Being Indians, we have heard about the idea of visiting Manali during the summer vacations at least a couple of times in our childhood days. Many of us must have even visited Manali several times with family and probably know all about the famous tourist spots and of course, the hot and hip Mall Road. Almost every one of us has one souvenir from the Mall road. Isn’t it?
But, there is a lot more to Manali than just the crowded tourist destinations. I am sure adventure enthusiasts know that Manali is a major trailhead and a hotspot for many other adventure sports activities.
So, let’s take a glance at what this beautiful Himachal Pradesh town is all about. You will find all you need to know about Manali here.
Manali Sightseeing Places to visit in Manali and top attractions.
PC: Swena (Trek Leader)
Manali is located in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh near the northern end of Kullu valley in the Beas river valley.
At an elevation of 6726 feet, Manali is easily reachable from most parts of North India. This brings us to our first question, Is Manali well connected to the other major cities and how to reach Manali?
Here's all you need to know about reaching Manali
1) By Road: Manali is very well connected to all major towns in Himachal Pradesh and major cities in the neighbouring states. You can always find a bus to and fro from Manali to Leh, Shimla, Kullu, Mandi, Dharamshala, Chandigarh, New Delhi etc.
Many state-run and private bus ply regularly on the route to Manali. You can also opt for a private taxi from New Delhi or Chandigarh.
Here is the distance of some major cities and towns from Manali for your reference:
It takes around 13 hours to reach Manali if you start from ISBT (Inter State Bus Terminal) at Kashmiri Gate in Delhi. Most people opt for travel from ISBT as it is very convenient. Taking an HRTC (Himachal Pradesh Road Transport) bus is recommended as they are on time and very easily available.
2) By Train: One of the cheapest ways to reach Manali is to cover half the distance by train and the rest by road. You can take a train from New Delhi to Ambala Cantt and then take a bus from there. The railway station nearest to Manali is the Jogindernagar station.
It takes 5 hours from Jogindernagar to reach Manali by road. But it is very convenient to take the Ambala train and then take a bus. Alternatively, you can take a train to Chandigarh and then take a bus or a taxi further.
3) By Air: The nearest airport to Manali is the Bhuntar airport located at a distance of approximately 50 km. The Bhuntar Airport is known as Kullu Manali airport also. Almost all major airlines in the country have direct flights to Bhuntar. You can take a taxi from Bhuntar to Manali once at the airport.
Once you have your travel all planned, it is very important to know about the weather of the place that you are headed to.
Here's the complete information about the weather and the temperature of Manali.
Knowing about the weather details will help you plan your trip and decide which is the best time for you to visit.
I truly believe that one should visit Manali in winters as well as summers, as the experiences in both seasons are quite different from each other. So here's a chance for you to decide.
1) The winter months start from October and last up till May. The average winter temperatures in Manali vary from a high of 18◦C during the days to a striking low of -15◦C during the nights.
The snowfall starts in October and lasts up till May. As the winter progresses the snowfall gets heavier during the months of December, January, February, March, and April. Most of the snow activities happen during these months of the year. It is suggested you carry heavy woollens during this season of peak winters.
2) The summer months start from June and last till September. The average summer temperatures in Manali vary from a high of 26◦C during the days to 10◦C during the nights.
The summers are mostly pleasant in Manali. It is during the summer months of August, September, and October when you can enjoy the famous Himachali apples. You can see apple trees laden with fruits during these months. Expect rainfall during the months of July, August, and September in Manali.
Manali in winters
PC: Vikas (Trek Leader)
Choosing the month or the time to travel to Manali also depends upon the kind of activities you will get to experience in Manali during your visit.
A complete list of things to do in Manali
1) Some of the most popular and touristy things to do in Manali include visiting the Mall Road and exploring the local market there. You can also visit the Hidimba Devi temple, Manu temple, Manali sanctuary and, Jogini Falls. Rohtang pass is one of the most frequented places by tourists.
2) If you are an adventure lover, then you should opt for more offbeat things. Manali hosts many adventure sports activities and is a trailhead for many Himalayan treks. At Solang Valley, you can enjoy a lot of activities like paragliding, skiing, riding a snow scooter etc.
Skiing At Manali
PC: Manjeet (Trek Leader)
3) If you thought that activities in Manali are limited to Solang valley, you are wrong. Manali is a great spot to enjoy many cycling tours and rafting as well. A few options that you can opt for are Manali Chandratal Cycling Expedition and Manali Khardungla Cycling Expedition.
Manali Khardungla Cycling expedition deserves a special mention. You cross 5 mountain passes during the 11-day cycling expedition and trust me the views are nothing less than perfect when you are on the road. The hairpin bends and the uphill ride make this expedition a thrilling and difficult challenge.
4) Rafting on the river Beas is another thrilling activity loved by many adventure enthusiasts. The rapid waters of the river give you the ultimate adrenaline rush.
5) Last but not least let's talk about the treks which start from Manali. Manali is a very popular trailhead and many treks, ranging from the easy ones to the difficult ones start from here.
Let's have a look at some of the most popular treks which start from Manali.
Broadly speaking, there are two categories in which we can divide the treks which start from Manali. Some of the treks can be categorized as popular and others as offbeat.
Some of the most popular treks starting from Manali are:
Lying at an altitude of 4200m the Hampta pass trek is indeed one of the most popular treks for which Manali is the trailhead. The trek offers mesmerizing views of the lush green Kullu valley on one side and the barren lands of the Lahaul valley on the other side. The trek is moderately difficult and can be done by beginners as well. On this trek, you also get a chance to see the beautiful Chandratal lake.
So, if you haven't done the trek yet, it's time to start looking at your calendar for some holidays.
Who would miss a chance of doing a 3-day trek from Manali to the alpine Bhrigu lake? You climb up to 14,000 ft in just 3 days and see the oval-shaped Bhrigu lake which is believed to change colour with seasons. As you hit the trail, you go through untouched forests and meadows. The famous Rola Khuli campsite is another major highlight of the trek. It is an easy trek that can be done by anyone. A perfect first trek for those who want to get a taste of the trekking world.
Next time you plan a visit to Manali, don't forget to include this trek in your plan!
If you are not a great fan of crowded trails, then try going on these offbeat trails. they sure are pristine, untouched and at their best.
As you start from the Solang Valley the trail takes you through alpine meadows and forests of oak and deodar. The campsites offer panoramic views of the entire Kullu valley and Hanuman Tibba, Friendship Peak, and Manali Peak. The Patalsu peak offers a bird's eye view of the entire Kullu valley along with the views of Lahaul valley. the moderate level trek is still majorly undiscovered and we recommend everyone to try this trek.
The Ghepan Ghat trek is like an unknown jewel lying in the Himalayan belly. Even our recce team was baffled by its remoteness. The trek starts from a small village called Sissu which lies on the Manali Leh highway. All along the trail, you can see the Ghepan peak towering above you. The glacial lake is vibrantly blue, remote and untouched, The 5-day trek is completely worth it.
Located in the relatively untouched Dhauladhar range of Himachal Pradesh, the Kalihani Pass at 4850 M is a one-of-a-kind trail that combines absolute beauty with the ultimate thrill. The Pass has an intriguing story of its own as it is a part of the famous Bara Bhangal trail connecting the two valleys of Kullu and Kangra. On top of being treated to a vast array of flowers. one can expect breathtaking campsites, dense meadows and an adventure-packed pass climb that takes you through a steep trail full of scree, moraine and glistening white snow.
Therefore, in conclusion, the one thing we can say about Manali is that it is one Himalayan town that has it all. You can go and do the touristy stuff or go and explore the inner adventurer in you.
The next time you plan your trip to Manali, this handy article can be very helpful in making the most of the trip.