in the central parts of the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, Manali
is at northern end of the Kullu valley, 280 km north of the state capital
Shimla and 108 km from Mandi. Manali is perched at an altitude of 2050
meters above sea level and is spread along the banks of the river Beas.
Surrounded by towering peaks at an arm length, Manali's major asset is
its proximity to the snowline. Manali is circled by beautiful glades of
deodars and flowering horse chestnuts. It is one of the most popular
honeymoon destination and trailhead for numerous treks as well as a great
countryside ideal for adventure sport lovers. In the Summer Manali is
packed with Pahari-speaking Kullus, Lahaulias, Nepali labourers,
foreign and Indian tourists. Manali literally means the 'Home of
Manu'. Legend has it that Manu stepped off a boat in Manali to recreate
human life after floods had devastated the world. Manali offers marvelous
walks through orchards and fairly tale forests of deodar. As one
climbs the grassy path the fluid fluting notes of the whistling thrush
comes across the forest.
Manali has many attractions. Some important places are:
Solang Valley is located at a distance of 14 kms from Manali. In
a picturesque setting this has good ski sloped and picnic spots. The winter
skiing festival is organised in Solang Valley. Training in skiing is imparted
at this place.
Also known as Hadimba temple, The Dhoongri temple (1553A.D) is dedicated
to goddess Hidimba, the wife of Bhim. Built in typical indigenous style
it has a four-tier pagoda shaped roof. Build by Maharaja Bahadur Singh,
the 27m high Pagoda temple has fine wood carvings of animals and
plants. There is a legend behind Hidimba. Hidimba, was the sister of the
demon Tandi. Bhima of the Mahabharata fame fell in love with Hidimba.
Bhima killed Tandi in battle and married Hidimba, whose spirituality,
coupled with her marriage to Bhima led to her being worshipped as a goddess.
Today she is seen as an incarnation of Kali.
Inside the temple is the small back image of the Devi.
The imprinted foot prints on a black rock are believed to be the foot
prints of the goddess. The temple has intricate carvings of dancers and
characters from various Hindu stories.Horns of bulls and other animals
decorate the walls. It is a very popular picnic spot for Indian tourists.
Every May, a festival is celebrated in her name.
Temple of Manu
3 kms. from the Main Bazar in Old Manali, lies the Temple of Manu Maharishi.
It is believed that this is the only temple of Manu Rishi in India, and
it is here Manu meditated after he arrived in the area.
Pass an adventure tourist site located at an altitude of 13,050
feet above sea level on the Manali-Keylong road, 51-km from Manali town.
It provides a wide panoramic view of mountains rising far above clouds,
which is a sight truly breath-taking. The pass is open for just
four months in the year from June to October when the snow melts.
Close by is a small lake called Dassaur Lake. Beas Kund, the source of
river Beas, is also nearby..
Gadhan Thekchoking Gompa
Built by Tibetan refugees in the late 1960's The Gompa is covered
with brightly coloured frescoes and a mid size Buddhist statute. It also
carries a list of the martyrs killed in occupation of Tibet of 1987 to
1989. The Gompa, is open from 6am to 7pm.
Vashisht Hot Baths
Just 3 km from Manali, The natural sulphur spring water is piped into
a clean tiled bath house. Water Springs with two separate bathing tanks
for Gents and Ladies, are always full of tourists. Turkish Style
Showers fitted baths have also been built nearby. Hot water from the nearby
Spring is provided for bathing. Open 0700 -1300
There are three new and colourful Tibetan monasteries at Manali. This
is a centre of a small carpet making industry. Two of these Monasteries
are located in the main down-town of Manali and one Monastery in Aleo.
Aleo is located on the Left Bank of River Beas in Manali.
Located 3 kms. from down-town on the Left Bank of River Beas. This institute
also conducts other adventurous sports activities like high altitude trekking,
minor mountaineering, rock-climbing, skiing, and high altitude rescue
and relief courses. Tourists can visit an interesting showroom
of Mountaineering Institute. It is a popular base for trekking and mountaineering
in summer and skiing in winter.