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.
How to go
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. An takes maximum 14 hours to reach the city. The most time-saving way is 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 passengers motion sickness. Carry medicines with you and avoid eating before boarding the bus.
When to go
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 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.
Things to do
It is at the height of 13,050 ft and is the highest point of the Manalu-Keylong road. And is 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 hair-pin bends.
Only limited vehicles go up to the pass, and the permit gets issued online. Rohtang depends on luck, the weather should favour 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.
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.
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.
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 the variety of games.
The Vashist Village is a holy place with hot sulphur springs. Many visistors 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.
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 with them in English, most of the 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. The roadside shacks as well as hotels serve hot maggi, which is very expensive- 70 INR. You cannot blame them because it is difficult to transport groceries up there.
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 amount 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.
Manali is an expensive place to visit. A standard hotel room costs 2000 INR minimum. Above that a simple breakfast costs 70- 100 Rupees. And then comes the transportation charge which is also high( depending on the distance you go). You need an eleven thousand to comfortably have fun here, yet you will keep wishing to have done something more.
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.
December 22, 2017 12:54 am