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Top things to do in Manali

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Top things to do in Manali

Situated in Himachal Pradesh of India, Manali is one of the most popular hill station where travelers come to seek peace and cherish natural beauty. Surrounded by snow capped mountains, situated amidst lush green forests, Manali offers an ambience that stirs your soul. Manali also has an adventurous side, with avenues to do trekking, skiing, rafting, and camping. Though it is a romantic destination, but offers equal delights to group of friends, or solo travelers. To top everything, the scenic mountains coupled with Beas River flowing through, makes an unforgettable memory in your minds. In this blog we have listed some of the top things to do when in Manali.

Hadimba Temple

Hadimba Temple that is also known as Dhungari Temple, was built back in 1553 by Maharaja Bahadur Singh. It is dedicated to Hadimba Devi the goddess of forest, and wife of Bheema, from ancient Hindu epic Mahabharata. It is believed that Goddess Hadimba keeps natural calamities away from the region. It is believed that Goddess Hadimba meditated at the site where the temple is built. The temple is surrounded by Deodar trees and the forest is so thick that many spots remain deprived of sunlight.

Then there are mountains in backdrop which makes it picturesque. When you will visit this place you will realize how idyllic the surroundings are. It is built in Pagoda style of architecture, with mud walls, wooden doorways, and miniature artworks of Goddess Hadimba. The exterior of the Hadimba temple is decorated with remains of sacrificed animals like goat, deer, and buffaloes.

The shrine of this temple is built on a rock that is believed to have the image of goddess Hadimba engraved on it naturally. Most of the times people visit this temple for its touristy status, but during Navratri you will find many Hindu devotees visiting this temple to pray to the goddess.

Solang Valley

Solang Valley is known for adventure sports, and is a very popular spot just a short drive from Manali. Solang Valley is located at an altitude of 8500 feet. In winters, thanks to thick blanket of snow this place becomes ideal for skiing. You also need not to worry if you do not know skiing, as it also has a center here that offers short courses for skiing. We also must add that skiing here is second best to what in Gulmarg. In summers, this place offers adventure sports like Zorbing and Paragliding.

Solang Valey is also known amongst its patrons for mountaineering and trekking. It also has a rope way leading to the top of the hill with scenic views of the valley. Solang Valley also hosts winter skiing festival every year with huge participation from patrons all across India. The location of Solang Valley has also made it popular as it lies on way from Manali to Rohtang.

Other popular activities in Solang Valley include Horse riding and snow motor bike rides. If you are visiting Solang Valley then we recommend that you take out least a day dedicated to this fabulous spot. In summers you can also treat Solang Valley as a perfect picnic getaway.

Rohtang Pass

Rohtang Pass is located at 50 km ride from Manali. It is situated at an elevation of 3978 meters above the sea level and is a part of Pir Panjal Ramge. Rohtang Pass offers a lifetime memory of riding between the snow capped mountains and passes. Being laden with snow throughout the year, it also offers avenues for sledge riding, skiing, and mountain biking. It is an ideal spot for photographers, and has been featured in Bollywood films like Jab We Met and Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani.

The name of this pass Rohtang means ground of corpses, it signifies the large number of people who historically lost their lives while crossing it. You can also regard Rohtang pass as a natural barrier between Kullu Valley and the Lahaul Spiti Valley. You must also make a note that Rohtang Pass is only open between the months of June and October.

You must also be wary of the high influx of traffic on this pass, making it jam packed on most of the days. It is estimated that more than 2.5 Million visit Rohtang Pass every year. To travel on Rohtang Pass you will be required to carry a permit which can be applied online.

Manikaran Gurudwara

Manikaran Gurudwara is located between River Parvati and River Beas. This holy place is approx 80 km drive from Manali. It is not only known for its Gurudwara, which is visited by both Hindus and Sikhs alike with devotion, but also for its natural hot spring with wellness power. In total there are three hot water springs in the region. One is inside the Gurudwara, and other two sites are in close proximity. It is known to cure Muscle pain and rheumatism.

It is believed that the site of Manikaran Gurudwara is the same place where Guru Nanak Dev meditated. The Gurudwara offers free food Langar, to all the devotees that visit. The Gurudwara is surrounded by a flourishing market where you will get Prasad, religious books, idols, and even Tibetan items. The name of Manikaran is derived from Mani, which means jewel.

Interestingly this Gurudwara is  situated on the banks of Parvati river which makes it scenic but has also baffled scientists how water of Parvati river be cold and the water in nearby spring be hot. The village of Manikaran is so old that it has mentions in Hindu epics like Ramayana, and Mahabharata.

River Rafting

The Beas River flowing through Kullu and Manali, is ideal for River Rafting. The best thing about it is that it comes with different difficulty levels, which makes it equally ideal for both beginners and professionals. The icy cold water flowing in from Rohtang, can give chills to any adventure seeker. The rafting activity is done with a trained guide for safety purposes. The rafting can be done at any time of the year, except in monsoon season and harsh winters.

It usually takes around couple of hours to indulge in a session of river rafting and it starts from early mornings. There are various stretches of river in both Kullu and Manali that offer rafting avenues. In Kullu the stretch is from Manaki till Jhiri which is 20 kilometer long. Then in Manali, there is a stretch of 14 kilometers long from Pirdi to Jhiri.

If you want best rafting experience, then the stretch in Manali from Bhuntar is the place you should be rafting in. You have to take a note of that the rafting avenues in Manali is of white river rafting. It gets its name because the waters in such avenues is bubbly and turbulent, which gives white color to the water.

Manu Temple

Manu temple is dedicated to Sage Manu, the creator of Human Race and writer of Manu Smriti. In fact it is the only temple in India built in the honor of Sage Manu which is why it holds great importance amidst devotees. It is situated in the Beas River valley and is built in the Pagoda style of architecture. It is located in the Old District of Manali, and you can reach this temple upon passing the Manali Community Center. It is believed that the Manu temple is built on the site that was used by the sage to meditate.

The temple is surrounded by the Beas River Valley which amplifies the beauty of this temple. The temple also has a strict dress code which should be followed for entering it. Travelers and visitors are supposed to wear dresses that would cover the knees and shoulders. Inside the temple there are sculptures of gods and goddesses reflecting upon the past cultural values.

The temple also hosts a fair called Phagi which is dedicated to Manu Sage, on every 6th day of the Phagun. The region that surrounds the Manu Temple is also known for its trekking avenues. People bitten by photography bug will get many spots to capture the perfect clicks.

Himalayan Nyingamapa Gompa

Himalayan Nyingamapa Gompa is situated in the middle of town. This Buddhist Monastery has pagoda style architecture and is designed in Tibetan Style. The monastery is known for its tranquility and is visited by Tourists seeking inner peace. It is one of the most popular monasteries of Himachal Pradesh. The highlights of the monastery are golden idol of Lord Buddha, which attracts many travelers for its sheer beauty, and mighty wall paintings in Tibetan style.

The monastery was built by Tibetan refugees, and is located in the Tibetan market of Manali. The Himalayan Nyingamapa Gompa is not much far from the Mall Road, which makes it highly accessible and attracts almost every traveler that visits Manali. While visiting here you must meditate and also indulge in observing the lives of Buddhist monks.

Himalayan Nyingamapa Gompa is a perfect spot if you are seeking a place where you can equally find the spiritual peace and touristy appeal. The mere joy of watching the Buddhist monks offering prayers is unmatched and at its natural best in this place.

Manali Gompa

Manali Gompa or also known as Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa, is a Buddhist monastery which was built in 1960. It was built for refugees from Tibet. It is designed in the pagoda style of architecture. The major highlights of this monastery are Wall paintings, the idols of Lord Buddha, and the Chortens. Inside the monastery you will find many murals depicting the lifestyle of Non Violence of Lord Buddha. The spiritual vibes of this monastery brings calm to all the tourists visiting it.

The Monastery is also known for housing workshops where Tibetan Handicrafts and Tibetan carpets are handmade and later sold in the store within the premises. Their process is very transparent, and you can also visit the workshop to see the artisans at work. The Monastery also has a place where name of all the Tibetan People are listed who were killed during the Tibetan occupation.

Manali Gompa is an important place for Buddhist from the entire Indian Sub Continent. If you are visiting this spot then you should at least keep couple of hours time to devote to this spot as the premises have many structures to see.

Museum of Himachal Culture and Folk Art

Travelers that are seeking cultural insights and sneak peek into the traditions of Manali, should definitely visit the Museum of Himachal Culture and Folk Art. The major highlights of this Museum are, models of traditional houses and temples, along with traditional attire of people of Manali, the musical instruments that are used by people of Manali, and the masks they use in festivals. This museum is tribute to the forgotten art and handicraft of Himachal People.

The museum was established in the year of 1998, and is located in the Utopia complex near the Hadimba Devi temple. The founders of this museum travelled the entire Himachal Pradesh to collect antiques, and artifacts to be displayed here. The museum not just intends to preserve the culture of Manali, but also helps in spreading awareness about the lost art of Himachal Pradesh.

If you are travelling with kids then you must take them to this museum. In fact not just the kids but adults too can learn a lot of the early settlements of Himachal Pradesh. While visiting this place you must ensure that you see the section of traditional masks which is delightful.

Naggar Castle

Naggar Castle was built by Raja Sidh Singh of Kullu. It is an architectural marvel built out of wood and stone, which reflects the local construction traditions. Naggar Castle was built in 15th century. The location of this castle makes it even more beautiful as it looks over the scenic Kullu Valley. It also houses paintings of Russian artist, Nicholas Roerich. Now it is a heritage hotel run by Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation. It was converted into a heritage hotel, in the year of 1978.

If you wish to experience a hotel stay in a medieval castle in Manali, then this is where you should be headed to. The best thing about it is that it also has a great in house restaurant. While visiting the restaurant try opting for the balcony seats for the breath taking views of the surroundings. Recently it has also under gone renovation with keeping in mind the heritage values.

If you are visiting the Naggar Castle, then you should indulge in some shopping to take wooden artifacts souvenirs back home. The castle is around 22 kilometers far from Manali, and can easily be accessed through a cab. A visit here will least take a half days time of yours.

Hills are where beauty starts!

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