Manali is one of the most explored tourist destinations in India after Goa. The snow-capped peaks, meandering Beas river, and the tall deodar trees is something that will make your heart pound widely. When I first visited this place I had to do a lot of research on How to and when to plan a trip to Manali, so I thought of writing an article on Manali keeping those people in mind who will be visiting Manali for the very first time.
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Manali is high altitude town in Kullu valley of Himachal Pradesh. It is located at a distance of 531km from the national capital Delhi. In the past few years, this place has been ranked top in terms of most searched tourist destination in India after Goa. When entire India suffers from the soaring temperatures during summers, this place experiences a fresh snowfall making it a perfect destination to abandon summer heat. With around three to four thousand hotels in the area, Manali is also a very comfortable destination for backpackers and newlywed couples.
Best time to visit Manali
The best time to visit Manali is during the scorching hot months of May and June. These months are often referred to as the peak season of Himachal Pradesh tourism. Tourists come flocking in huge numbers to get rid of summer heat but the only disadvantage to visiting Manali at that time is the long-stagnant queues of vehicles. Roads are jammed, the cab prices are exorbitant, and hotels are more expensive than usual. If you ask me, I would suggest visiting this place in March, October, or November, when the crowd is less intimidating and the prices are more affordable.
How to reach Manali
The nearest airport to Manali is the Bhuntar airport which lies at a distance of 48km from the hill station. One can take a flight directly from Delhi to Bhuntar, and from Bhuntar a cab can be taken to reach Manali. One can also take a flight from Chandigarh to Bhuntar.
As discussed earlier, Manali lies at a distance of 531km from Delhi. One can either book a cab from Delhi to Manali or go for the alternate option of traveling by a Volvo bus. If you go for a cab it will cost you around Rs 5000-7000, while a Volvo bus ticket will cost you around Rs 1000 per person.
I would suggest you go for Volvo buses – this is one of the cheapest and fastest ways to reach Manali. Besides, these buses are very comfortable and air-conditioned. It takes around 12 hours to reach Manali from Delhi by a Volvo bus, making it an easy overnight journey.
Places to visit in Manali
LA means pass in Tibetan language. Rohtang pass is a connecting link between Kullu and Lahaul Spiti district. This place lies at a distance of 50km from Manali and is considered the most visited place in the area. During summers this is the only place in Manali where one can find snow.
Named after the local goddess Jogini Devi this waterfall is also known as the Niagara Falls of Himachal Pradesh. The huge waterfall gushing down is a treat for the eyes. In order to reach this place, one can trek from a small village named Vasisth in Manali. The trek to the waterfall’s base will take around 2 hours, and the route lies through the dense and extremely picturesque deodar forest.
A kilometer or two long street covered with colorful souvenir shops and cafes reflects the spirit of old Manali. It’s a famous hub for backpackers, and foreigners, who come here flocking in huge numbers, enjoy the serenity and calmness of nature. Old Manali is also a home to a number of classic cafes and hostels. The best time to visit old Manali is during the evening hours and on weekends.
If you’re interested in Indian architecture, visiting this temple in Manali is a must. It’s a Pagoda styled structure that reaches 24 meters in height. Every year thousands of people visit this place and offer their prayers to Hadimba Devi, the local goddess.
So these were my suggestions for places to visit in Manali.
About the author: Rahul Sharma is an engineer by profession but a traveler by heart. For more information, visit his blog, Walking Wanderer.