Wish for a marvelous holiday? How about magical land of Manali in India? Once the hill resort was considered as the ‘end of the habitable world’ today Manali has become the favorite summer retreat for many. Far away from the scorching heats of the plains in the veritable “valley of the Gods” Manali offers solace, comfort and rejuvenation to the sun soaked souls.
Manali stands high at an altitude of 2050 meters above sea level at the head of the Kullu valley. The beauty of the resort is enhanced by the Beas that flows through it. The river with the wild flowers, hamlets and fruit-laden orchards present the gifts of the sight, sound and smell.
While at the hill resort besides enjoying the natural beauty you must visit the Hidimba or Dhungri Temple. Its four-storeyed pagoda and exquisite wooden carvings will sweep you off your feet. The temple that is dedicated to the wife of the Pandava prince, Bhim namely Hidimba was constructed way back in 1533. The temple plays host to a major annual festival is held here in the month of May. Close to the temple is the Museum of Traditional Himachal Culture. For all those of you who would like to know the folk art of the Kullu valley through artifacts, it is a must visit.
Along with the Hindu shrines Manali is renowned for the shiny gompas or Buddhist monasteries. It is noteworthy that Manali has the highest concentration of Tibetan refugees in the entire Kullu valley. The Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa is the most famous Gompa in the area. This monastery was constructed in 1969. Then in a garden blooming with sunflowers is the Himalayan Nyingamapa Gompa. The visit to this gompa will mesmerize you with the dozens of electric bulbs, fragrant of Tibetan incense, a colossal gold-faced Buddha at the main shrine.
The Hill Resorts of Manali offers an amazing array of picturesque spots to the tourists. For the adventure seekers there are sports ranging from skiing, hiking, mountaineering, paragliding, rafting, trekking, kayaking, and mountain biking. You may indulge in skiing at Solang Nullah (January-March) and Rohtang La (during summer). It is noteworthy that Heli skiing is possible at the deep snowfields. You may even get trained for Mountaineering and kayaking at the Mountaineering Institute at Solang Nullah. The Beas River is excellent for Kayaking. Trekking to the Solang Valley and Manalsu Nala are terrific. The slopes of Solang Nullah attract a lot of tourists in the summer season for the paragliding just like Beas offers excellent adventure activities in the monsoons for rafting. You nay even visit Larji, Katrain and Kasol for some unparallel angling experiences.
While you are in the city the Kulluis in brightly patterned puttoos, Tibetan women wearing ankle-length rainbow-striped pinafores, Nepali porters, Buddhist monks, and even the odd party of Zanskaris, swathed in fusty woolen gonchas will not fail to catch your eye. The hubbub of Manali is so mystical and marvelous that every summer thousands of tourists from all over India and aboard throng the streets there.
The hill resort of Manali is well connected with the other important cities of India through air, road and rail. The airport at Bhuntar is the nearest. There are other regular flights from Delhi. Shimla, Chandigarh and Delhi are other cities that offer easy commuting to Manali.
On your way back from Manali do not forget to pick up the woolen goods as souvenirs for all your near and dear ones. The Kullu topis or caps are the most famous of all the items. The Tibetan curios are other specialty of Manali. So do not forget to check out the prayer wheels, amulets, dorjes (thunderbolts), masks, musical instruments and thangkas.
So get ready to experience the magic of Manali!