Its winter and to top it, its the festive season so I have picked one of my favorites as the Jewel in the crown , the crown being India, for this issue. I hope you like it. Its Manali in HP, India.
When I googled Manali, the results showed was-1910000. Huge isn’t it? So there, you wont find any lack of information in the net but that doesn’t mean that I will not feed in any detail. Of course I will , but these will be my very personal tips, tips that I had accumulated after visiting and observing Manali 6 times in 4 years.
I won’t go into a detailed description of its beauty and spoil the magic with my words, rather let the photos speak.
So lets get on to our journey to one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Reaching Manali is the easiest and the road to Manali boasts of amazing vistas. So how do we reach Manali. Ok easy way out is to take the flight to Bhuntur, Kullu from Delhi, but you will miss out on the beautiful scenic drive. The roads are in good condition, you can drive yourself as we did. … even at night, NO bendy mind blowing gravity defying curves . And you have so many picks to take from. Like?
You can take the conventional route via Chandigarh- Bilaspur- Sundernagar- Mandi –Aut- Kullu or you can experiment for some adventure through Shimla-Naldehra-Tattapaani. Extreme adventure- then go for the drive in from Leh, Ladakh or try the Buddhist circuit of Shimla Rampur –Kinnaur-Kaza(Spiti) –Lahaul-( Details about Lahaul Spiti in my coming posts). Unconventional one- then try through the Jalori Pass.If Religious then visit – Viashno Devi or Dharamshala and proceed on to Manali through Kangra-Mandi, So the options – there are many. You can go by train. The nearest station can be either Joginder Nagar or Pathankot but again from there you have to ascend up by a car or bus, So better to take a vehicle from Chandigarh or Delhi itself.
Best Season. You can go to Manali in any season you want. If you like snow then go in the winters. Want to try the river rafting and stuff then go during spring or Autumn. Apple Orchards? – Late monsoons. The roads will cooperate with you through out the year. Winters are cold but you can take your kids without any hesitation. That’s the reason I submitted a copy of the snap of the Baby seated comfortably in the Snow in Rohtang Pass, The altitude BTW there is quite high.
Hotel Reservations, bus reservations. Yes everything can be booked previously through the internet. Even a bus if you want, through the Himachal Pradesh tourism website. Their Hotels are run professionally – better than the other State Govt. run hotels and you get quite a range. I mean 2 budget hotels. 4 deluxe hotels and I premium hotel- All economical-efficient and Govt. run. (psst! They have bars too). Of course you have the private ones too, like Club Mahindra. Holiday Inn etc etc. I had read a news item that HP govt. was offering a discount of 10% in Hotel Reservation for Parents of girl child, but I am yet to check that.
You will be spoilt for choice.
- There is a strong possibility of finding snow in Rohtang Pass. Just 50 kms from Manali and a popular destination. You can go for snow tubing, skiing. Tobogganing. There are snow mobiles/bikes for a ride.
- You can go for Parasailing, Zorbing, in Solang valley –another popular Hotspot
- Hot Air Balloon, River Crossing, Rappelling or simply go for a hike.
- During the hotter months you can go for river rafting in Kullu.
- By the way, the Maggi though expensive is most delicious in Rohtang Pass
- In the evenings you can go shopping for handicrafts, pubbing, discotheque, or plain Bird Watching of the other Kind. An advice – they may offer you Chingu- a blanket made from Shahtoos- Don’t buy it , its fraud. Buy only if they give you a hefty discount
If you like temples or architecture, then you have Hadimba temple, Valmiki temple and the Gurudwara at Manikaran. The Langar food or prasad in Manikaran is simply tasty, but you have to follow some rules in Manikaran as it’s a Gurudwara- nothing scary, just cover your head and ask a sevak or directions, If you want then I can fill in the rest but that is if you want, You can visit Naggar Castle- Now a premium hotel for its architecture .
Then as mentioned there is Rohtang Pass, Solang Valley, Kullu Valley. You can easily avail the tours from your Tourism Hotels or hire a cab. They also rent out snow suits. If you don’t have the proper attire and there is snow, better to hire it. The last time I had taken was at 100 Rs per piece. Or if not snow suits take boots at least. BTW if any body has vertigo or motion sickness better stock up on domperidone and cinnarizine before proceeding onto Rohtang Pass
So that’s all I can remember at present. And Now you can proceed on to the visual treat. Just remember .one trip is not enough for Manali. Manali is much more than these photographs which are just random shots of Manali as I see it.
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