guest houses, and small shops in this place. For those who envision their tour to be a laid-back and easy one, this is the best place to visit in Manali.
Best Time To Visit Manali
Like its sister town Kullu, Manali is a destination that attracts tourists year-round due to its weather. Each season has something unique to offer to the tourists. During summer, the landscape feels like paradise. The Deodar and Pine trees in the slope will be covered with beautiful leaves. The scenic beauty of the lush green valley with snow-clad mountains in the backdrop is captivating.
If you want to see the snowfall, it is better to visit the place during winter. December to February witnesses a thick coat of white snow covering the whole of the land. Many adventurous activities are arranged during this time. So it is exciting to visit the place in winter. But take care to pack warm winter clothes as the temperatures can go to the negative range.
How To Reach Manali
It is quite easy to reach this tourist destination as it has high connectivity to all nearby cities.
- By Air: The nearest Aerodrome is Bhuntar Airport which is also known as Kullu-Manali airport. It is located at a distance of 50 kilometers from the city center. As it is closed during harsh climates, you can depend on Chandigarh airport, located almost 120 kilometers from the destination.
- By Road: Manali hill station is at a distance of 550 kilometers from Delhi and 310 kilometers from Chandigarh. National Highway NH 21 passes near to Manali. You can easily get a bus both state-run and private that will take you to the spot. Hiring a cab is also very easy. It would be an experience of a lifetime if you choose to drive your vehicle to the place.
- By Rail: Jogindernagar railway station is the place to reach if you want to go to Manali. You can hire a cab from the station and get to the tourist location in no time.