With the summers upon us, a trip to the hills sounds like a welcome respite. Each hill station has it’s own particular charm that is more than just beautiful views, languid walks and uphill climbs on horseback. This week, we’re covering some of the prominent attractions in Manali, which has something for everyone.
Shopping: Whether curios, woolens or trinkets, one can definitely spot some good finds in the markets of Manali. We would advise heading to the markets of Old Manali for it’s charm and if you like the hustle bustle of such markets and the bargaining process.
Food: Manali has comfort food for everyone’s palate. North Indian, Israeli, Pizzas… Whatever you fancy, you’re likely to find it here. A good place to start exploring is the Old Manali market where the lanes are teeming with small eateries. Some other places to try are cafes/restaurants like LazyDog, Café 1947, among others.
Nightlife: Head to Johnson’s Bar & Restaurant to sit back, enjoy the music over a drink and celebrate the end of a day well spent in Manali.
Adventure Sports:Solang Valley is the best bet to try your hand at multiple activities. During summer time, one can join a trekking group organized by the Mountaineering Foundation, Zorbing down the slopes of the valley, Camping in the valley, horseback rides for kids and adults, or maybe, even just laying down a mat for a picnic with the family. During winter months (Novemeber- April), one can go skiing. Alternatively, one can opt for paragliding through the year (except when local weather conditions are adverse or during monsoon time). One can also go skiing and trekking in Gulaba.
Indoor Activities for Kids: This one is for when the weather gods are playing hokey: head to the Manali Club House to try your hand at a any of a wide range of activities from video games, go karting, river crossing, boat rides etc.
Spiritual & Cultural Trips: Manali has a wide range of temples with a lot of mythological history. Some of the popular ones are the Hidimba Devi Temple- a Pagoda style temple where one can experience a lot of serenity; Manu Temple- the only temple dedicated to the sage Manu, who is believed to have been the creator of the human race on Earth and; the Vashisht Temple & Hot Water Springs- it is believed that Laxman (from the Ramayan) fired an arrow and the springs originated from the point where the arrow made contact with the ground. This temple is believed to be close to 4000 years old and the Springs are very popular as the hot sulphur springs are believed to have medicinal properties. There are several Buddhist monasteries in the region such as the Manali Gompa, Gadhan Thekchoking Gompa and the Himalayan Nyingamapa Gompa, among others. The Manikaran Gurudwara is another popular place of interest.
Sightseeing: Sightseeing options in Manali are aplenty but some of the more popular ones are the Rohtang Pass (this is one of the major attractions here however, the Pass is only open during the summer months), Rahala Falls, Jogini Falls, Van Vihar (a protected national park that also has a small boating area inside), the Museum of Himachal Culture & Folk Art (this is near the Hidimba Devi Temple), the Beas River, Chandrataal Lake or the Beas Kund, Bhrigu Lake, the Pandoh Dam and the Kothi Village.