Manali Travel Guide
Sitting at over 6000 feet above sea level, Manali is a popular year-round destination in India. Delightful in summer, snowy in winter, and home to culturally significant attractions, there is always something to do here.
Whether you are an outdoor lover or a culture hound, you’ll be kept busy here throughout your stay.
Start your time in Manali by paying a visit to the Manikaran Gurudwara. This site is important to those in the Sikh religion, who make pilgrimages here throughout the year. According to legend, Sri Guru Nanak Dev cooked for followers from a hot water spring he alone created.
Thanks to the presence of this holy figure, it is said that the waters here have curative properties. Open in the morning and evening hours, this place can get crowded on weekends and holidays. As such, planning your visit during the work week will minimize any potential friction.
Those interested in Hinduism won’t be left out, as Hidimba Devi Temple is a remarkable place in Manali. Dedicated to Devi Hidimba, devotees built this temple near a cave where he used to meditate. According to Hindu legend, his brother Hdimb was a great warrior. He had a sister Hdimbi, who said she would marry any man who could defeat her brother in battle.
It was Bhima, one of the five Pandavas, who completed the difficult feat of slaying Hdimb. Winning Hdimbi’s hand in marriage, they eventually had Ghatotkacha, a mighty warrior in his day. As for the temple itself, its 24-metre tall Shikhar (tower) is its highlight. Note that this place gets jam-packed during Navaratri, a prominent Hindu festival – plan accordingly.
Haven’t had your fill of religious landmarks yet? Be sure to include Manu Temple on your Manali itinerary as well. It got its name from the sage Manu, who is credited by Hindus for creating the world. It is held that the location of the temple is where Manu first prayed upon descending to Earth.
While it can get busy, it is situated along the River Beas, giving it an unforgettable atmosphere. Take care to wear appropriate attire (i.e. no bare knees or shoulders) to show respect for the locals.
Are you all templed out? Drop by the International Roerich Memorial Trust. Centred on the former home of explorers Nicholas and Elena Roerich, this attraction shows off artwork and other memorabilia.
Most notably, the nearby Urusvati Himalayan Research Institute (accessible with the same ticket) displays local handicrafts. These were the inspiration behind the Roerich Pact, a cultural preservation resolution that got the couple nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1929.
Those looking to have fun in the wild spaces around Manali should check out the Solang Valley. With a base elevation of 8,400 feet, the area is equally suited for summer and winter sports. Parachuting, paragliding, mountain biking, and zorbing are on offer in summer, while skiing and skating are popular in winter.
If you need gear, a local shop imports quality merchandise from Canada for rent. Those who aren’t athletic are not left out, as a ropeway allows for amazing views all year round.
Are you seeking a more physically involved adventure? Go for a multi-day trek into Hampta Pass. Over five days, you’ll walk through lush forests, sublime alpine meadows, and alongside crystal clear creeks.
However, not only should you be in relatively good shape, but you also need to watch for signs of altitude sickness. This trek gets above 14,000 feet – if you show symptoms of this malady, alert your hike leader immediately.
As alluded to earlier, the Manali area is rife with geothermic activity. Of all the hot springs in the region, the Vashisht Baths are among the most famous. Situated along the banks of the River Beas, they take their name from sage Vashisht, an advisor of Lord Rama.
Its setting amidst fragrant pine trees and mountain views make this hot spring a particularly special place. With heavy deposits of sulphur, these waters are reputed to have curative properties, especially for those with skin conditions.
Are you in love with the beauty of falling water? If so, don’t miss visiting Jogini Waterfall on your trip to Manali. Located within three kilometres of Vashisht Temple, visitors can include this attraction as part of a pleasant day hike.
Cascading down from a height of over 100 feet, this chute of water forms a rocky gorge at its base. If you plan on swimming here, bring sandals to protect your feet from the bottom, though.