Manali Travel Guide

Ankita | Updated on March 2, 2022

An unparalleled beauty, Manali is a hill station at the northern end of Kullu Valley, which is often called the Valley of the Gods. Over the years, the small town has become a favourite holiday destination for adventure seekers as it is a popular location for white water river rafting and skiing. Legends believe that Manali gets its name after Manu, a Sanatan Hindu lawgiver, got down from his ark in the town and recreated human beings after a great flood that wiped humanity across the globe. There is a temple dedicated to Manu in Old Manali village.

It was the British that introduced apple trees to the region as before that no one had ever grown the fruit there. Today, apples along with pears and plums have become a major source of income for several locals. Manali was a quiet town with very few visitors until the 1980s. The disturbances in Kashmir caused tour agencies to promote Manali as a tourist destination and the vibe is still today. Most people visit Manali during the summer months as winter gets very chilly.

Surrounded by magical snow-capped landscapes, Kasol is a hamlet in the Parvati Valley. It is backpacking heaven for youngsters as it is cheap and offers unreal views of the Himalayan nature and culture. Kasol has earned the nickname of Little Israel because receives a lot of Israeli tourists and for the abundance of Israeli and Hebrew cafes spread across the town. It is located only 75 kilometres from Manali and has still maintained its original charm.

Best Places to Explore in Manali

A tourist hotspot, Manali has so much to offer to every kind of traveller from backpackers to honeymooners. You can easily spend three to four days in the town and have a relaxing time visiting the locations, eating local food, and interacting with the locals. The Hadimba temple is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Manali. The temple complex is covered in tall pine trees and its architecture gives us a glimpse into ancient Himalayan art.

Museum of Himachal Culture & Folk Art is only a few steps from the temple and houses many unknown Himachali weapons, ancient utensils, scale models, and religious relics. Not many know, but Manali has a well-respected Tibetan community. Two monasteries that have caught everyone’s attention for their art and culture include Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa and Himalayan Nyingmapa Gompa.

After a long day travelling around, visit the Vashisht Temple for its hot springs bath and just relax and unwind. Nehru Kund is another beautiful location. It is named after India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru after he drank water from the cold water natural spring. Solang Valley, Kothi, Rahala Falls, Naggar Village, and Arjuna Cave are some more places you should visit.

Best Time to Visit Manali

Manali is open all year round and is the perfect escape from the blistering heat of your city life. In winters, it turns into a winter wonderland and a retreat for snow adventure sports lovers. Summer lasts from March to June and you get to enjoy outdoor activities in the Solang Valley. Mostly families with young children visit during this time and the hotel and food costs sore because of the increased tourist activity.

September to February are the winters month and an ideal time to capture snowfall and indulge in winter sports like snow gliding and skiing. The hotel prices drop greatly and the food is cheap as well. December and January are the coldest months, which means more snow and fewer people. If you are strong-heated and ready to bear the cold, visiting Manali during these months will turn into the most memorable trip of your life.

It rains heavily in July and August in Manali and therefore, not recommended to visit. Also, the town is prone to landslides and rock slides.

Places to Stay in Manali

If you want to stay away from the traffic and don’t plan to travel a lot, Leh-Manali highway and Vashisht are two great locations. It gives you the perfect opportunity to de-stress and admire the nature around you. Simsa is another great option as it is close to the city centre but enjoys seclusion and a lot of pine trees and views of snow-capped mountains. It has some of the most amazing cafes and restaurants where you can try local Himachali food and alcohol.

Hadimba Road and Deodar are a bit far away from the city centre but they are all around nature. You can take long walks in the Dhungri Forest and get to know the local culture.

Why You Must Visit There?

Even with the commercialism and increased tourist activity, Manali has been successful in maintaining its old-school charm. It is a versatile location and has something special to offer to every kind of traveller. It is well-connected to the rest of the state, so travelling to other locations like Shimla, Kasol, and Rasol is hassle-free. You get to experience the Himachali culture, the temples, and nature at its finest.

There is something about the mountains that just helps you clear your mind and restart the daily routine with renewed energy and enthusiasm. And let’s not forget about the lofty mountain views you get to wake up to every day while you are there. The Rohtang Pass is only 50 kilometres from Manali and a perfect location for family adventures.

Do you want to try mountain biking? Manali is the best place for it. Then there is the Naggar Castle, which is the former home of Raja Sidh Singh. It was built in 1460 on the banks of the Beas River and gives everyone a peek into the confluence of British and Indian architecture. No visit to Manali is complete without spending a day at the Manali Sanctuary. It is home to many Himalayan animals and birds including musk deer, Ibex, brown bears, snow leopards, and monals.

Best Places to Eat in Manali

Restaurants in Manali beat restaurants all around the world for their mesmerising valley views and cosy interiors. From wine-tasting sessions to eating local cheese, you will get to do everything in Manali. Most of the restaurants are located on Mall Road and offer a variety of cuisines including Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese, and North Indian foods.

You also get amazing coffee and desserts in Manali. If you want to experience the local dishes, dine away from the city centre and near the tourist locations. Try the different parathas, jams, and fresh fruit salads made from local produce.

Best Itinerary You Must Try

Reach Delhi via road, rail, or air. Rest for the day and take an evening bus or taxi to Kasol. Spend two nights surrounded by nature and take a night bus to Manali. Enjoy the next four nights visiting temples, valleys, and monasteries of the town. Reserve one day for adventure sports and trying out local delicacies. Travel to Dharamshala, where you can stay overnight. Take a bus to Delhi and depart for your city.