Somewhere in the vast expanse of the snow-capped Himalaya, 6,000 feet above sea level, lies the stunningly beautiful riverside town of Manali. It’s the perfect place for romance and adventure. Honeymooning couples huddle close for warmth and intimacy; children, invigorated by the cool mountain air, prance gaily; young adventurers head out in search of heart-stopping thrills; locals, in colourful mountain gait, shuffle to work… Slowly, as the chilled air permeates the senses, you succumb to the magic of the mountains.
In this idyllic town, you don’t really have to go anywhere to do sight-seeing. There’s hardly a place that doesn’t have a view of a stupendously beautiful mountain or the cool, clear waters of the pebble-strewn river Beas.
Popular excursions just add to your experience of the Manali magic. The fresh green meadows of Solang Valley, the high-altitude road to Rohtang Pass, the pristine valleys of Lahaul and Spiti, the hot springs of Manikaran, ancient temples and humming Tibetan monasteries are just some of the attractions of this beautiful place.
The landscape lends itself to an incredible range of outdoor sports such as river rafting, paragliding, zorbing (which is rolling downhill inside a huge plastic orb), skiing, trekking, and mountain-climbing. Of course, the humble walk becomes an experience in itself in the thick wooded groves of deodar, pine, sal, rhododendron, oak, fir and birch.
Evenings are a good time to descend into the Manali marketplace, a motley montage of curios, kitsch and food. From charming Tibetan shops to touristy trinkets, and Tibetan momos to Lebanese, Japanese and Italian food, Manali is a delightful blend of cosy and cosmopolitan.
- Altitude –1,926 metres above sea level
- Latitude 31° 20’25” to 32°25’0” North Latitude and longitude 76°56’30” to 77°52’20” East Longitude
- Area – 5.12 km (core Manali town)
- Distance from nearby towns/cities: Shimla 270 km, Chandigarh 310 km, Ambala 365 km, Delhi 585 km
- Take away: Tibetan and Kashmiri handicrafts, hand-woven carpets, famous Kullu and hand-made shawls, Kullu caps, woollen wear
BEST TIME TO VISIT
You can visit breathtakingly beautiful Manali any time of the year. Ideal seasons, though, are April–June andSeptember–December. The months of July and August are best avoided due to rainfall and landslides.
You could also choose a season depending on what you’d like to do here –
Rohtang Pass – Open from May to November 15 (depending on the weather)
Skiing – November to February
Paragliding – April to November (depending on the weather)
Rafting – Mid-April to June
In general, if you’re looking for snow, winter months are the best. Summer months are better for sight-seeing, trekking, mountain climbing and other activities.