Manali Trip 2008
Image by DJ SINGH
Manali, (alt. 1,950 m or 6,398 ft) in the Beas River valley, is an important hill station in the Himalayan mountains of Himachal Pradesh, India, near the northern end of the Kullu Valley. Manali is administratively a part of the Kullu district. The population is approx. 30,000. The small town was the beginning of an ancient trade route to Ladakh and, from there, over the Karakoram Pass on to Yarkand and Khotan in the Tarim Basin. Manali and its surrounding areas are of great significance to the Indian culture and heritage as it was the home and abode of the Saptarshi or seven sages. The ancient cave temple, Hidimba Devi Temple, is not far from town.
* 1 Geography
* 2 Demographics
* 3 Etymology
* 4 History
* 5 Transport
* 6 Tourism in Manali
o 6.1 Tourist Attractions
o 6.2 Places around Manali
o 6.3 Adventure Sports
* 7 Notes
* 8 References
* 9 External links
Manali is located at [show location on an interactive map] 32°10?N 77°06?E? / ?32.16, 77.1. It has an average elevation of 2625 metres (8612 feet).
As of 2001 India census, Manali had a population of 6265. Males constitute 64% of the population and females 36%. Manali has an average literacy rate of 74%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 80%, and female literacy is 63%. In Manali, 9% of the population is under 6 years of age.
Manali is named after the Brahmin lawgiver Manu. The word Manali literally means “the abode of Manu”. Legend has it that sage Manu stepped off his ark in Manali to recreate human life after a great flood had deluged the world. Manali is known as the "Valley of the Gods". The Old Manali village has an ancient temple dedicated to sage Manu.
In ancient times, the valley was sparsely populated by nomadic hunters known as "rakshas". The next arrivals were the shepherds who arrived from the Kangra valley and settled to take up agriculture. Some of the earliest inhabitants of the region are the ‘naur’ or ‘nar’, which is a caste unique to the Kullu valley. Only a few naur families are known to exist now. A naur family in the village Soyal near Haripur on the west bank of Manali was famous for the vast land they owned and their practice of having ‘rakshas’ as their labourers.
The British were responsible for introducing apples and trout which were not native to Manali. It is said that when apple trees were first planted the fruits were so plentiful that often branches, unable to bear the weight would collapse. To this day apple along with plum and pear remains the best source of income for the majority of its inhabitants.
Tourism in Manali received a real boost after the rise of militancy in Kashmir in the late 1980s. This once quiet village was transformed into a bustling town with hundreds of hotels and restaurants.
Mall street, Manali
Manali is well connected by road to Delhi through NH-21 which goes on the Leh and is the world’s highest motorable road. Leading up to Manali from New Delhi are the towns of Panipat and Ambala in Haryana, Chandigarh(Union Territory), Ropar in Punjab, and Bilaspur, Sundernagar, and Mandi in Himachal.
Manali is not easily approachable by rail. The nearest broad gauge railheads are at Chandigarh (315 km), Pathankot (325 km) and Kalka (310 km). The nearest narrow gauge railhead is at Joginder Nagar (135 km)
The nearest airport is at Bhuntar, which is about 50 km from Manali. The only private airline in the region is Jagson Airlines. Offlate services have been started by Air Deccan as well as Indian Airlines who fly daily to Bhuntar Airport.
 Tourism in Manali
Traditional home, Manali, 2004
River Beas and mountains as seen from Van Vihar
A view of Rohtang Pass in Manali
Mountain ranges in Manali
Bridge in the middle of town with prayer flags
Buddha Statue at Buddhist monastery
A view of Circuit House Road covered in snow
 Tourist Attractions
Manali is a popular Himalayan tourist destination and accounts for nearly a quarter of all tourist arrivals in Himachal Pradesh. It is visited by many trekkers who follow the hashish trail. Manali’s charas is considered to be the best in India. The valleys provide natural U.V lights as fields are high up the mountain and high grade grows directly from the sunlight.ala. Manali’s cool atmosphere provides a perfect haven for the ones afflicted by the hot Indian summers. It is famous for adventure sports like skiing, hiking, mountaineering, para gliding, rafting, trekking, kayaking, and mountain biking. It also offers hot springs, spectacular religious shrines and temples, Tibetan Buddhist temples, and trekking in the surrounding mountains.
Naggar Fort south of Manali is a reminder of the 1500 year old Pal Dynasty. Made from rocks, stones, and elaborate wood carvings, it is an ensemble of the rich and elegant artworks of Himachal. The castle was later converted to a rest house and luxury hotel. Tourists often stop at the castle to see the small shrine located in the building’s courtyard, a fine example of architecture and design from the Pal Dynasty.
The often visited site in Manali is the Dhungri or Hadimba Temple. Erected in 1533, this temple is dedicated to the local deity Hadimba, wife of the Pandava prince, Bhim. A major festival is held here in the month of May. The temple is noted for its four-storeyed pagoda and exquisite wooden carvings.
Manali is known for its shiny gompas or Buddhist monasteries. With the highest concentration of Tibetan refugees in the entire Kullu valley, it is famous for its Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa, built in 1969. The monastery is maintained by donations from the local community and through the sale of hand-woven carpets in the temple workshop
The smaller and more modern Himalayan Nyingamapa Gompa stands nearer the bazaar, in a garden blooming with sunflowers. Its main shrine, lit by dozens of electric bulbs and fragrant with Tibetan incense, houses a colossal gold-faced Buddha, best viewed from the small room on the first floor.
The Museum of Traditional Himachal Culture, near the Hadimba temple, is worth a visit, which houses artifacts of folk art of the entire Kullu valley.
 Places around Manali
Rohtang Pass, at an altitude of 13,050 feet above sea level, is another adventure tourist site where it can be cold even on a summer day. It is the highest point on the Manali-Keylong road and provides a wide panoramic view of mountains rising far above clouds, which is truly breath taking. Close by is a small lake called Dassaur Lake. Beas Kund, the source of river Beas, is also nearby. In winter, the road of Rothang Pass is closed.
Rahala waterfalls: About 16 km from Manali at the start of the climb to the Rohtang Pass, are the beautiful Rahalla Falls at an altitude of 2,501 m.
Monasteries: Manali is known for its shiny gompas or Buddhist monasteries. It is maintained by donations from the local community and by sale of hand-woven carpets in the temple workshop.
Rani Nala – 46 km from Manali, it is the glacier point where snow is available throughout the year.
Vashist Hot Water Springs and Temple: Around 3 km from Manali, across the Beas river is Vashist, a small village with natural sulphur springs. Modern bathhouses,now closed, due to a conflict with the elders of the village and Manali council. Vasistha  a sage narrated Yoga Vasishtha an ancient scripture to Rama. A unique and an extremely profound discourse, that provides innumerable insights and secrets to the inner world of consciousness. This extremely huge scripture covers all the topics that relate to the spiritual study of a seeker. Vaishisht, also boasts a pair of old stone temples, opposite each other above the main square. Dedicated to the local patron saint Vashista, the smaller of the two opens on to a partially covered courtyard, and is adorned with elaborate woodcarvings those lining the interior of the shrine, blackened by years of oil-lamp and incense smoke, are particularly fine. In this ornate quadrangle is the resting place of the local and transient sadhus, drinking chai, and smoking chillums with whoever will join them in reverence to The Lord Shiva and Guru Vashshist. The temple baths are separated into male and female and the water is often unbearably hot.
Solang valley, popularly known as Snow Point, is 13 km northwest of Manali and famous for its 300-meter ski lift. It is a picturesque spot and offers splendid views of glaciers and the snow-capped mountains. Jagatsukh, the former capital of Manali, is also an important spot.
At a distance of 3 km northwest of Manali is Old Manali, famous for its orchards and old guesthouses. There is ruined fort here by the name of Manaligarh. There is also the Manu Maharishi Temple, dedicated to sage Manu.
Manikaran: 85 km from Manali and 45 km from Kullu, lies in the Parvati Valley. Here icy cold waters of the Parvati river co-exist with hot-water springs side-by-side. The springs are known for their healing properties.
 Adventure Sports
Skiing is a major pastime in Manali. Facilities for skiing are available at Solang Nullah (January-March) and Rohtang La (during summer). The Mountaineering Institute at Solang Nullah is a good training institute. Heli skiing is possible at the deep snowfields.
Skiing at Solang
The Mountaineering Institute and Allied Sports is about 3 km from the Mall and offers mountaineering and kayaking courses. Kayaking is possible on the Beas River.
There are several good hikes from Manali. The 12 km hike up the western banks of the Beas to the Solang Valley is noteworthy. Lama Dugh meadow is a 6 km hike up to the Manalsu Nala, west of Manali town.
For the best trekking expedition, take a trek from Solang Valley, on to Dhundhi and from there to Dussar lake and then onwards to Manali. This stretch will take you to places you would have only dreamt of. Pure, unadulterated adventure and fun. Be sure to have a good guide at your disposal who knows this area otherwise you would be lost forever. The trek would typically last for 5 days.
In the summers, several travel agencies organize paragliding on the slopes of the Solang Nullah. The charges generally include accommodation, food, equipment, and a guide, but not transport.
From May to July and, depending on the monsoons, from mid-September to mid-October, some basic rafting is possible on the Beas. The trips generally begin at Pirdi and continue 16 km down to Jhiri.
The HPTDC provides day permits for fishing. Permits can be obtained also at Patlikhul. Angling in the Kullu valley is possible at Larji, Katrain and Kasol.
Beas Kund is the lake from which the River Beas originates. It is considered holy and sacred. Besides being a holy pilgrimage place, it is a popular destination for trekking.
River Crossing over Beas is a popular sport in Manali
Manali is among the most popular adventure sports destinations in India. Manali offers opportunities for mountaineering, skiing, trekking, paragliding, white water rafting, river crossing and mountain biking. Yak skiing is a sport unique to this area.. Manali also featured in Time magazine’s "Best of Asia" for its "Extreme Yak Sports".