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Places to see in Manali

Discussion in 'Himachal Pradesh' started by Siam, Oct 22, 2016.

  1. Siam

    Siam New Member

    I am Siam from Kolkata, and I will be going to Himachal Pradesh with my family for a holiday. We will be in going Chandigarh, Shimla, and Manali. For Chandigarh and Shimla, we have an itinerary which was used by my friend. The itinerary includes all the places we need to visit and things we can do there.

    The only destination we need to know about is Manali. I would like to know what places to see in Manali so that I can make an itinerary for the same.

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, @Siam, welcome to the forum!


    Manali is an all-year round destination that is a favourite amongst tourists. Rightfully so, because despite being commercialised, it has retained its natural beauty. Being a hill station, you get the views of the snow-capped peaks around you. And the flowing Beas River actually adds to the scenic beauty of the place. Yet it doesn't end there, as there are tons of adventure activities that can thrill and excite you when you're in Manali. Sightseeing? There's also plenty of that in the hill station although you need to allot a few days to explore them all.

    Places to Visit in Manali

    • Hidimba Devi Temple - With such a unique architectural style, the Hidimba Devi Temple is probably one of the most visited religious sites in the hill station. It has three square-shaped roofs and at the top, there's a fourth cone-shaped brass roof. As you enter the temple, you would notice the cramped space because a huge rock occupies the inner sanctum. The doorway has carvings of the Goddess Durga, which is the most fascinating and intricate feature of the temple. Aside from that, there's an idol for Hidimba Devi and a rope just above the huge rock, believed to have been used to hang sinners back in the day. Outside the temple, you can visit the shrine dedicated to Hidimba Devi's and Bhima's son, Ghatotkacha.
    • Manu Temple - According to Hindu mythology, the Indian sage, Manu, saved the world from extinction. And it is here, in Manali, that the only temple in India dedicated to Sage Vaivasvata Manu can be found. The Manu Temple has this pagoda-style roof as well, much like the Hidimba Devi Temple but the similarities stop there. Made of wood and stone, spacious and with beautiful marble flooring, the Manu Temple excels in architectural style without being too overwhelming. The temple also has plenty of doors, opened during day time, to allow air and light to pass into the area.
    Manu Temple (Image Courtesy of Travel Secrets)
    • Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa - With its yellow pagoda-style roof and simple facade, the Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa stands out in its surroundings. It is a fairly small monastery yet attracts a number of Buddhist devotees and even tourists. The monastery was built in the middle of the 19th century by the Tibetan refugees who fled to the region. Inside, it houses a statue of Lord Buddha and a few paintings about the ideals of Buddhism. Some accents of colourful flags and prayer wheels also add that authentic Buddhist experience.
    • Bijli Mahadev Temple - Located amidst a beautiful meadow is the Bijli Mahadev Temple. What's unusual about the temple is that its shivalingam is struck by lightning every year. The presiding priest of the temple has to rejoin the pieces of the shivalingam every year too. It is a very simple temple too, with just a white facade and a sloping roof. Outside the temple, you can visit the Nandi statues as well as the stone structure which has intricate carvings.
    • Vashisht Temple - The Vashisht Temple is located in the village of Vashisht, about six kilometres away from Manali's city centre. The temple complex has three main parts, namely: the main Vashisht Temple, a Shiva temple and a Rama temple. The main Vashisht Temple is dedicated to the Indian sage, Rishi Vashisht. It has a natural hot water spring flowing within it and there are even bathing areas for the devotees. Just next to the temple is the Shiva temple and Rama temple. All of which were built using wood, with some traditional details such as paintings and statues.
    • Naggar Castle - The Naggar Castle is about 22 kilometres away from Manali proper. A part of it has been converted into a heritage hotel by the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation. The castle is made of wood and stone, which gives it this rustic look. It was built by Raja Sidh Singh during the 14th century. There is a simple museum and temple within the castle premises too that you can explore. Or you can opt to dine in the in-house restaurant, taking in the views of the Beas River in front of you.
    Naggar Castle (Image Courtesy of Himachal Live)

    View Point
    • Gulaba - Gulaba is a view point en route to Rohtang Pass and it has different landscapes depending on the season. During summer and monsoons, the view point is covered in greenery and has this crisp, fresh air around it. During winter, if you're lucky, snow might be available in this view point. It's actually a great alternative to Rohtang Pass during the months that it is closed. The views of the Beas River and the snow-capped mountains are also clear from here.
    Bodies of Water
    • Beas River - Whether you're river rafting enthusiast or just want to enjoy the views of the Beas River, you can do so. With the backdrop of the mountains, it gets even more picturesque. The water here is very cold though plus it has moderate to high rapids so you need to be very careful. But if you'd like to have a picnic just beside the river, you can do that as well. You might even spot locals fishing or tending their herds near the river.
    • Bhrigu Lake - To reach Bhrigu Lake, you need to trek for about two days or more, either from Gulaba or from Vashisht Temple. The trek is very picturesque but can be challenging especially during winter time. It takes you through deodar and pine forests, plus you need shoes with good grip. According to legends, this is the place where Rishi Bhrigu meditated and thus, devotees deem the lake sacred. Many trekkers opt to camp near the lake to fully enjoy its beauty during the early morning. The views of the mountains from behind the lake are stunning. The lake itself is pretty small but exudes serenity, which is why it is worth a visit.
    Bhrigu Lake (Image Courtesy of Blog Shail)

    Hot Springs
    • Nehru Kund - Pure, natural cold water from the Bhrigu Lake flows into the Nehru Kund. Thus, if you cannot visit the lake, it's a must to visit the kund, which is only five kilometres away from Manali and approachable by road. The kund was named after the first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, who used to visit this kund and drink water from it.
    • Kalath Hot Water Springs - Kalath is a small village about six kilometres away from Manali. It is known for the hot water springs here that are believed to have curative properties due to their high sulphur content. There are bathing areas, separate ones for men and women, that you can use and enjoy the hot water in especially during winter season.
    • Jogini Waterfalls - The Jogini Waterfalls can be reached after a four kilometre trek from the Vashisht Temple. The trek takes you through deodar and pine forests, very picturesque and enjoyable. After an hour or so, you would reach the base of the waterfalls where you can indulge in a refreshing swim at the small pool. Or you can trek even further to reach the peak of the waterfalls, about 15 minutes to 30 minutes of trekking. Although it can be very beautiful to view the waterfalls from the peak, the trek is not suitable for the elderly or smaller children.
    • Jana Waterfalls - Located more closely to Naggar, you can combine a visit with the Naggar Castle and Jana Waterfalls in one day. Jana Waterfalls is easily approachable by road and if you want to reach the peak, it's only a few minutes of trekking unlike the former waterfalls. You can also swim at the small pool formed by the waterfalls below. There are some dhabas and restaurants en route to the waterfalls that you can have a meal in too. Or you can just bring your own snacks and beverages so you can enjoy a picnic near the waterfalls.
    Jana Waterfalls (Image Courtesy of Cleartrip)
    • Zana Waterfalls - This waterfall is about 35 kilometres away from Manali. It is a very bumpy ride from Manali to the waterfalls so make sure you bring a vehicle with high clearance or hire a jeep around the region. The waterfalls itself is surrounded by thick deodar forests and apple orchards which make the entire area very scenic. It's the perfect place for a small picnic but beyond that, there's not much you can do around the waterfalls. And there's only one dhaba en route to the waterfalls, so if you miss it, you won't be able to find eateries around the place anymore.
    • Rahala Waterfalls - This waterfall is about 17 kilometres away from Manali. The waterfalls fall at a height of about 8,206 feet and looks very stunning after the monsoon season. It is located en route to Rohtang Pass so you can combine a trip for these two. The water from the waterfalls are from the melting glaciers of the region, hence it is very cold.
    • Rozy Waterfalls - This waterfall can also be reached en route to Rohtang Pass. It is a fairly small waterfall though especially if you visit before the monsoon season. The good thing about this waterfall though is that it isn't as crowded unlike the Rahala Waterfalls. You can enjoy tranquility and solitude when you're in here.
    • Van Vihar National Park - The Vah Vihar National Park is located right at The Mall Road area of Manali. It is mainly a park, set amidst thick deodar and pine forests. The wildlife you can spot here are mostly of birds and small animals. There's a small children's play area too that kids can spend some time in. Boating facilities are also available as there's a small lake within the park premises. The Beas River can also be viewed from the park. Numerous benches are located within it so you can rest while enjoying the views all around you.
    • Manali Wildlife Sanctuary - For a true wildlife adventure, you can visit the Manali Wildlife Sanctuary. As compared to other wildlife sanctuaries, the Manali Wildlife Sanctuary is pretty small but that gives you more chances of seeing animals due to the higher density of the place. If you're lucky, the elusive snow leopard might go your way. If not, other animals like Himalayan black bears, musk deers, Kashmir flying squirrels and many more can be more commonly spotted. Trekking is allowed in the sanctuary so you can enjoy an authentic wildlife experience here.
    • Museum of Himachal Culture and Folk Art - Close to the Hadimba Devi Temple is the Museum of Himachal Culture and Folk Art. Much like the temple, it's a small museum with only a few items in display. It does highlight the rich heritage of the region and is a must visit for the history lovers. The entry fee is very minimal at Rs. 10 but do take an audio guide for Rs. 50 to have a complete outline of the different artefacts in the museum. There are different galleries highlighting the culture of the region. One such gallery replicated the traditional places in Manali like forts and temples, even kitchens and traditional loom for weaving shawls. Artefacts such as musical instruments, weapons, jewelries and even utensils can be viewed as well. Unusual items such as ancient weighing scales, idols and even an ancient bloodletting device are also on display.
    • Solang Valley - Solang Valley is an all-year round attraction in Manali, unlike Rohtang Pass. During summer, you can indulge in activities like paragliding, zorbing, parachuting and even horse riding. Covered by green meadows and with the warmth of the sun, the valley looks every bit as picturesque. During winter, sports like skiing, sledging and snow scootering are available here. The valley is covered by thick blankets of snow during summer, which children and even adults enjoy. There's also a ropeway here that you can ride to view the entire valley from above, it is operational all-year round.
    Solang Valley (Image Courtesy of Expand the Horizon)
    • Rohtang Pass - By the end of May, Rohtang Pass is opened to tourists. It's the best place to enjoy snow if you cannot visit Manali during winter. Activities like skiing, sledging and snow scootering are also available here. However, by November, the pass is closed for tourists as the region receives heavy snowfall that can be dangerous due to landslides and road blocks. The place is also not devoid of traffic to make sure you visit it early in order to avoid delays.
    Good luck and enjoy your trip to Manali.:)