Cold even on a summer day, Manali is a hill station in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India. Tourists from around India flock to it during the summer season to get a respite from the smoldering heat. Altogether the mystical atmosphere attracts visitors from all over the world.
Manali Travel Guide
Manali is basically divided into two parts, the new Manali where the tourists or honeymooners flock and old Manali for the backpackers. Now due to improvements in infrastructure and road conditions, Manali is usually flocked with tourists at all times of the year.
Photo: Might Oak trees in the forest reserve of Manali / The Art of Travel Partners
Things to do
It is at the height of 13,050 ft and is the highest point of the Manalu-Keylong road. And is open only during the summers when the snow gets cleaned or melts. Normally open from Mid-May to October depending on the weather. The only reason people travel this far is to see the mountain laden with snow, and the adventurous road full of blind turns and hairpin bends.
Only limited vehicles go up to the pass, and the permit gets issued online. Rohtang depends on luck, the weather should favor you as well as the dates when the vehicles get permitted. You can do paragliding up here till Solang Valley- which is a half an hour ride.
Photo: Rohtang Pass during winters / CC0
Hadimba Devi Temple
Built in 1553, Hadimba Devi temple is actually a cave where the Goddess resides. It is made into a temple amidst the Cedar Forest. There is not much to do here except pay the respects and click some pictures at the Van Vihar near it.
Photo: The Hadimba Devi temple in the forest reserve / CC0
Solang Valley has a Ski Centre. But that is useless during the summer. Go here if you visit in winter, so you can see the snow- capped mountains in the Ski Lift, or do skiing. The paragliding rides offered here are short and too expensive and not worth it. They ask 3300 INR for a 10-minute ride which is not fair considering the price.
Photo: Tourists trying our Winter activities / CC0
During summer Club House is the best place in Manali. There are indoor games like Billiards, chess, carom and outdoor adventures like shooting, archery, zip line, and zorbing. You can spend an entire evening here, playing a variety of games.
Photo: Water Zorning at the Club house/ CC0
The Vashist Village is a holy place with hot sulfur springs. Many visitors come here for the medicinal properties of the water. There are temple tanks where you can take a dip. During the winters the hot springs are a delight to get into.
Photo: The entrance to the hot spring / CC0
Bhuntar airport is 50 km from Manali. From the airport, you can book a prepaid taxi to the city. The trip by car is only an hour. You can also take a bus to Manali from Delhi, Ambala, Chandigarh, and Kullu. If you hire a taxi, it takes about 8 hours to reach Manali from Chandigarh. It is also pretty easy to reach Ambala from Delhi; you can take a train between the two cities. From Ambala, it will take 10 hours to reach Manali.
You can book the Himachal Road transportation buses as well that run from Delhi to Manali. It takes a maximum of 14 hours to reach the city. The most time-saving way is to take a flight from Delhi to Bhuntar and hire a cab from there to Manali.
The changes in altitude and the unpredictable hilly roads can give the passenger’s motion sickness. Carry medicines with you and avoid eating before boarding the bus.
Nightlife Hot Spots
The nightlife of Manali, though not as happening as its day time activities cannot be ignored. There are quite a few cafes and clubs which now offer good music and drinks for a good night scene. Some of the places to visit are
- Johnsons Cafe
- The Lazy Dog
- Cafe 1947
- Drifters Inn
Photo: Jhonson Bar and Cafe at night/ CC0
There is a good number of shopping places in Manali from where you can shop and hunt for the best deals on your favorite products.
This is the place where you can feel the peace and calmly spend the quality time with your family or friends. This relaxation spot for the shoppers is another one of the best shopping places in Manali. The Tibetan market is famous for the different Tibetan products range and it is the best option for those who are looking to buy Tibetan stuff.
Located at the mall, this is a small but one of the busiest shopping places of Manali. Manu Market is the place which can be found in the list of preferred places of local people as well as the tourists.
Different products you can get from this place includes Books, clothes, footwear, handloom items, utensils, crockery, artificial jewellery, home appliances, etc. You can also have some delicious food from different vendors at this place.
Photo: Manu Market/ CC0
Old Manali Market
Find your way through the narrow roads to find colorful streets of this market from where you can buy a lot of cool stuff like different accessories, of famous celebrities, t-shirts, stylish woolen clothes, and much more.
Exploring the market and bargaining for the right place is another enjoyable task which you will be going to do here. Activities which you can see in all over the market, the buzz in the streets and coolers all around will make you fall in love with this market. If you are planning a trip to Manali then don’t miss this.
Photo: The quieter old Manali market/ CC0
Best Time to Visit Manali
Indian tourists find Manali to be heaven during the summer. The temperature seldom exceeds 20 degree Celsius. While the rest of the country burns with a 40-45 degree temperature, Manali enjoys a pleasant temperature. But during winter the temperature dips to -5 and lower. It is best to visit between February and May when there is no rain.
Photo: Roads near Manali during winters / CCo
What to wear
During summers carry sweatshirts with you, and a pair of good shoes. But during winter carry thermals, and jackets to ward off the cold. The temperatures go below the freezing point, and nights are especially cold.
The language of the locals is Pahari. It is difficult to decipher it. But you can speak to them in English, most people can converse in English. And Hindi is also helpful.
Not all hotels here have Wi-Fi. But if you have a mobile network you can use it. And if the hotels do have Wi-Fi then ask for the password.
The locals are warm and welcoming. But the hawkers and dealers can be rude and greedy. Do not succumb to high prices because you will get a better deal in the nearby area. People here sleep early so be ready for your dinner at 9.
If you are in the mountains the best thing you get to eat is momos. And the schezwan rice. You also need to try the Bhutta( roasted corn) sold on the streets.
One of the best street food in Manali is Babru. This is a dish belonging to the family of the age-old Indian snack of kachoris. Quite like the kachoris, this dish to is prepared out of using the soaked black gram paste and then kneading it to create this dish.
Another local dish that is a must-have in Manali is Sidu. Being the ideal companion for mutton and other non-vegetarian Indian preparations, this dish is a prepared by with the dough of the bread. The refined flour dough for bread is first kept aside to rise and once the yeast has settled down on it, the dough is par-cooked.
If a sweet tooth is your weakness, then this dish will surely satiate your hunger pangs in the best manner possible. An Indian rather Himachal version of crepes, this dish is prepared using milk, sugar and wheat flour. Most commonly eaten as a morning treat this food can be easily found in Manali.
A festive preparation, Aktori is a cake made with the exceptional ingredient of buckwheat. Quite a core of the best street food in Manali, this dish is a must try to complete your experience of exploring the local flavors of the place.
Photo: Vegetable stir in local sauces / The Art of Travel Partners
There are tourist taxis everywhere. Once you reach your hotel, you can ask your receptionist to find a driver for you who can take show you around. The cost for Rohtang Pass knows no limits, but refrain from giving more than 2K.
The hilly roads are congested during peak season due to the number of vehicles. And as you go up to the pass the road gets riskier. It is one of the most dangerous roads in the world. Do hold on to any support you get, and wear your seatbelts.
How many days to travel in Manali
3 days are more than enough to visit Manali. It has many overrated places like the Solang Valley ( which has no value in summer), and the Hadimba Devi temple which is crowded. Spend a day at the Rohtang, get back to Solang. And then spend another day sightseeing, and other day rafting on your way to sightsee Kullu.
How safe is Manali
During the peak tourist season, the crowds are annoying. You need to look after your luggage and be wary of pickpockets, especially if you take a bath at the Vashist Springs. That aside, you need to be careful about the roads too, and carry medicines with you for vomiting and headache.
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December 22, 2017 12:54 am
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