Do a ‘Ma-Na-Li’ do
You have finally reached your destination.
It is Manali. Higher above the Kullu valley, nestled between lush green mountains in the summers and snow capped peaks in winters.
An old town; a modern charm. It is a melting pot for all kinds of Indians, Asians, Europeans and more…
It’s a perfect hill town for the experienced and the energetic young; a family or a group of friends. For every kind; the adventurers or the laid back and relaxed, there is something to do, see and simply feel. From extreme adventure sports, to feeling one with the nature along a trek, a peek into old religious institutions or seemly sitting with a cup of tea and your feet up, or maybe sample world cuisine while enjoying the quiet humdrum of the town.
There are two distinct ways to enjoy your stay in this lovely part of Himalayas –
The ‘let’s-do-this-crazy-thing’ way and/or
For the first types here are a list of things you can explore to rejuvenate your Hercules soul
Chasing the waters – Rafting
The gurgling river Beas invites you to ride down with her, rocking and rolling along the way till Jhiri. A 14 Km rafting experience that will leave you drenched obviously but the adrenaline that kicks in warms every nerve right down to your toes.
It is around Rs 1000 per person, book it with any private operators or an adventure sport company starting April to June. If you are travelling in a group, it s a wonderful team spirit builder and if you are solitary wanderer, it’s a chance to meet like minded people.
Zuperr Sized Fun – Zorbing
From up the hill to down below in a bubble like orb; it’s Alice in wonderland on steroids. Manali and Solang valley have the prefect hills that allow uninterrupted path and amazing scenery all along.
Barring monsoon season, anytime is perfect to experience Zorbing. Priced at around Rs. 500 per person and depending on the season and the people offering it.
Up in the sky, like an eagle soaring high – Paragliding
Solang again calls those who prefer the bird’s eye view to life and everything in it. Paragliding is best suited in dryer months. Priced at around Rs 1000 per person, it is money well spent when you get to see the river, the mountain, the valley whilst breathing in the feeling of extreme freedom from worries and concerns.
Sliding down the white carpet – Skiing
When it snows up in the hills, when the white blanket envelops the giant, when your bones are chilled and you are wondering what to do…fret not. Skiing is the answer, my friend. From the top of a hill, go gliding, sliding, zig-zagging down, till your feet touch the flat ground. Snowboarding and a ride in a ropeway too are other alternatives.
Manali is an ideal destination to unwind from the stressful work-student life in the city. Glimpses into quiet nature, temples and monasteries, dip into the warm waters of a hot spring, treks and walks into the city and around it too. Last but not the least are surprising places with quintessential cuisines from across the globe. Here’s a list of easy to moderate things to do in Manali.
Sparkling sulphurs – hot water springs
Manikaran, a town renowned for its holy waters, pious land and spiritual air is 45 km away from Kullu. The hot water springs are ideal to take a dip in, especially in the cold weather. Stories revolving around various myths and folk lores are abundant, just ask the locals to relay you with amazing tales.
Vashisht, a mere 3 km away from Manali, is home to 4000 year old temple named after Sage Vashisht. It is believed a dip into the holy warm waters can cure ailments and have medicinal benefits. You can visit the temple anytime from 7 in the morning till 9 in the evening.
Manu Temple- the first man on earth. He created the Manusmriti (laws of Manu). The man who saved a fish (vishnu reincarnate) that threatened vast deluge. The man that gave mankind a hope to rise above it all. This is where it started. Where he meditated and gave the world Laws that should govern a ‘good’ man. It’s a narrow road leading to the temple. 3 km away from town centre, a simple, no-frills, quiet place; a must visit.
Hidimba Temple – It looks like a pagoda but houses the energy of Mythical demon goddess Hidimba, Wife of Bheem from the Mahabharata. The structure is beautiful, with carved wooden doors and a tall Shikhar. It’s history is sinister but the beauty surrounding it is stunning; with cedar trees at the foothills and a winding path that takes you atop. The temple was built around a large rock jutting out.
Gauri Shankar temple, in Naggar beckons those who are in search of nirvana. This 800 year old Shiv temple is known for its fantastic architecture.
Tibetan monastery and the Gompa – There are two Buddhist monasteries in Manali. One is near the mall road and the other at Pangram 8 km from Patlikuhl. Both the places offer a rich experience and peek into the serene Buddhist culture. Local handicrafts are encouraged and sold in the monastery; it’s spiritual retail therapy.
Cascading glitters and serene gold
Mountains are a treasure trove of unparalleled water shows. From serene lakes to mischievous rivers; from playful streams to confident falls, they are surrounded by music and dance of nature. Most of these spots require a bit of a trek, work out a sweat and let the waters sweep away the fatigue.
Jogni falls – 3 km from Manali town centre and a 20 minute trek away, is an ideal place to relax after the small trek up.
Walk up to an old bridge and watch the mystic Jana falls in Naggar. It is surrounded by deodar and pine trees and there are many orchards around the area too. Plus there is Bhrigu lake, Beas Kund, Rehalla falls, and many more hidden gems.