One of the most popular hill stations in Himachal, Manali offers the most magnificent views of the PirPanjal and the Dhauladhar ranges covered with snow for most parts of the year.
With the Covid-19 pandemic going on, Manali has evolved to be a place loved by young people looking for longer stays for work. With ambient cafes, good wifi availability, small eateries, and convenient shops, Old Manali are among the favoriteneighborhood for such people. There are many homestays and hostels offering dorm beds for cheap for longer durations.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
It snows the most in January & February followed by December and March. If you're very lucky, you might find some snow in April.October to February is the winter season and is considered to be the best time to visit Manali if you like the cold and January is best to enjoy the chilly pleasure of fresh snowfall. The temperature drops down below zero degrees Celsius.
BEST PLACES TO VISIT
1. Hadimba Temple, Manali
Also known by the names Hidimba Devi Temple and Dhungari Temple, this ancient shrine was built by Maharaja Bahadur Singh way back in 1553. As the name suggests, the temple is dedicated to Hidimba Devi, wife of Bheema. The wooden architecture of the shrine is very distinct from most Hindu temples you will come across in the country. There’s another shrine dedicated to Hidimba Devi’s son Ghatotkachaon the premises. Surrounded by thick cedar groves and with snow-capped mountains serving as the backdrop, the temple is one of the best places to visit in Manali.
2. Solang Valley, Manali
A mini valley located at about 8400 feet above sea level, Solang Nala is a short drive away from Manali. It is a haven for adventure and sports lovers and while here, you can try your skills on a pair of skis or go for a snowmobile exploration. When the weather warms up, people flock here for zorbing and paragliding. You can also hop onto a cable car and enjoy mesmerizing views of the Himalayas. If you are looking for snow-based activities and sports, winters are the best time to visit while the months of summer are ideal for other adventure sports.
3. Jogini Waterfalls, Manali
The rushing cascades of Jogini Falls are a short and invigorating trek away from the main town of Manali. The trail that leads to the waterfall is scenic and gives you a glimpse of the River Beas and the snow-capped peaks of Rohtang. Apart from the serene setting, Jogini is also an important place of pilgrimage and you can visit many old shrines around the pool at the bottom. An early start is recommended so that you can spend more time at this picturesque natural spot, which is one of the top trekking as well as picnic places in Manali.
4. Manu Temple, Manali
The Manu Temple is dedicated to an old sage after whom it has been named. The pagoda-style architecture of the shrine stands out amidst the deep valleys and mountain peaks that form a postcard-worthy backdrop. You will have to hike a little to reach the temple, but the views at the summit and the spiritual vibes it exudes make all your efforts completely worth it.
5. The Manali Gompa, Manali
The ornate design and the quintessential Tibetan architecture make the GadhanThekchhokling Gompa, more commonly referred to as the Manali Gompa, one of the finest landmarks in Manali. Built by Tibetan refugees in the 1960s, this monastery allows you to enjoy quiet settings and unmatched spiritual vibes. Some of the key highlights of the Manali Gompa include exquisite murals that depict important events of Buddhism in vivid colors and roofs built in the Pagoda style. The stalls in the complex are a good place to pick up some souvenirs and Tibetan handicraft items.
6. Bhrigu Lake, Manali
Take a moment and think of postcard-perfect alpine meadows and evergreen tree forests near a serene high-altitude water body. Well, you have just now pictured Bhrigu Lake, one of the best trekking destinations around Manali. A bit of acclimatization is needed if you are going for the trek as the lake is located more than 4000 meters above sea level. The scenery and panoramic views of the PirPanjal Range are what draw most visitors to this place.
7. Hampta Pass, Manali
Counted as one of the easy-to-medium-difficulty Himalayan treks, the Hampta Pass trek allows you to enjoy mesmerizing views of the Kullu Valley and Lahaul Valley. The Chandratal Lake located en route is another key attraction of the trek. The pass is located on the PirPanjal Range at an elevation of over 4000 meters and the route includes fascinating river crossings. There are many groups in Manali that conduct Hampta Pass trekking tours and their charges vary based on the itinerary and the number of days.
8. Nehru Kund, Manali
A natural spring located on the Manali – Rohtang Pass Highway, Nehru Kund is a good place to visit during summers. The spring is named so because Nehru, India’s first prime minister, used to visit it during his stay in Manali and drink water from this natural spring. The clear waters and the calm Himalayan landscapes make this a good stop for those heading over to the Rohtang Pass. Nehru Kund makes for an ideal destination for photographers and nature lovers.
9. Arjun Gufa (Arjun Cave), Manali
Located close to the gushing currents of the Beas River, the Arjun Cave is associated with a legendary story from the Hindu epic Mahabharata. As per the legend, Arjun, who was one of the Pandava brothers, meditated here. One of the best places near Manali for a basket picnic, Arjun Cave offers stunning views of the hills and the valleys surrounding it. You can also visit the KuntBhayo Lake and Kunti Mata Temple, two of the key attractions near the cave.
Location: Near Prini Village, Manali
Distance from Manali: 21 km (approx.)
10. Van Vihar, Manali
If you are looking for some tranquil moments in the bohemian setting of Manali town, a short stroll through Van Vihar Park is highly recommended. One of the most popular attractions in Manali, Van Vihar is a public park complete with lushness and sky-touching deodar trees. You can even hop onto a boat and maneuver around the man-made lake here. Bird watchers will enjoy spotting local species in the park, especially in the morning hours.
By Air. The nearest airport is at Bhuntar, located approximately 50 kilometers away from Manali. ...
By Bus. Manali is very well-connected to important tourist destinations like Leh, Shimla, Kullu, Dharamshala, and New Delhi through a network of state-run as well as private buses. ...
Frequently Asked Questions About Manali:
Q: When is the best time to visit Manali?
A: The best months to visit Manali are March through June. But if you're interested in witnessing snowfall, the period from December to February is ideal. The monsoon season must be avoided as there are chances of landslides.
Q: What is Manali famous for?
A: Besides natural charm and unparalleled beauty, Manali is known for its unlimited adventure opportunities, the famous Hadimba Temple, the scenic Rohtang Pass, the snow-laden Solang Valley, and its delightful culinary scene.
Q: How to reach Manali?
A: There are several HRTC and Volvo buses available from Delhi, Dharamsala, Chandigarh, and other nearby cities to Manali. You can also book a private taxi or take your car. The nearest airport to Manali is Kullu Manali Airport (50 km) at Bhuntar while the main train station which offers access to the hill station is Chandigarh Junction (294km).
Q: Suggest some good cafes and restaurants in Manali.
A: Some of the most popular places to eat in Manali are Johnson's Cafe, Casa Bella Vista, Cafe 1947, Tibet Kitchen, Drifters' Inn and Cafe, The Lazy Dog, Chopsticks, etc.
Q: Which activities in Manali are preferable for thrill-seekers?
A: There are a lot of things to do in Manali for adventurous souls including trekking, skiing, mountain biking, rock climbing, rappelling, paragliding, camping, river rafting, horse riding, zorbing, and more.