One day, Vaivasvata, tha seventh incarnation of Manu 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. Vaivasvatatava cared for the fish till the day 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 sea-worthy ark. When the flood came. Vaivasvata and the Seven Sages were towed to safety by Matsya the fish-which is regarded as the first avatara of Lord Vishnu. As the waters subsided the seventh Manu's ark came to rest on a hillside and the place was named Manali (2050 m) after him. As the earth slowly dried. Here arose a place of breath taking natural beauty - which was only appropriate, for it was at Manali that life began again. And today this legendary cradle of all human kind is a prime holiday destination. There are high mountains surrounded by silent snows and deep boulder strewn gorges. There are thick forest full of cool breezes and bird song. There are fields of wild flowers, smell picturesque hamlets and fruit laden orchards.
At the northern end of the Kullu valley sits the ancient site, but modern town, of Manali. It is a pleasant, if overdeveloped, town with lovely forests and orchards nearby for hiking, and good facilities for visitors. In the 1970s and 1980s, Manali was very much a 'scene'. In summer, the town would attract numerous western hippies and travellers drawn by the high quality marijuana that grows in the area. High season is mid-April to late June, mid-September to early November, mid-September to early November, Christmas and new year.
The State Bank of India and UCO bank, opposite the tourist offices, will only change Thomas Cook and American Express travellers cheques. A moneychanger at the Solang hotel, on school road, keeps more convenient hours and will change all major brands of travellers cheques as well as cash.
There are plenty of places to buy clothes and souvenirs in Manali, particularly along the Mall. Some of the better places are the Charitrust Tibetan Handicraft emporium on the Mall, or any of the cooperatives run by local women. The Tibetan market, spread around the back of the hotel Ibex, has a good range of thangkas and silver and turquoise jewellery.
Dhungri Temple :
The Dhungri or Hadimba temple is a four storey wooden building in the middle of a lovely forested parkland, known as the Dhungri Van Vihar. Erected in 1553, the temple is dedicated to the goddess Hadimba and the features intricate wooden carvings of dancers and characters from various Hindu stories. Every May, there is a major festival at the temple, when sacrifices are carried out in honour of Hadimba.
Solang Nullah : Some of Himachal Pradesh's best skiing slopes are at Solang Nullah, about 13 kms north-west of Manali. February and March are the best months to ski. The area is very pretty in spring and summer and offers great hikes.
Museum of Traditional Himachal Culture :
This small, privately funded museum near the Dhungri temple is worth a quick visit. The curator has spent years collecting folk art and handicrafts from surrounding villages to protect the traditions of the Kullu valley.
Temple of Hadimba Devi : With a four-tiered, pagoda shaped roof and a front doorway carved with figures and symbols, the lovely temple stands as a mute tribute to the supreme artist who sacrificed the very hand with which he carved his pa en in wood to the goddess of the Dhoongri Temple- Hadimba Devi, wife of Bhim--the Pandva. Every year in the month of May there is a major festival.
Rahalla Falls : About 4 kms away from Kothi and 16 kms from Manali town, at the start of the climb to the Rohtang Pass, are the beautiful Rahalla water falls at an altitude of 2,501 metres (8,500 ft). It is approachable by bus, jeep or pony.
Rohtang Pass : Situated about 51 kms from Manali town at an altitude of 4,111 metres (13,400 ft) on the highway to Keylong, is Rohtang Pass. Now regular bus service plies over it from Manali to Keylong in Lahaul district. Here one sees the majesty of the mountains at its height and splendour. At the top of the Pass the air seems to glitter against the snow as you look down over herringboned ridges into the Lahaul Valley. There is a beautiful Dashohar Lake left to the pass, where pilgrims go every year on the auspicious day of 20th Bhadon. This is the only access to Lahaul valley. The pass is open from June to September each year although trekkers can cross the pass a little earlier.
Beas Kund : The famous Beas Kund, the source of the Beas river, at the Rohtang Pass is easily accessible. The great Vyas Rishi performed 'tapa' here during the Mahabharat Kal. The place is still hallowed by the celestial light. It was because of this that the river got the present name of Beas.
Jagatsukh : It is one of the biggest villages in Kullu district. Jagatsukh is on the left bank of the Beas and the road from Naggar to Manali runs through the village. Jagatsukh is 12 kms from Naggar and 6 kms from Manali. The place is famous for very old temples, in the village, particularly the Shiva Temple in Shikhara style and nearby old and interesting Devi Sharvali temple.
Tibetan Monastery : It is new and colourful. A pleasant place to visit. It is famous for carpet weaving. Visitors can buy carpets and other Tibetan handicrafts from here.
Chopsticks : For Chinese, Tibetan and Japanese food. Gozy Restaurant : For reasonably priced Punjab and Gujarati food located at the southern end of the Mall.
Juniper Restaurant : Good Food, for a bit higher prices. Run by HPDC.
Mahadev Food Corner : For cheap Indian food
Moc Restaurant : Cheaper Chinese, Tibetan and Japanese food. Located near Sukhiran Guest House.
Mona Lisa : Indian and western food at reasonable prices. Located near bus stand.
Restaurant : A cosy place offering good Chinese, Tibetan Japanese delicacies.
Located on the Mall. Swamiji's Madras Cafe :
A large thali may cost around Rs 40 - RS 45
Himalaya : For Indian food Kamal : For Indian food
Jhonson's : For pasta, pizza, deserts and cold beer. Phuntsok Coffee House : A range of cakes and pies is served here. It's a Tibetan-run place.
Ish : A popular place, located in Old Manali area.
Little Tibet : Cheap Tibetan food is served here.
Mount View : A good seduded place. Located in Old Manali area.
Tibet Kitchen : Popular for its Tibetan noodles and western food. Located in old Manali area.
Charitrust Tibetan Handicrafts Emporium (Mall) and Kullu - Kashmir Handicraft Cooperation (Bus Stand) offer local clothes (viz. Pashmina shawl) and souvenirs. Traditional Afghan, Kullu and Kinnawri hats are quite cheap. Go for bargain!
For thangkas and a variety of silver and jewellery, you can go either to the Tibetan Market or the Tibetan and Nepalese shops near the Post Office. Do buy locally made pickles, jams and juices.
Manali has no airport of its own. The nearest one Bhuntas is around 10 km south of Kullu town and about 50 km from Manali. Flights are available to and from Lucknow, Delhi, Ludhiana and Shimla. Timings and booking details should be checked in advance. Booking could be made through travel agents both at Kullu and Delhi as well as other places.
The entire Kullu Valley is connected with various centres both inside and outside the state. Other than HPTDC, a fleet of buses is run by road transport corporations and private operators.
Important As : Himachal's famous Tourist Resort
Places of Interest: Vashisth Hot Sulphur Spring, Rohtang Pass, Hadimba Temple
Best Time To Visit Manali: May To October.
The Kullu valley has an ancient town in its lap called Manali. Surrounded by towering peaks at an arm length, Manali's major asset is its proximity to the snowline. It is a flourishing orchard industry, a popular honeymoon destination and trailhead for numerous treks as well as a great countryside ideal for adventure sport lovers.
Also popular as a hill resort destination, Manali presents some excellent and well-equipped accommodation choices for the tourists. In the past decade Manali has turned out to be one of the best hill resort destination of India, particularly in those resorts, which cater Indian domestic tourists and honeymoon couples. But the ideal places to stay are the small guesthouses, providing a tranquil atmosphere of the Himalayas for those who are looking for solitute.
Manali literally means the 'Home of Manu'. Manu is the mythological character who is supposed to have survived when the world was drowned in Flood. He then came to Manali and recreated human life. Thus, the area of Manali is sacred and Hindus treat the temples over here as pilgrimage.
Check out the Manali Hotels & Resorts Guide, offering a list of options to get online Hotel bookings and instant hotel reservations before planning your trip to Manali.
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