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Which is better Auli or Manali?

Discussion in 'Himachal Pradesh' started by GHR, Oct 10, 2016.

  1. GHR

    GHR New Member

    In Himachal Pradesh, there are many popular holiday destinations such as Shimla, Manali, Kullu, Auli, and others. I have been to Shimla and am interested in going to either Auli or Manali this time.
    For those of you have been the Himachal Pradesh before or been to these destinations, please advice which is better Auli or Manali?

    Please state which destination Auli or Manali has more to see and do.

    How do these destinations differ from each other?
  2. vkar

    vkar Member

    This is the third thread I have come across today comparing Manali to other places :) Anyway, Auli and Manali are both good and beautiful places. The main difference is that Auli is more popular among people seeking winter/adventure sports. If you want a quiet time off and sight seeing , Manali is the place to be. But if you want to take part in winter sports like skiing or water sports etc. Auli is probably among the best places in India.
  3. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hi there, welcome to the forum!

    Auli and Manali are quite different destinations. For instance, Auli is in Chamoli in Uttarakhand while Manali is near Kullu in Himachal Pradesh. Comparing them is very much difficult as they're touted as different tourist destinations. Both are beautiful in their own ways though and definitely worth a visit, comparisons aside.

    Auli is a hill station surrounded by nearby peaks of Nanda Devi, Mana Parvat, Dunagiri and many more. In fact, these mountain ranges are quite visible from Auli itself. It's in a remote location and mainly known as a winter skiing destination. Unlike other hill stations, Auli is rarely crowded nor congested since it has only gained popularity during recent times. Its landscapes differ as well during summer and winter season, whereas it is covered by green meadows during the former and thick blankets of snow during the latter.


    Manali, on the other hand, is a well-known hill station destination in the country. It's relatively less crowded than Shimla though but a bit more crowded as compared to Auli. It is surrounded by the mountain ranges of Patalsu, Ladakhi, Pir Panjal and many more. It lies on the banks of the Beas River as well. Primarily, Manali is also a winter destination due to the plethora of activities that you can do during this time. But even during summer season, it's not rare to find tourists in the hill station.

    Now, let us go through the main differences between these hill stations:

    1. Accessibility
    • Auli - Although Auli doesn't have its own airport or railway station, it's still connected to other cities in the country by Rishikesh. If you'd like to take a flight, just reach the Jolly Grant Airport which is about 180 kilometres away from Auli. From there, you can ride a taxi or a bus to reach Auli. If travelling by train, you can reach the Rishikesh Railway Station and from there board another bus going to Auli. By road, Auli is also well-connected to main cities like Rishikesh, Joshimath and Pauri. Roads are average though and the ride can be quite bumpy. However, if you're travelling to Auli during the winter season, the roads leading to Auli are all closed. So you need to reach Joshimath and from there, ride the ropeway going to Auli. By ropeway, you can reach Auli in about 10 to 15 minutes from Joshimath. There's also a chair lift ride from the GMVN Tourist Centre that can take you to Auli.
    • Manali - Manali is easily reachable especially if you're coming from Delhi. From this city, there are direct buses going to Manali (HPTDC, HRTC and private buses). If you cannot reach Delhi or you come from other parts of India, you can take a train to reach Chandigarh. From Chandigarh, there are frequent buses going to Manali, which is about 310 kilometres away. For those wanting to reach Manali via flight, you can reach the Bhuntar Airport, which is about 50 kilometres away from the city centre of Manali. From the airport, you can just ride a taxi to reach the city centre. By road, there are well-laid paths to reach Manali. But during winter season, the roads leading to Rohtang Pass are closed.
    2. Best Time to Visit
    • Auli - The best season to visit Auli is of course during the winter season, this is from December to February. These are the months with abundant snowfall and you can indulge in winter activities like skiing and sledging. Temperatures range between 4°C to 17°C during these months. December and January are the coldest months with temperatures reaching below zero degree. But Auli can also be visited during the summer season, from March to May. During these months, you can indulge in trekking and hiking as the days are pleasant enough for these activities. Monsoon season is a good time to visit if you enjoy greenery and rainfall. Rates are also lower for hotels during this time so it's a good option for budget travellers.
    • Manali - For snow, Manali should be visited during the winter season, from October to February. You can go to Solang Valley and indulge in winter activities. Temperatures can go below zero especially during December and January. During summer season, Manali is a good destination as well and the pleasant climate is a good respite from the heat of the city plains. You can indulge in adventure activities during this time as well. It is also during the month of May that Rohtang Pass becomes open to tourists. Lastly, the monsoon season is yet another good time to visit Manali, especially if you'd like to indulge in river rafting.
    3. Accommodations
    • Auli - You have limited options for hotels in Auli. In fact, there were only two hotels in the area for some time, the Clifftop Club and the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Lodge. However, there were two hotels added recently, the Devi Darshan Lodge and the Royal Village. If you'd like more options, you can opt to stay in Joshimath or Bandrinath as there are more options in these places. If you're staying in Auli, you can book these hotels online and also inquire about their services and facilities.
    • Manali - There are plenty of hotels in Manali ranging from budget to luxury ones. There are over 130 hotels in Manali, not included are the numerous guest houses and home stays in the region. If you'd like to stay in the city centre and be near the commercial areas, there are plenty of options like the Johnson Lodge, Hotel Himgiri and many more. Then, there are also hotels located on the outskirts of the city centre like the Anantmaya Resort, Snow Peak Retreat and Solang Valley Resort. Make sure that you book a hotel in advance if going during the peak season.
    4. Dining Options
    • Auli - Your only restaurant options in Auli are the ones in the hotels themselves. Thus, there are not many dining options in the hill station aside from these ones. Menus in these hotels are also not that extensive. If you'd like more options for food, just go to Joshimath and you'd be spoiled for choices there. But for a short trip, these restaurants in Auli would do or you can always just bring your own snacks and beverages.
    • Manali - There are many cafes, dhabas, eateries and restaurants around Manali. Just around its city centre, you can choose from different restaurants with a variety of local and international cuisines. Some of the best rated restaurants here are Il Forno, Mom's Kitchen and Mount View Restaurant. If you want to try just the local cuisine, go to Old Manali and try out the different cafes there. There are many choices, from The Lazy Dog, Cafe 1947 and more.
    5. Attractions
    • Auli - When it comes to sightseeing, Auli doesn't have much to offer to tourists. You can visit the Auli Artificial Lake and venture further into other attractions like the Gorson Bugyal, the Trishul Peak and the Kwani Bugyal. However the last three attractions require some trekking before you can reach them. Since Auli is primarily a skiing destination, its slopes are the main attraction here. So if you're looking for a destination where there are historical places or religious places to visit, then Auli won't fit for you.
    • Manali - This hill station has a number of temples that you can visit like the Hadimba Temple, Maa Sharvari Temple and Vashisht Temple. For natural attractions, there's the Beas River and the Jogini Waterfalls. A little bit further from Manali, Solang Valley and Rohtang Pass are perfect destinations for adventure lovers. Thus, Manali is a perfect destination for those seeking some sightseeing and touristy activities.

    6. Activities
    • Auli - The main activity that you can do in Auli during winter is skiing. Auli has gentle and smooth slopes fit for beginner skiers. There are also slopes here that are more challenging, fit for those who have some experience in skiing already. If you're up for it, you can also indulge in trekking during the winter although the cold temperature and slippery paths can be difficult to traverse. During summer season, hiking is a favourite activity amongst tourists. As mentioned before, tourist attractions like the Gorson Bugyal and Kwani Bugyal need some form of trekking before they can be reached.
    • Manali - There are plenty of activities to do around Manali. Aside from sightseeing, you can try rafting in the Beas River or the Raison River. Something less adventurous would be bird watching in the Manali Sanctuary. You can also go to the Solang Valley and join in the winter activities like skiing, snow scootering and sledging. If you're visiting during the summer season, you can go to the Rohtang Pass and you might still be able to see and play with snow here. During summer season, you can do activities like paragliding, zorbing and even trekking.
    So in summary:

    AccessibilityEasily accessible except during winter season Easily accessible all-year round except for Rohtang Pass which is closed during winter
    Best season to visitWinter for snow & summer for trekking but mostly visited during winterWinter for snow activities and summer for other activities but can be visited all-year round
    AccommodationsLimited and mostly high endPlenty, ranging from budget to luxury ones plus home stays and guest houses
    RestaurantsLimited to hotelsPlenty around the city centre and Old Manali
    AttractionsFew and some requires trekking to reachPlenty but requires some travelling time as they are located quite far from each other
    ActivitiesSkiing during winter, trekking during summerSkiing, snow scootering, heli skiing & playing with snow during winter and paragliding, zorbing & trekking during summer
    There you go, I hope this guide helps you in choosing between Auli and Manali. Auli is mainly a skiing and winter destination and it doesn't have much to offer when it comes to accommodations and even attractions. On the other hand, Manali caters more to adventure lovers and has plenty of attractions that you can visit. It also has plenty of dining and hotel options.

    Good luck!:)

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