is situated at an altitude of 1,829 m in Himachal Pradesh. It is the
main tourist destination of the Kullu Valley. Suggested clothing -
heavy/light woolens in winter & summer. It receives an annual
rainfall of 1,780 mm. In summer Manali
packed with Pahari speaking Kullus, Lahaulis, Nepali labourers, Tibetan
refugees and foreign and Indian tourists. Apple growing has been the
mainstay of the local economy. Manali is the centre of a flourished
orchard industry. A host of small shops, restaurants and small hohotels
provide the necessities of daily life. Every year more hotels are opened
in and around Manali.
Manali offers the best of northwestern
Himalayan beauty, second only to Kashmir valley. The twin towns of Kullu
and Manali, approximately 40 km apart lie on the Beas River valley. The
Beas River is snow fed by scores of tributaries originating in the
glacial peaks surrounding the valley. The highest peaks average 6000 to
6500 m above sea level.
Manali is well connected by road to
Delhi through NH-21 which goes on the Leh and is the world's highest
motorable road. Leading up to Manali from New Delhi are the towns of
Panipat and Ambala in Haryana, Chandigarh and Ropar in Punjab, and
Bilaspur, Sundernagar, and Mandi in Himachal. The road to Manali
features a gradual change in flora, fauna, lifestyle, and language.
Despite being at high altitudes, the twin towns are still at the bottom
of the valley. Past Manali, the change in climate and lifestyle is
abrupt, moving further and higher into the mountains at the periphery of
the windward side led by high mountain passes on to the dry plateau type
leeward side. The road from Manali to Leh features a strong Buddhist
influence, with frequent Buddhist gompas and stupas along the arid
Manali has a pre-historic legend behind its name.
Vaivasvata, the seventh incarnation of Manu, the first creation
according to Hindu mythology, found a tiny fish in his bathing water.
The fish told him to look after it with devotion, for one day it would
do him a great service. The seventh Manu cared for the fish until it
grew so huge that he released it into the sea. Before departing, the
fish warned Manu of an impending deluge when the entire world would be
submerged and bade him to build a seaworthy ark. When the flood came,
Matsya (fish), the first avatar of Lord Vishnu, towed Vaivasvata and the
Seven Sages to safety. As the waters subsided, the seventh Manu's ark
came to rest on a hillside and the place was named Manali after him.
How to Reach Manali
- Hadimba Temple
Built in 1550 AD in a forest grove,
Hadimba Devi's temple is a four storeyed with a pagoda shaped roof
and a front doorway covered with figures and symbols. The temple is
2 km pleasant walk from the tourist office. There is a steep
footpath to the temple or a longer motorable road. Outside hang deer
antlers and markhor horns donated by local hunters. Hadimba is
supposed to be the wife of Bhima in the epic of Mahabharata. Also
known as the Dhungri temple, it's site of a major festival held in
- Buddhist Monasteries
Manali is known for its shiny
gompas or Buddhist monasteries. With the highest concentration of
Tibetan refugees in the entire Kullu valley, it is famous for its
Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa, built in 1969. The monastery is
maintained by donations from the local community and through the
sale of hand-woven carpets in the temple workshop.
- Manalsu River
An interesting walk is along the north
bank of the Manalsu river, west of old village, which flows into the
Beas. Relatively easy mule track with more adventurous tracks
leading from it. Across the river lies old Manali, the original
- Arjun Gufa
On the left bank of the Beas, five kms
from Manali near the village of Prini, is the Arjun Gufa or the cave
of Arjuna. One of the heroes of the Mahabharata, Arjuna is said to
have performed penence here.
Nearest airport is at Bhuntar, 50 km away.
Archana Airways and Jagson Airlines operate daily flights from Delhi
to Kullu. U.P Airways flights are seasonal.
Upto Chandigarh or Shimla from Delhi, or via
Pathankot to Jogindernagar, and then bus transfers.
Himachal Tourism runs deluxe/ordinary buses and
private operators are available during the season. The bus terminal
is well organised and the ticket office is computerised. Deluxe
buses are booked, and leave from, the tourist office, while
semideluxe are handled from the bus terminal itself.