Manali is a Valley nestled in the mountains of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh near the northern end of the Kullu Valley, at an altitude of 2,050 m (6,726 ft) in the Beas River Valley. It is located in the Kullu district, about 270 km (168 mi) north of the state capital, Shimla, 309 km (192 miles) northeast of Chandigarh and 544 km (338 miles) northeast of Delhi, the federal capital. The small town, with a population of 8,096, is the beginning of an ancient trade route to Ladakh and from there over the Karakoram Pass on to Yarkand and Khotan in the Tarim Basin. It is a popular tourist destination and serves as the gateway to Lahaul & Spiti district as well as Leh.
Surrounded by high peaks in the beautiful green Beas valley, with mountain adventures beckoning from all directions, Manali is a year-round magnet. Backpackers come to hang out in the hippie villages around the main town; adventurers come for trekking, climbing, rafting and skiing; Indian families and honeymooners come for the mountain air and a taste of snow on the 3978m Rohtang La pass. It makes sense to unwind and feed up here for a few days while organising your trip into the mountains.
So popular has Manali become among Indian tourists that this once bucolic retreat now has an estimated 800 to 1000 hotels and guesthouses in the town and outskirts, and from mid-April to mid-July, mid-September to mid-October, and over Christmas–New Year it gets pretty well overrun, with dire traffic jams along its narrow lanes and the main roads approaching town.
Manali is located at 32.2396 N, 77.1887 E, about 40 km (25 mi) north of Kullu town. The town ranges in elevation from 1,800 m (5,900 ft) to 2,000 m (6,600 ft) in the uppermost Old Manali section.
The climate in Manali is predominantly cold during winter and moderately cool during summer. The temperatures range from 4 °C (39 °F) to 26 °C (79 °F) over the year. The average temperature during summer is between 10 °C (50 °F) and 26 °C (79 °F), and between −15 °C (5 °F) and 12 °C (54 °F) in the winter.
Manali is named after the Sanatan Hindu lawgiver Manu. The name Manali is regarded as the derivative of ‘Manu-Alaya’ which literally means ‘the abode of Manu’. Legend has it that sage Manu stepped off his ark in Manali to recreate human life after a great flood had deluged the world. Manali lies in the North of Kullu Valley. The valley is often referred to as the ‘Valley of the Gods’. Old Manali village has an ancient temple dedicated to sage Manu.
The British introduced apple trees in the area. The first apple orchard was set up by the British near Patlikuhl, prior to this no Apple trees grew in the area. To this day, apple—along with plum and pear—remain the best source of income for the majority of inhabitants. Both Rainbow and Brown Trout was also introduced into the rivers and streams of the area by the colonisers.
Before other luminaries started visiting Manali, the Indian nation’s first Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru favoured this as a holiday destination in the mountains.
With the increase in disposable incomes and somewhat owing to the rise of disturbances in Kashmir in the late 1980s, Manali witnessed a surge in tourist traffic. This once quiet village was transformed into a bustling town with numerous homestays as well as the occasional luxury boutique hotel and spa. During the warmer summer months, cafes and restaurants can be seen doing brisk business.
What To See And Do
A small village located on the left bank of river Beas towards Rohtang pass is worth visiting. It is renowned for its hot springs and temples. Nearby is the pyramidal stone temple
dedicated to Vashisht Muni. There is another Temple of Lord Ram here. Natural hot sulphur springs with two separate bathing tanks for gents and ladies are always full of tourists.
Turkish style showers fitted baths have also been built nearby. Hot water from the nearby spring is provided for bathing.
DHOONGRI TEMPLE dedicated to Goddess Hadimba is the chief centre of interest, historically and archeologically. It has fourtiered Pagoda shaped roof and the doorway is carved with legendary figures and symbols. This temple located amidst wooden forest of deodar is about 2.5 kms. from the tourist office. It is a pleasant experience to stroll in the temple complex which was built in 1533 A.D. A large festival is held here in the month of May.
(3979 m) is 51kms. from Manali on highway to Keylong / Leh. It offers a panorama and spectacular mountain view. The pass is open from June to October each year although trekkers can
cross it earlier. It is a gateway to Lahaul Spiti, Pangi and Leh valley just as Zojila pass is a gatway to Ladakh. There are a beautiful sight of glaciers, peaks and Chandra river flows
down in the Lahaul valley. Slightly to the left are the twin peaks of the Geypan. During summer (mid June to October) regular buses ply between Manali-Keylong / Darcha, Udaipur,
Spiti and Leh. Rohtang Pass is best visitable between May/ June to October / November.
is a splendid valley between Solang village and Beas Kund. Solang valley offers the view of glaciers and snow capped mountains and peaks. It has fine ski slopes. The winter skiing
festival is organised here. Training in skiing is imparted at this place.
Where To Stay
There are many Hotels and Resorts available in Manali. Such as Silvermoon, Moutain Face, Nagesh/ Snow Park/Surya International, Kalinga Grand/ A Star Regency /Venus Villa Cottage etc.
How To Get Around
The nearest airport Bhuntar Airport (IATA code KUU) is at Bhuntar town, situated on NH21 about 50 km (31 mi) south of Manali and 10 km (6.2 mi) south of Kullu town. The airport is also known as Kullu-Manali airport and has more than a kilometre long runway. Air India has regular flights to the airport from New Delhi. Recently another operator ‘Himalayan Bulls’ has started flights on Kullu-Chandigarh-Kullu sector thrice a day. International connecting flights naturally are from Delhi’s IGI Airport.
Manali can be reached from Delhi by national highway NH 1 up to Ambala and from there NH 22 to Chandigarh and from there by national highway NH21 that passes through Bilaspur, Sundernagar, Mandi and Kullu towns. The road distance from Chandigarh to Manali is 310 km (190 mi), and the total distance from Delhi to Manali is 570 km (350 mi). Luxury buses (including Volvos) usually ply overnight on this route and are available from all major bus terminals. Besides 12 Non-AC services, HRTC (Himachal Road Transport Corporation) runs five daily Volvo and AC buses on Delhi-Manali route and two separate Volvos by HPTDC (Himachal Tourism Development Corporation).
There is no close railhead available close to Manali. The nearest broad gauge railheads are at Una 250 km (155 mi) away, Kiratpur Sahib 268 km (167 mi), Kalka (275 km (171 mi)), Chandigarh (310 km (193 mi)), and Pathankot (325 km (202 mi)) . The nearest narrow gauge railhead is at Joginder Nagar (175 kilometres (109 mi)). The Kalka–Shimla Railway is nostalgic narrow gauge route culminating at the state capital of Shimla wherefrom one has to travel by road to Manali.
See Bilaspur–Mandi–Leh line for the proposed railway line through this area. As of 2016 no activity is happening on this front.
Manali is 275 km away from Shimla. One can come by road to Manali.