Manali, positioned amidst the snow-capped slopes of Himalayan ranges and blessed with extraordinary scenic beauty, is today one of the most popular hill stations in the country. Manali is popular for sightseeing, history & culture – temples, monasteries, hippie villages, adventure sports – Skiing, river rafting, trekking trails, paragliding, zorbing, mountain biking. Moreover, Manali is a staging point for a number of treks Beas Kund, Bhrigu lake, Hampta Pass and Deo Tibba .
What is the Best Time to Visit Manali ?
Manali is a tourist magnet all year round. Weather its winters, summers or monsoon, you can always find tourists in Manali.
1. December to March – Winters
During this period you will experience nail biting cold in Manali. You may find roads, markets and literally everything covered with a white sheet of snow most of the time from mid December until mid March. Consequently, in this part of the year Manali will be comparatively less crowded ans it is an ideal time for adventure and solitude seekers to visit Manali.
However, there is always a risk of heavy snowfalls which may lead to landslides, water and electricity outages or you may just have to confine yourself to your hotel room. Therefore, do take a look at the weather forecasts before heading to Manali. Also, you will find Rohtang pass closed in this period.
2. Late March to end of June – Summers
This period experiences the peak tourist traffic as people look out for an escape from the scorching heat in the rest of the country. Rohtang pass generally opens from second week of May and stays open in rest of the period. Paragliding and Zorbing is available in Solang Valley. Consequently, you will find Manali excessively overcrowded in May and June and will experience traffic jams.
3. July to November – Monsoon and Autumn
It is the off season in Manali tourism as the clouds pour and River Beas flows with fury. As a result, activities are limited in these months, no sports are available in solang valley in rainy season although Rohtang Pass is open until mid-November mostly. Landslides become a major concern with heavy downpours. In spite of all this few people do like to travel to Manali in this season out of their love for nature.
How to Reach Manali ?
Manali is well connected by road. The nearest Broad Gauge Rail Head is Chandigarh (310 km). The nearest airport is Bhuntar (Kullu) Airport , 50 km from Manali about two hours away, 10 km from Kullu.
From New Delhi/ Chandigarh catch a direct Volvo to Manali. Manali is almost 12 – 13 hour journey from New Delhi (550 Kms).
Local Transport in Manali
Public buses, autos and taxis are the local means of transport in and around Manali.
- Most tourists hire a taxi , which takes you around to all the sight seeing spots in and around Manali (Rohtang, Manikaran, etc.).
- You can also rent a car, bike and scooter in Manali.
- Also, public buses to Kullu, Naggar and Solang are frequently available.
Where to Stay & Eat in Manali ?
Where to Stay: There are number of hotels to choose from in Manali according to your budget. You may book online or book on the spot without much price differences. A budget room with all basic amenities will cost you Rs.1200 – Rs.1500/- per night.
Places to Eat in Manali: There are a number of good restaurants, dhabas and cafes in Manali. Moreover, all types of Cuisines are easily available there – North Indian, South Indian, Tibetian, Chinese, Italian, European, etc.
3- Day Manali Itinerary
1. Visit Manu Maharishi Temple and Hidimba Devi Temple in Old Manali
Visit the Manu Maharishi Temple, the only temple in India dedicated to the sage Manu who is known historically for forming the first laws of Hindu mythology.
Visit the Hidimba Devi Temple which is situated in the middle of the Dhungiri Van Vihar forest and hence, also known as Dhungiri Temple which is dedicated to Devi Hidimba, a character from the Mahabharata. It is a four story wooden temple and is famous for its architecture.
Moreover, Old Manali is famous for its orchards and old guesthouses. You may visit the ruined fort named Manaligarh.
2. Visit the Tibetian Monastaries
Find peace at the Himalayan Nyingamapa Gompa and Gadhan Thekchoking Gompa monasteries. May buy souvenirs at the Tibetan Handicraft Center.
3. Take a stroll on Mall Road & enjoy at the Manali Club House
Take a walk, eat and shop on the famous mall road in Manali. You may enjoy at the Manali Club House which is a recreational center in Old Manali featuring a restaurant, indoor games & outdoor activities for all ages. Its a good pass time with family if you have nothing else planned for the day.
1. Visit Solang Valley
Indulge into horseplay, soothe yourself and take an adrenaline shot with adventure activities in Solang Valley.
Solang valley, 14 Kms from Manali showcases a magnificent view of the snow-capped mountains during the winters and a dazzling lush green view in the summers. Solang valley is extremely crowded these days but still worth the visit.
A lot of adventure activities are available here. You can enjoy paragliding, zorbing, horse riding and even camping in summer and skiing & snow scooters in winter. Or you could just grab a cup of warm tea and admire the sight with hot maggie. In Zorbing you roll down the hill in a huge transparent plastic ball and zorbing with a friend or loved one will shoot up your fun experience.
2. Explore Kothi
Kothi, 12 Kms from Manali located at the bottom of Rohatang Pass is beautiful village where Beas river is running through a deep gorge. In winters, Kothi livens up with tourists and activities like skiing as the road in the higher areas leading upto Rohtang pass is closed.
3. Take a ride to Rohtang Pass
Rohtang Pass is a gateway to Lahaul Spiti, Pangi and Leh valley from Manali. It is an amazing and must visit spot in Manali which remains open only from mid- May to mid- October. Since, from mid-October to May the pass is mostly covered in snow, it is closed for tourists.
In May, Rohtang becomes a place for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. The snow-covered mountains provide the perfect opportunity to go skiing and snow scooter riding.
- Dress for Rohtang is available on rent and costs around ₹150 per set, boots cost Rs.100 per set. Do take your cap, gloves and socks or else you may have to buy it there. Skiing set will cost you around 200.
- Taxis are easily available from Manali to Rohtang Pass. The cost for an Alto Taxi fixed by the Taxi Union in Manali is around Rs.7500/-in May and June and around Rs.3500/- otherwise. So, do not pay more than that. Also, shared taxis are available where you can share the taxi cost with other tourists.
You need to take permit for your Personal Car to visit Rohtang Pass. You can apply for it online 7-days prior to the date of visit. Only limited vehicles are allowed per day that is 400-Diesel Cars and 800- Petrol Cars. In the Peak Season i.e. May and June all permits even for the seventh day are completely booked on the opening day itself. It’s like booking a tatkal ticket on IRCTC. Also, Rohtang Pass is closed for maintenance on Tuesdays and no vehicles are allowed to enter there.You can check more details and book your permits online here https://rohtangpermits.nic.in/.
1. Take a holy dip in Hot Water Springs at Vashist Temple
Head out to the wood crafted Vashist Temple on the banks of River Ravi, which is dedicated to the local deity and sage, Saint Vashist. Take a dip in the hot springs here and let your body relax.
2. Visit Naggar Castle
Located at an hours drive from Manali among the breathtaking forests in Naggar town, the Naggar Castle is an elegant historical edifice. It was built by Raja Sidh Singh of Kullu in around 1460 A.D, it was taken over to Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation, to run as a heritage hotel, since 1978.
You may also visit the Tripura Sundari temple in Naggar. The idol of goddess is enshrined in the temple with 21 masks.
What Else You Could Do in & Around Manali ?
1. Visit Manikaran Gurudwara and Bathe in Hot Water Springs
A lot of tourists visiting Manali also visit the Manikaran Gurudwara in Manikaran which is a famous Sikh Pilgrim site. It is about 3 hrs away from Manali and 1.5 hours away from Bhuntar. You can save time and money by visiting Manikaran on your way back after leaving Manali or just skip it in the Manali trip if you plan to go to Kasol in future since it is very close to Kasol.
2. Go River Rafting
Rafting in Manali, in the icy cold water, is totally a heart racing experience. The River Beas is at its strongest here and is perfect for rafting. Although, if you compare it to the rafting in River Ganga in Rishikesh, it is less thrilling and less risky here.
Manali is a staging point for a number of treks. Beas Kund trek and Bhrigu lake trek are simpler treks that can be done in any season.
However, Hampta Pass and Deo Tibba are higher passes and summers are an ideal time to trek to these passes. Also, there are more complex and tougher treks.
Check out the packing tips and trekking Gear you will need, in this post Trekking Gear: What To Pack and How to Pack?
For the above mentioned 3- Day Itinerary the minimum expenditure would be around Rs.4,500 (Rs.5500 in Peak Season) excluding the transportation cost to and from Manali and including cost of accommodation, food, local transport and Rohtang Pass visit assuming double occupancy in hotels and shared drive to Rohtang Pass. A snapshot of various expenditures is given below:
- Delhi to Manali Volvo: Rs. 1500/- per person.
- Food Cost: All kinds of options in budget and cuisine are available. The minimum cost is about Rs.150/- per person per meal (Lunch and Dinner).
- Transport: Autos and Taxis are very expensive in peak season. They charge as high as Rs.200 for 1-2 Kilometer.
- Taxi to Rohtang Pass (to & fro) from Manali : Rs.7500/- (in May & June)
- Taxi to Manikaran (to & fro) from Manali : Rs.3000/-
- Paragliding: Rs.1000/- per person for a 2-3 minute flight, Rs. 3200/- per person for .paragliding from a higher point for 7-8 minute duration.
- River Rafting: For 7 Km: Rs.1000/- per person, Rs.2500/- for a group of four persons and Rs.3500/- for a group of seven persons.