Manali is a hill station located in the Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh. It is situated at an altitude of about 2,050 metres. It is also about 270 kms North of the state capital which is Shimla. Manali is a popular tourist spot especially during the summer when people want to get away from the heat of the city. During the winter, the region is covered with snow and a flock of tourists also come in during this time. Aside from the temples and monasteries, adventure activities are also main tourist attractions in Manali. Legend and History of Manali The name Manali literally means "The Abode of Manu." This is how Manali came to be, according to Hindu mythology. Varvasvata (7th Incarnation of Manu) found a tiny fish swimming in his bathing water. The fish told him to look after him as one day it would do him a great favour. So Varvasvata took care of the fish until it grew so big. The time came for the 7th Manu to release the fish. Before doing so, the fish told him about an impeding flood that is going to cover the world. Because of this warning, Varvasvata and the seven sages were saved by the fish. The water subsided and the ark rested on a hill. This hill came to be known as "Manali." As the flood dried, this beautiful region came to be. Historically, Manali is a favoured holiday destination of the first prime minister of the country, Jawaharlal Nehru. During the 20th Century, the British started visiting the town owing to its stunning landscapes and cool weather. It was also the British who introduced the apple trees in the region. The first apple orchard in Manali was in Patlikuhl. Now, apple, pear and plum orchards can be found all over Manali and this is the main source of income of the majority of the residents. After the British started visiting Manali, it gained a reputation as a tourist destination thus, tourists all over the country and the world started coming in. Getting There 1. By Air - The nearest airport to Manali is Bhuntar Airport, which also goes by the name Kullu-Manali Airport. It is about 50 kms South of Manali and 10 kms South of Kullu. Air India has regular flights from Delhi to Kullu/Manali. Here is one flight I was able to find: Air India A1-9805 - Departs at 6:35 am and arrives at 7:50 am. This is a non-stop flight of about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Rate is at Rs. 10,981 per passenger. 2. By Bus - You have many options for buses: HPTDC Buses - The HPTDC buses plying from Delhi to Manali boards passengers at Himachal Bhawan, Mandi House, New Delhi. Journey time is about 14 hours. They have different timings for the buses as well: 6:30 pm, 7:00 pm and 7:30 pm. All of these are Volvo Buses and fare is at Rs. 1,220 per person. HRTC Buses - The HRTC buses plying from Delhi to Manali boards passengers at ISBT Delhi. Journey time is about 14 hours as well. They also have different timings for buses: Semi Deluxe is at 6:40 pm (Fare is at Rs. 575) & Volvo is at 8:00 pm and 9:00 pm (Fare is at Rs. 1,162 and Rs. 950). Private Buses - There are lots of private buses from Delhi to Manali. Swagatam Holidays is one of them, the boarding point is opposite Majnu Ka Tila. Journey duration is about 14 hours as well. Departure is at 6:00 pm and arrival is at 7:30 am. Fare is at Rs. 1,299 per person. The bus is a Volvo AC Semi-Sleeper/Seater. 3. By Train - There are no trains from Delhi to Manali directly. The most reliable railway station is Chandigarh. From Chandigarh, Manali is about 316 kms away so you would need to board a bus to reach the latter. Another is Una Railway Station (242 kms from Manali) but there are no buses from Una to Manali. There's also a passenger train to Joginder Nagar Railway Station (162 kms from Manali) but it's very slow. Here are your train options to reach Chandigarh: Kalka Shatabdi Train No. 12011 - Runs daily at 7:40 and arrives at 11:05. Kalka Shatabdi Train No. 12005 - Runs daily at 17:15 and arrives at 20:40. New Delhi - Chandigarh Shatabdi Train No. 12045 - Runs daily except Sundays. Departure is 19:15 and arrival is 22:45. There are buses to Manali from Chandigarh ISBT. Buses leave at 8:30 am and 8:30 pm daily. Your other option would be riding the Howrah - Delhi -Kalka Mail at Old Delhi which departs at 21:15. Drop off at Kalka and board the connecting train to Shimla. Then, from Shimla, you can ride a bus going to Manali or ride a taxi. 4. By Taxi - Fare from Delhi to Manali ranges between Rs. 6,950 to Rs. 9,550. 5. By Private Vehicle - The distance between Delhi to Manali is about 537.5 kms. You can reach Manali in about 10 to 13 hours. Here are the routes you can take: Route 1 via NH44: Delhi > Sonipat > Panipat > Karnal >Kurukshetra > Chandigarh > Mandi > Kullu > Manali. Route 2 via NH3: Delhi > Sonipat > Panipat > Cheeka > Patiala > Rupnagar > Bilaspur > Mandi > Kullu > Manali. Manali Quick Facts Destination Type: Hill Station State: Himachal Pradesh District: Kullu Local Language: Hindi Altitude: 2,050 metres Attractions: Temples, Monasteries, Hot Springs, Waterfalls and Passes Best Time to Visit Manali Tourists visit Manali all-year round, since different seasons offer different activities and enjoyments. Here is the breakdown of the different seasons in Manali: Winter Season (December to February) - Up to Manali, roads are open but from Leh onwards, roads will be closed. Rohtang Pass is also closed. Chances of seeing snowfall are high during this time. Snow activities can also be done during this time like skiing and snowboarding. Temperatures range between 7°C and 0°C and sometimes even lower. This is the best time to visit for people who like snow and the cold. Summer Season (March to June) - During March, there is still a chance of seeing snow. From April to June, this is the peak tourist season. During the middle months, temperatures range between 10°C to 25°C. Activities like paragliding and river rafting can be done during these months. Roads to Rohtang Pass and Leh will open during May. Monsoon Season (July to September) - Occasional landslides can occur during this time. It's best to avoid Manali during the rainy season. Post-Monsoon Season (October to November) - Good time for sightseeing as the temperatures aren't so cold or hot. Rohtang Pass and Leh remains open until October. Tourist Attractions in Manali Temples Hadimba Temple - This also goes by the name Hidimbi Devi Temple. It is located at about 2 kms away from the Manali Bus Station. This temple is dedicated to Hidimbi Devi, sister of Hidimba and wife of Bhima. The Pandavas stayed in Himachal during their exile. After their exile, they returned to their place but Hidimbi stayed behind and performed penance. It is where she gained the status of a Goddess. The Hadimba Temple has a pagoda-style roof and you won't find any idols of deities inside. The windows of the temple are carved and the wooden door have carvings of deities as well. Maa Sharvari Temple - Maa Sharvari Devi is a manifestation of the Goddess Durga. This temple is about 5 kms away from the city centre of Manali, located in the Shaminallah Village. It is best visited during the Dussehra Festival. During this festival, the deity's idol is also transferred to Kullu to visit the Lord Raghunathji. Basheshwar Mahadev Temple - This is about 15 kms away from Manali, located in the Bajura Village. This temple is dedicated to the Lord Shiva. You can also find idols of other deities here: Lord Vishnu, Lord Ganesha, Goddess Durga and Goddess Lakshmi. Bijli Mahadev Temple - This temple is dedicated to the Lord Shiva. This is about 35 kms from Manali. Its name refers to the lightning rod here, about 60 feet, that gets struck by lightning every year. Manu Temple - This is about 3 kms from the Manali Bus Stand. This temple is dedicated to the Indian Sage, Manu. This is also the only temple in India dedicated to Manu. The temple was built in the pagoda-style of architecture and you can find various idols of deities inside it. Vashisht Temple - This is about 3.5 kms from the Manali Bus Stand. Rich Vashisht is one of the seven sages in Hinduism. According to mythology, he tried to kill himself after his children's deaths. He tried to jump on the river but it refused to kill him. That river was called Vipasha and is now known as Beas River. Inside the temple, there's a black stone image of Vashisht. Waterfalls Jogini Waterfalls - This is about 7.5 kms from Manali. The water from these falls fall at a height of about 150 feet. At the base, there's a small pool in which tourists can swim in. You can reach Jogini Waterfalls by trekking from the Vashisht Temple. It's a picturesque trek with apple orchards, pine trees and small streams. Rahala Waterfalls - This is about 29 kms from Manali and you can reach it en route to Rohtang Pass. It is about 2,501 metres in height. The water here is very cold as it's believed to have come from the melting of the glaciers. Jana Waterfalls - This is about 32 kms from the Manali Bus Stand. You can trek to reach the top of the hill of the waterfalls. The trek is fairly easy and provides a great view of the cascading waters. Alternatively, you can just swim in the pool at the base of the waterfalls. Sanctuary Manali Sanctuary - This is about 2 kms away from Manali. It covers an area of about 31.80 square kms. This is a haven for birdwatchers as there's lots of resident and migratory species of birds here. If you're lucky, you might also be able to spot the elusive snow leopard in the sanctuary. Adventure activities at Manali Rohtang Pass - This is about 52 kms from Manali. The Rohtang Pass is about 4,111 metres above sea level. This is one of the few places in Manali that has snow almost all-year round. The name Rohtang means pile of corpses, as hundreds of people have died already trying to cross the pass. Adventure snow activities can be done here like skiing and snowboarding. Solang Valley - This is just 12 kms from the Manali Bus Stand. The valley is about 8,500 feet above sea level. The Winter Skiing Festival is annually done in the Solang Valley. Skiing courses are also offered during the winter months. The slopes here are very fine and good for skiing. Mountain biking, zorbing and paragliding are some of the other activities done here. Raison River - This is about 27 kms from Manali. White River Rafting is done here as the rapids of the river are fast and high enough. Activities like trekking, mountain climbing and river crossing can also be done here. Beas River and Beas Kund - This is about 28 kms from Manali. The Beas River is another popular river rafting destination. The rapids here are perfect for moderate to expert rafters. Beas Kund is a popular trekking site for trekkers. It can also be a base camp for the Shitidhar and Ladakhi Peaks. Parks at Manali Van Vihar - This is just about 750 metres from Manali. There's lots of activities for families and children here. There's a lake with boating facilities that one can avail of. For the kids, there's some swings and play areas to have fun with. Amidst the park, there are Deodar trees that add to the relaxing atmosphere in the area. Springs at Manali Nehru Kund - This is about 5 kms from Manali. The water from the spring here is said to come from the Bhrigu Lake. The first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, loved drinking the water from this spring. Vashisht Hot Water Springs - This is just beside the Vashisht Temple. Tourists all over the country and the world visit the springs as taking a dip in these springs are believed to heal their illnesses. Kalath Hot Water Springs - This is about 6.5 kms from Manali. Natural sulphurous water flows to the streams. Much like the Vashisht Springs, this is also a popular tourist destination. You can find private and public baths here. Museums in Manali Museum of Himachal Culture and Folk Art - This is just 2 kms away from Manali. This was established in 1988 to showcase the artefacts about culture and folk art in the region. You will find ancient utensils, instruments and wooden articles used by the people of Himachal Pradesh during the olden times. You can even find miniature models of old houses, temples and forts in the museum. Uruswati Folk Art Museum - This is about 21 kms from Manali. You can find local folk art and paintings in this museums. There are even traditional costumes from the different regions of Himachal Pradesh here. Accommodation Options in Manali Budget hotels in Manali Hotel New Adarsh - Their Deluxe Room is at Rs. 924 per night. Rooms are luxurious for the price, with wall to wall carpeting and heater by request. Cable television is also available in the room. Bathrooms have 24 hours hot/cold shower. They also have a restaurant in the hotel premises. Their address is: Hotel New Adarsh & Restaurant The Mall, Manali-175131. Contact number is: 01902-250693. Hotel Manali Castle - Their Deluxe Room is at Rs. 1,800 per night. Rooms have wall to wall carpeting, cable television and WiFi. Laundry and dry cleaning services are provided by the hotel. Their address is: Naggar Road, Near Hotel Sun Park, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh 175101. Contact number is: +91 94593 78000. Mid-Range hotels in Manali Holiday Heights Manali - Their Deluxe Room is at Rs. 6,000 per night. Rooms have LED television and 24 hours hot/cold water in the bathroom. They also have a multi-cuisine restaurant in the hotel premises. Their address is: Kanyal Road, Manali, Himachal Pradesh 175131. Contact number is: +91 98166 22259. Honeymoon Inn - Their Deluxe Room is at Rs. 5,000 per night. It has a garden view, LED television and work station. They also have 24 hours hot/cold shower in the bathrooms. There's a cyber cafe and a conference hall in the hotel. Their address is: Left Bank, Aleo Nagar Road, Atal Bihari Vajpai Institute Road, Manali, Himachal Pradesh 175131. Contact number: +91 11 4310 1103. Luxury hotels in Manali The Himalayan - Their Premier BR with Private Balcony is at Rs. 9,500 per night. It has an elegant style, with medieval style beds and sofas. LED television, WiFi and 24 hours hot/cold shower in the bathroom are all included in the room package. They also have a spa in the hotel. Their address: Hadimba Road, Kullu Valley, Manali, Himachal Pradesh 175131. Contact number: +91 1902 250 999. The Anantmaya Resort - Their Villa Room is at Rs. 6,095 per night. Rooms have LED television, tea/coffee maker, WiFi and balcony. They also have a restaurant and a spa in the hotel. Their address is: Naggar Road, Shuru, Tehsil Manali, District Kullu, Prini, Himachal Pradesh 175131. Contact number: +91 1902 251 333. Local Cuisine in Manali Dham - This is a complete meal, with curry, sweet rice and curd. It is usually served during lunch is many food stalls in Manali. Red Rice - The uniqueness of the red rice in Manali is that it has a nutty flavour to it. It is usually served with leafy vegetables or beans. River Trout - With the various natural waters in Manali, fishes are easy to spot there. The River Trout dish is mildly spicy and has a tanginess to it. It's best paired with rice. Masala Omelette - Usually served with toast, this dish can be found in many food stalls in Manali. Try it for breakfast! Sidu - This is bread made with flour and allowed to rise for five hours. It is served with ghee, mutton or dhal. There you go! I hope this can help anyone out there wanting to visit Manali. And for you guys who have visited Manali, maybe you can share your experiences with us.