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Best season/time to visit Manali?

Discussion in 'Himachal Pradesh' started by RatnaGrij, Apr 12, 2017.

  1. RatnaGrij

    RatnaGrij New Member

    Our family wants to go to Manali, and we have been researching a lot fo when we should go and are even more confused now, as people go during the summer season as well as the winter season and both seasons provide a different experience and feel of the place.

    I would like to get some views from the members of this forum to find out when the best season/time to visit Manali is?

    We will be six adults and seven teenagers travelling.

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, welcome to the forum!

    (Images from Kondephy, Tanweer, Balaji and Shahnoor)


    The mere mention of Manali evokes images of lush green valleys, snow-capped mountains and gurgling river views. Also known as the Valley of the Gods, Manali is an epitome of what paradise can be. It is everyone's haven, from couples looking for a romantic getaway, for families looking for a suitable destination for all its members and even for friends looking for a place filled with adventure. Manali, in a way, is unique because it offers various landscapes in its different seasons. This already gives you three reasons to explore the hill station and you can certainly find more reasons just to satisfy that wanderlust in you. In this guide, you can find out when is the best time to visit Manali or maybe just find an excuse to visit the hill station in each of its season.

    Best Time to Visit Manali

    Situated over 2,000 metres above sea level, Manali experiences salubrious climate all-year round. With its three seasons, summers can be mild, monsoons can be quite wet, while winters can be very chilly. The best time to visit Manali? It's subjective to each tourist or traveller, depending on what they want to achieve in their trip. Whether you're looking for solace, thrill or fun, Manali's different seasons can offer these aspects to you. Below is the complete guide on the different seasons of Manali, their average temperatures, plus their advantages and disadvantages.

    1. Summer Season (March to June)

    (Images from Parul, Biswarup and Biswarup)

    If you want to experience the vibrant side of Manali, then opt for the summer season. Summer usually begins during the month of March with temperatures at around 24°C to 28°C. By April, temperatures start to increase, averaging around 28°C to 32°C. But as compared to the plains or the crowded cities of the country, these temperatures are still very mild. During May, temperatures stay around 33°C during day time but at times, it can reach 35°C. Night times are usually more comfortable as temperatures remain below 29°C. By June, occasional rainfalls can be experienced while temperatures remain roughly the same.

    Summer is the peak tourist season of Manali and it's inevitable to find crowds during this time of the year. Hotel rates are also at their highest during this time and the possibility of the good ones being fully booked is high. On the upside, almost all tourist attractions of Manali remain open during this season so you can truly make the most out of your trip. The same goes with the cafes and restaurants, especially around Old Manali, where you can enjoy both local and international cuisines. The pleasant climate means you can enjoy sightseeing all throughout the day and you can wear light clothing comfortably. Come night time, you would need some light jackets or quilts as the chill would be more apparent. Finally, brave the traffic of Manali during this season as many areas can become congested due to the vehicle and tourist inflow.

    For sightseeing, you can cover the religious attractions of the hill station like the Hidimba Devi Temple, Manu Temple, Vashisht Temple and Tibetan Monastery. By May or June, Rohtang Pass opens up for tourism, and you can usually enjoy playing with snow here or do snow activities. If by chance you visit the hill station prior to these months, you can visit either Solang Valley or Snow Point to experience snow. Gulaba and Hampta Pass are your other options for snow but they require a bit of trekking to reach. You can also visit the Van Vihar, a small park with some facilities for boating in its lake and also play areas for children. For adventure lovers, a trek to the Bhrigu Lake, about six kilometres from Gulaba, can be undertaken during this season.

    During the last two days of April, the Basantotsava Festival is also held in the hill station. The venue is at the Kala Kendra in the Dhalpur Ground of Kullu, which is about an hour away from the centre of Manali. It is also known as the Spring Festival and celebrates the opening of the new season. The festival is very lively, with cultural dances performed by the locals of the surrounding villages. During May, the Hadimba Devi Fair is also organised to celebrate the birth date of the Goddess Hadimba Devi. Again, cultural dances are performed by locals which attracts tons of devotees and pilgrims all over the country.

    2. Monsoon Season (July to September)

    Want to experience the serene side of Manali? Then you need to reach the hill station during the monsoon season, from the months of July to September. In July, temperatures usually remain around 26°C or less. This month though is the wettest time of the year, with rainfalls almost half of the days of the month. By August, temperatures drop a bit but rainfall is still very frequent and can be intense. September is the last month of the monsoon season wherein temperatures can drop to 24°C but rainfall is more sparse. By this time, Manali would be covered in lush greenery, the Beas River would be fuller and the atmosphere would be calmer.

    Monsoon can be touted as an off-peak tourist season in Manali. You can find good bargains on hotels and even travel agencies during this time. Crowds are very thin even on popular attractions. Snowfall though is very rare by this time and you're bound to experience rainfall instead. On the downside, some tourist attractions, cafes and restaurants would be closed during the monsoons. The harsh rainfall can make the river too strong too so if venturing there, be very careful. You would also need to bring waterproof jackets, umbrella and boots to protect you from the rain. While it's easy to go around the centre of the hill station, you might need high clearance vehicles for other remote areas. Nights can be chilly so bring some woollens or quilts especially if you reserved for a room in a guest house without heating.

    Sightseeing is also quite difficult during this time, especially without your own vehicle. You can still cover the temples that were mentioned above but it's best to hire a cab or vehicle for convenience. Solang Valley and Rohtang Pass remain open during these months but snow might be too thin to enjoy. Further, activities can be hampered by the frequent rainfall. Indoor attractions can be covered during this time like the Himachal Museum of Culture & Folk Art. Here, you would be taken through a cultural tour of the state by the use of ancient utensils, ornamental items, tribal costumes and more. Excursions into the Naggar Castle and Manikaran Gurudwara can also be done during this season.

    Festivals in the monsoon season are less. But the modern Electric Mahadev Festival occurs during this season in the month of July. This is a music festival celebrating trance music, held in Rohtang Pass in Manali. Both local and international music artists perform in this lively festival that would make your monsoon more vivid. This festival is newer but has been going on for the last three years. It's the perfect event for music lovers or those who want to brighten up their monsoon trip in the hill station.

    3. Winter Season (October to February)

    (Images from Vandita, Raj and Ayandrali)

    If you want to experience fresh snowfall in Manali, then you need to visit it during the winter season. By October, temperatures average around 23°C or less. Rainfall can occur but snowfall would be uncommon during this month. November and December see temperatures lower than 20°C and it's not uncommon to experience below 10°C temperatures by the end of the latter month. Come January, temperatures remain under 15°C and sometimes below zero, making the possibility of snowfall higher. February sees a bit higher temperatures but still within 15°C. Enjoy the white blankets of snow enveloping the hill station during winter season.

    Winter can be called as the mid-peak tourist season. It's not as crowded as the peak tourist season but you'd still see a number of tourists reaching the hill station. With the chilly temperatures, it's mandatory to bring heavy woollens, boots, bonnets, gloves and thermals. Quilts are necessary if you book a lower budget property without heating. Some tourist attractions like Rohtang Pass remain close during this time due to heavy snowfall that can lead to landslides and road blocks. Traffic is not that bad since there aren't as many tourists passing to reach Leh, which is approachable via Rohtang Pass, but both remain closed during winter. Hotels have mid-range rates and it's best to book for a room in advance to have your choice of hotel as honeymoon couples choose the best properties during this time.

    For sightseeing, as long as you wear the proper gear, it can be done easily. You can cover all the temples in Manali, Manu Temple, Vashisht Temple, Hidimba Devi Temple and even the Tibetan Monastery. By October, you can enjoy river rafting in the Beas River or even venturing into the waterfalls of Manali like the Jogini Waterfalls, Jana Waterfalls and Rahala Waterfalls. Snow can be found in higher areas if ever you visit Manali earlier than December or January, like Gulaba or Hampta Pass. Solang Valley might also have some snow activities by December or January.

    There are two main festivals during the winter season. First is the Dussehra Festival, which is celebrated every year during October at the Dhalpur Maidan in Kullu. During this festival, hundreds of idols of various gods and goddesses are dressed up and showcased in colourful palanquins. But the main deity of the festival is none other than Lord Raghunath. The festival lasts for seven days and in between dances and musical performances can be enjoyed. Second is the Winter Carnival, which is celebrated every year during January in Kala Kendra in Dhalpur Ground of Kullu. Aside from musical and dance performance, contests are also held during this festival which all the more makes it enjoyable.

    Summary of Guide

    The guide above is comprehensive but for those who need a quick overview of the seasons of Manali, you can refer to the tables below. The first table is the monthly breakdown of the possibility of snowfall and rainfall in the hill station, including whether Rohtang Pass is open or not. This is merely a guide though, since the weather is highly unpredictable. Rohtang Pass also opens in different months during the year, sometimes it opens early in May or sometimes it opens in June. It then closes either at the end of September or the beginning of October.

    Monthly Breakdown of Rainfall/Snowfall Occurrence in Manali

    Rohtang Pass
    For the second table, this highlights the seasons per se of Manali. You can refer to this table for a quick overview of the average temperatures, which types of travellers best suits each season or the must wear type of clothing. The guide above is more complete so don't forget to read on that for a more comprehensive discussion of the different seasons of Manali.

    Seasons in Manali + Suitability for Travellers

    SeasonMonthsAverage TemperaturesBest ForMust Wear
    SummerMarch to June24°C to 35°CFamilies and FriendsLight Cotton Clothes, Shades or Sun Gears
    MonsoonJuly to September24°C to 26°COffbeat Travellers and Solace SeekersWaterproof Jackets, Rain Boots or Rain Gears
    WinterOctober to February10°C to 23°CCouples and FamiliesHeavy Woollens, Thermals, Gloves, Bonnets, Boots or Winter Gears

    This ends our guide on the seasons of Manali. Generally, the summer season is the peak tourist season wherein temperatures are pleasant and mild. If you want to enjoy sightseeing or adventure activities, this is the best season for that. The monsoon season is the off-peak tourist season wherein rainfalls can be very rampant. But for the tourists who want to avoid the crowds and enjoy the greener side of Manali, then opt for this season. The winter season is the mid-peak tourist season, where crowds are not as high and you can enjoy the white beauty of the hill station.

    Good luck and I hope this helps you!:)

  3. semon

    semon New Member

    October to February is the winter season and is considered to be the best time to visit Manali. But most of the people prefer to visit there in summers to enjoy the long holidays.
  4. Prits

    Prits Member

    It is actually recommended going to places like Manali/Shimla on both fo the seasons, during winters and summers. Both the seasons give a different insight to the place and provide you with different experiences, as you can imagine going to a place during one time when its covered with white snow where you can play in it (absolutely fun for teenagers) and also take part in some winter sports, and once when your see luscious green hills and mountains at a distance in the clear blue sky.