Located in the state of Himachal Pradesh, Manali is home to various beauteous attractions and draws hordes of tourists every year who come to enjoy the sceneries and attractions of the place as also to take part in various fun activities such as rafting, mountaineering and trekking that engage many people. Read on to learn in details about Manali, the tourist places out there, the culture of this beautiful hill station and many more.
Manali is situated on the northern end of the Kullu Valley, at a height of 1,926 meters. It is in the state of Himachal Pradesh and the name of place, Manali, literally stands for the ‘Home of Manu.’ Manu, for the uninitiated, is a character in Indian mythology and he was just like Noah of the Bible. He managed to survive the great Flood that drowned the entire world. When the flood subsided, he came to Manali and recreated life again. Naturally, Manali is sacred and is regarded as the Home of Manu. Hindus consider a trip to the temples in Manali as pilgrimage.
For ordinary tourists, Manali holds a magical charm with its awesome mountains and landscape with lush green beauty and exciting sceneries. A trip to Manali can make you enjoy various images, comprising of that of flowery meadows, winding rivers, Hindu temples, Buddhist monasteries, glaciers and snow-capped mountains that seem to have come right out of a fairy tale.
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Tourist Places in Manali
As one of the most famous destinations for tourists in India, Manali has numerous attractions for tourists. Know about some of the most visited places of interest in Manali:
01. Hadimba Temple
It is also known by the name Dhungri Temple and it has been made out of stone and wood. This temple was erected in 1553 as a mark of respect for Goddess Hadimba, who is mentioned in the Hindu epic Mahabharata as the wife of Bhim, one of the Pandava brothers. The walls of the Hadimba temple are covered with exquisite woodcarvings. Animal sacrifices are made in this temple on the month of May and the sacrifices are done for the Dhungri Mela that goes on for 3 days.
02. Buddhist Monasteries
A large number of Tibetans have their homes in Manali. Naturally, you can come across a lot of beautiful Buddhist monasteries in this place. Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa Monastery is one of the most famous monasteries in this region. It is very popular for being the home to the medium-sized Lord Buddha statue and also for its multi-colored wall paintings. The Himalayan Nyingamapa Gompa is another famous monastery that is well-known for a huge statue of Lord Buddha. The statue has a golden face.
03. Rohtang Pass
It is located at a height of 13,050 feet above the sea level. On the Manali-Keylong road, it forms the highest point. This pass is open only from May through November as at other times heavy snowfall makes passage impossible through this route.
04. Solang Valley
It is a very popular destination for skiing. In this valley, the biggest destination is undoubtedly the 300-meter ski lift.
05. Old Manali
Old Manali is situated 2.5 km higher than the Mall and still manages to give you the feeling of a mountain village. It consists of many old stone and wood homes. Other than these, you can also find the Manu Maharishi Temple that is dedicated to the founder of Manali, Manu who has been mentioned before.
06. Nehru Kund
It is a fresh water spring that is situated on the Manali-Keylong road. The spring has been named after the first Prime Minister of India – Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. It is generally said that he drank water from this stream whenever he came to Manali.
Local Culture of Manali
In Manali, the festivals and culture reflect the unique social and cultural lifestyle of the natives of the place. The rich ancestral heritage and traditional legacy of the place finds expression in its varied culture. The heritage and legacy has seeped into the modern era and is still there in some form or the other. The cultural traits of this area has not been changed or affected by the rapid industrialization in the region. The traditional culture and values of the society are still there in Manali.
Prior to the Dussehra festival that is held in January, Winter Carnival is hosted in Manali. During this Carnival, singing and dancing competitions are organized and local talent is displayed through these. At the time of Dussehra festival, the whole of Manali wears a festive look and performances and plays celebrate the local deities. At the time of festivals, rural fairs and weddings are organized in villages across the valley. Local handicrafts, cuisine and dances showcase local customs and traditions. You can visit the area at this time to soak in the crafts, foods and many outdoor activities of Manali. Many travel and tour companies organize biking and trekking tours in the area that can help you explore local markets, temples, museums and more.
The awesome valleys of Manali house various indigenous tribes in the area. Various ethnic tribes inhabiting the area follow distinctive social customs and cultural patterns. The tribal community if Kinnaur is regarded as one of the main local residents of the valley. Kinnaur has an equalitarian society which believes in similar labor division between the males and the females. Another important tribe in the area, the Gujjars, is usually known as the wandering tribe of the area.
Manali is famous for its indigenous dance and folk songs and is blessed with rich traditional crafts and art from ancient days. The dancers, accompanied with melodious and enchanting folk songs, practice the art with great enthusiasm and precision.
The indigenous tribal people of the region prefer to sport traditional garments. These attractive and colorful clothes are generally spun out of wool and reflect local culture at its best.
The culture, festivals and people of Manali showcase the varied socio-cultural life of the region.
Best Time to Visit Manali
Manali has an extremely cold climate, due to its location in the Himalayas. The snow line is not situated too far from this region. Due to its altitude, Manali has a cool climate that is loved by everyone. While the winters can be extremely harsh, summers are cool. In the winter months, the snow line comes down. With a lot of snowfall in the area, you need heavy woolens for survival. As a result of heavy rainfall during the winter months, landslides occur and disrupt movement. It is best to visit Manali from May to October. However, if you love snow, you may also visit the region during the winter months.
The whole town of Manali is surrounded by green patches. The whole valley is known to provide the best scenic view in India, according to some sources. It is very popular with trippers due to its beautiful, virgin natural beauty. Manali, with its rich scenic splendor, attracts a lot of tourists from various parts of India as well as from abroad each year.
Activities in Manali
Various adventurous sports can be practiced in Manali, due to the varied topography of Himachal Pradesh. Trippers can take part in various sporting events in the region. Some of the most popular sports activities in the area:
Manali offers exciting opportunities to go trekking and explore its numerous beauties, such as rivers, forests, high mountains and valleys. It is the quest for freedom and a love to explore the unknown in nature that has attracted people from time to time. Manali is home to wilderness, streams, springs, mountains, forests and a lot of natural attractions that can provide you with great company as you trek. It can provide trekkers with the ultimate enjoyment and satisfaction. If you are a nature lover, you will love to experience the beauties that Manali has on offer for you.
All through the year, Paragliding is organized at Solang Valley which is situated 14 kms from the town of Manali and other areas such as Bijli Mahadev, Fatru and Marhi.
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It can be organized at Solang Valley, which is situated 14 kms away from Manali. You can go paragliding on the months of January and February at Solang Valley. In Rohtang, Gulaba, Dhundi and Marhi, paragliding is organized from March to the middle of June based on the condition of the snow. You would require gloves, sunglasses, warm clothes and woolen caps to survive the weather. You need to be fit enough to be able to carry the equipment for skiing – which is 8 kgs at least – up the slope and to the skiing point.
The snow-clad rivers of Himachal Pradesh offer a lot of opportunities for people who love rafting. You can go rafting in the rivers Satluj, Beas, Ravi and Chandrabhaga that offer numerous opportunities of whitewater rafting. You can have a great skiing holiday in the Solang Nullah Valley. The snowy slopes in this place offer great attractions in the form of skiing competitions.
You can also go mountaineering in the region of Manali. For tourists, the region has amazing potential and it has many opportunities for amateurs. There is also a mountaineering institute in Manali which is a famous base for skiing in winter and mountaineering and trekking in the months of summer. Trekking enthusiast can get exciting routes in the adjacent valleys over high passes. They can also get rest houses and tourist huts to take rest in and soak in the beauty of the place.