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Also known as "Valley of Glaciers", Manali is just 40 Kms away from Kullu. It has a dense forest cover and a very quiet and clean environment. Manali according to legend wasborn when the waters of the Great Deluge receded and the seventh Manu's ark came to rest on a hillside in this valley. As the earth dried up there appeared a place of breath taking beauty which was named after the great sage.
Sorrounded by towering peaks at arms length, Manali's major asset is its proximity to the snowline, never more tha a few hours drive from the town, nestling at a comfortable 2,050m. It is the centre of flourishing orchard industry, a popular honeymoon destination and the base for numerous treks.
Places to see
Built in 1553, the DHOONGRI TEMPLE dedicated to Bheem's wife Hidimba is both an architectural and a natural wonder. It is built in the Pagoda style and attracts a large number of visitors during the annual fair in May. This temple located amidst wooden forest of deodar.
There are 3 newly constructed colorful monasteries, where visitors can buy carpets and other Tibetan handicrafts. Two are located in the town and one at Aleo on the left bank of Beas river.
2 kms. from the town, club house has indoor games facilities which has been located on the left bank of Manalsu Nallah. There are some picnic spots near it.
3 kms. from the main bazar in old Manali lies the temple of MANU RISHI. It is believed that this is the only temple of Manu in India, who was the creator of human race on the earth.
Vashist, a small village located on the left bank of river Beas. It is renowned for its hot springs and temples. Nearby is the pyramidal stone temple dedicated to Vashist Muni. There is another Temple of Lord Ram here. Natural hot sulphur springs with two separate bathing tanks for gents and ladies are there.
4kms. from Manali towards Naggar, the cave is situated near Prini village 1km. above the road where Arjun had meditated. This is good 1/2 a day excursion with charming view of the brilliant mountains.
6 Kms. from Manali located on the left bank on Beas on the road to Naggar. The place is famous for very old temples of Lord Shiva and Sandhya Gayatri in Shikhara style, these are worth a visit.
Rohtang Pass (51kms)
Rohtang Pass divides the Kullu-Manali and Lahaul-Spiti valleys. Situated at a distance of 51 Kms from Manali, Rohtang Pass is open every year from June to September. It is one of the most difficult and snow-covered passes in the world. There are a beautiful sight of glaciers, peaks and Chandra river flows down in the Lahaul valley. The tour to Rohtang valley also covers Nehru Kund, Solang valley, Kothi, Gulaba Camp, Rahala falls, Rani Nala on the way. The worth seeing spots are the Solang valley, Gulaba camp and the Rohtang pass. At Solang valley adventure activities like ski, snow scooter etc is conducted in winter. Otherwise it is a good picnic spot.
Solang Valley (13 kms)
Situated at a distance of 13 Kms from Manali, the Solang Valley is a natural marvel of snow-capped mountains and glaciers. It is famous for the winter games that are held here every year. Solang valley offers the view of glaciers and snow capped mountains and peaks. It has fine ski slopes. Located here is a hut and guest house of the Mountaineering and Allied sports Institute, Manali
Kothi (12 kms)
Situated on the road to Rohtang pass, a picturesque spot, Kothi is 12kms. from Manali. A PWD rest house is situated on a ridge overlooking a narrow valley with a very good view of mountains and valleys. Large number of films (movies) have been picturised at this place and is the ideal resting resorts of poets, writers and the lovers of peaceful environs.
Nehru kund (5kms)
5 kms. on National Highway to Leh,a natural spring of cold clear water named after Pt. Jwahar Lal Nehru, who used to drink water from this spring during his stay in Manali. This spring is believed to originate from the Bhrigu lake situated high-up in the mountains.
Rahala water falls (16 kms)
16 kms. on way to Rohtang pass. If one goes to Marhi on foot from Kothi from the old road, the sight of the falls is fascinating. It is a good picnic spot as well.
Spring (May/June)- You would get lots of snow but roads are at worst, lots and lots of tourists and obviously a costly trip with escalated price.
Monsoon (July/Aug) - Ladakh/Lahaul/Spiti is historically there is no rain but traffic is high.
Autumn (Sep/Oct) - Roads are at the best but almost no snow enroute. Weatherwise I like this season personally the most, the weather after monsoon recedes remain crystal clear with least haze/dust/mist and gives excellent visibility for watching peaks.
Winter (Nov-April) - At your own risk without any tourists, excellent bargain and budget trip is likely. Also for special interest tours like say Chaddar trek of Zanskar, this is the time to go.