Kullu Manali is the core of an intricate web of numerous valleys, each of which is a visual delight and seems more beautiful than the other. There are high mountains surrounded by snow and deep boulder strewn gorges. There are thick forests full greenary, cool breeze and songs of birds. There are fields of wild flowers, small picturesque hamlets and fruit laden orchards.
The itinery was from Mumbai to Delhi by flight. From Delhi to Kullu by flight. The flight to Kullu was booked by us but owing to bad weather, the flight was cancelled. So, we hired a car from Delhi to go to Kullu Manali. As the distance from Delhi to Manali was quite substantial, we decided to halt at Chandigarh for a day to do the local sight seeing and then proceed to Simla for a day’s stay and then onwards to Manali.
The car journey from Simla to Manali was a long one of about 250 kms. with ‘S’ curves on the hills. On the way we saw Beas River. The journey through the tunnel was exciting.
Manali is accessible by road. The Himachal Road Transport Corporation has buses plying from all across the State and also other neighbouring State headquarters like Delhi, Haryana, & Punjab.Access by road to Manali from Chandigarh and Dharamsala is via Mandi (which is at a distance of 110 kms from Manali) to Aut onwards to Kullu passing through Raison and Katram to Manali.
There is a limited air service available but the same is not very predictable.
On reaching Manali, we stayed at Hotel New Adarsh.There are a number of star and budget hotels at Manali.
There are star hotels like White Meadows, Larisa Resort, Solang Valley Resort and hotels like Hotel Chaitali, Paradise Chateau, Seven springs, Johnson Lodge, Surya International, Whispering Valley etc.
In the budget hotels category there are a number of 1 to 3 bedroom bunglows available for hire and hotels like Alpine Home Stay Astha Cottages, Himalayan Country House etc.
We embarked upon local sight seeing of some of the important sites like :
Hadimba Temple :Located at a distance of about 2 kms from the main Manali Market, this 16th century structure is made of wooden carvings.
Tibetan Monestry :The monestry displays handicraft items and carpets woven by the local Tibetan people. It is one of the main tourist attraction for its local culture and tranquility.
Vashist Springs :This place is known for its springs and is located very near the main Manali market. It is believed that taking a bath in the bath complex here, relieves a person from different kinds of ailments. We dipped our hands in the hot spring water.
Rohtang Pass is another destination located at a distance of about 45-50 kms from Manali. On the way to Rohtang pass, you pass through a stream.At an altitude of 4100 metres above sea level, the Rohtang Pass can generally be accessed during May-June to October-November on account of snowfall which is quite unpredictable even during the summer period of May to October.We encountered snowfall on the way and the road was narrow requiring the vehicle to travel at a slow pace.
On reaching Rohtang Pass, we could see snow all around and there were activities like sliding down the snow from top of the hill seated on a car tyre which was quite exciting.There were small stalls at the Pass for snacks and some local items.
Manali is also well known for seasonal activities like camping, fishing, skiing, paragliding, water rafting and trekking.
Best time to visit Manali is during summer vacations.The summer season at Manali starts from May to September when the temperature is moderate.
The best place to chill out in Summer is Manali - a preferred destination of honeymooners.