Manali is the best destination in India to cool off your summer heat and to enjoy snow activities like rides, skiing, zorbing and sledding in winter. It is a backpacker’s paradise and honeymooner’s destination. It offers a range for adventurous activities for those that need an adrenaline rush. Manali offers a heavenly escape to families and everyone from the real world. Be it a laid-back holiday, family trip, pilgrimage trip or backpacking trip; visit Manali to witness these main attractions. Hadimba Devi Temple The ancient temple of Hadimba Devi was built in the year 1553 and the structure stood still over the passing years. The temple is surrounded by dense cedar forests which stop the sun rays from touching the ground in surrounding regions. The deity of the temple is called the goddess of nature. The temple is 2km away from Manali town and tourists can visit from 8 am to 6 pm throughout the week. Most of the tourists prefer to trek to the temple as it is in walking distance. Local people call this 4-story structure as Dhungiri temple and the temple goddess Hadimba is the wife of (Bheem) one of the 5 Pandavas as portrayed in Indian epic Mahabharata. Vashisht Village 6 km away from Manali lies the village of Vashisht on the banks of river Beas. The beauty of the village lies in its natural springs and sandstone temples. It is a famous tourist spot for the visitors for its hot sulfur springs. Different bathing accommodations are arranged for men and women that visit the hot springs. The two temples which attract the tourists here are dedicated to Lord Ram and sage Vashisht. The temple is known to have existed for over 4000 years and is considered sacred. The old village has a rustic charm and soothing effect on its visitors. Solang Valley Solang valley which is popularly known as snow valley is a hub for sport adventures like trekking, mountaineering, paragliding, and skiing. The valley offers a unique experience for those that love pleasant nature and for those that need adrenaline-filled activities. Winter season brings picturesque beauty to the valley. Do not forget to experience camping if you visit in summer and skiing if you visit in winter. Snowmobiling and ropeway are not to be missed experiences as the landscapes make the ride even more exciting. 14 km away from Manali, Solang Valley is the paragliding paradise for thrill-seekers from all over the world. Rohtang Pass Manali trip is incomplete without visiting the famous Rohtang Pass which connects two beautiful valleys (Manali and Lahaul & Spiti). The elevation levels (3900 m) are quite high and are often deadly as several people lost lives. The Rohtang valley is translated as the ground of corpses but people visit this location for the scenic beauty it offers. The roads are closed in extreme winter months during heavy snowfall for the safety of people. Rohtang Pass lies 51 km away from Manali. Adventure seekers brave through harsh climate, slippery roads, and curves to reach Rohtang pass. Visitors are greeted with cool mountain air, glaciers and frozen lakes which makes their thrilling journey memorable. Naggar Castle Just 20 km away from Manali in Naggar Castle this was once the capital of Kullu Kings. Take a day on your Manali trip and visit this world heritage village to see its architecture and know its history. The architecture is clever with mixed use of wood and stones to make the structure strong and eye-pleasing. There are few temples and an art gallery to visit after seeing the Naggar Castle. The castle is over 500 years old and recently the state government has made it into a heritage hotel and allows travelers to book rooms for accommodation. Kheerganga The little treasure hidden in Himachal Pradesh which is often under-explored by tourists is Kheerganga. It lies on the top of Parvati Valley. It is a must-visit destination for nature lovers, trekking enthusiasts and those that love Hot springs. Kheerganga offers several trekking trails to the tourists and a bunch of adventure activities. The trek to Kheerganga is an easy one suitable even for beginners and the hot water springs serve as your bathtub amidst amazing mountains. It is a splendid summer destination for all those that need to escape the scorching Indian heat. Accommodation here is pretty cheap as home-stays are available as compared to hotel stays. Kasol Kasol is the traveler’s heaven and a newly found gem in the backpacker’s map with fewer crowds. The natural splendor of Kasol is addictive with beautiful mountains and small hamlets. Take a stroll by Parvati River as it clears your mind and rejuvenates your body. Named as Mini Israel, you get to feast on Israeli dishes in Kasol. Reconnect with your childhood as it offers the opportunity to play indoor board games and outdoor games like badminton in Jim Morison Café. April is the perfect time to visit Kasol as it has a chilly climate with running streams and best landscape views. Manikaran Located in Parvati Valley, Manikaran lies 4 km away from Kasol. It is an ideal place to trek, camp and visit temples amidst the mountains. The town is situated at a height of 1750m above sea level. Hindus and Sikhs consider this as a sacred pilgrimage site. Hindus visit with the belief that Manu created life on earth at this town while Sikhs visit it as their first guru visited the Gurudwara here. Other tourists visit this town for the famous healing hot water springs. A dip in the hot water spring is considered to be healing. Lots of legendary stories connected to Indian epics took place in Manikaran making it a famous tourist destination. Tosh Village At the far end of Parvati Valley lies Tosh village which is visited scarcely by tourists. This hidden gem offers a quiet tourist destination for anyone that likes tranquility of nature. For people starting on a Kheerganga trek, Tosh village is nearby as it is located close to Barsheni (base camp for the trek). Tosh village offers splendid views of Parvati valley and treats your eyes to hills, waterfalls, and breathtaking landscapes. The village is located at an altitude of 8000ft on top of a hill. Visit Jamdagi Rishi temple during your visit to the village. Malana Village The village which is popular for stoner’s culture and backpacker’s recent favorite getaway is Malana. The village is secluded from the rest of the world and is full of Taboo as locals keep their culture and traditions strict. Outsiders are not warmly welcomed here but the village infamously famous for Cannabis. This small hamlet lies 9600 ft in Parvati valley. The locals of the village consider outsiders as inferiors and take offense if tourists touch them or their houses and walls. The locals love their land and nature so damaging their trees or burning wood in forests is considered a crime. Videography is also strictly prohibited while photography is allowed with consent. Jogini Waterfalls Of all the amazing treks Manali offers, Jogini waterfalls trek is the most beautiful one. The trek starts from Vashisht temple and takes about 4 km to reach the waterfalls. The trek route is easy till you reach the base of waterfalls and gets difficult to reach the peak. The waterfalls lie behind the Jogini Mata temple which is a Shakti Peeth. This cascading waterfall falls from a height of 150 m and tourists can swim in the pool at the base. Avoid visiting the place in monsoon as it gets slippery and dangerous. Jana Waterfalls 32 km away from Manali lies a small village called Jana. There is a natural waterfall in this village surrounded by deodar forests, pine trees, and apple orchards. The waterfalls look hidden to outside eye till you reach the spot. There is a small wooden bridge and overlooking that is a cluster of rocks from which the waterfalls. People living in nearby places, escape to the village for its serene and ambient atmosphere. Though the roads are slippery, the atmosphere is cool and refreshes your senses well. Beas Kund Beas Kund has great significance in history and religion as it is the place of origin of river Beas. It is surrounded by Dauldhar mountain ranges of Himalayas. The place offers mesmerizing views of mountain peaks and beautiful valleys filled with wildflowers. Tourists get to witness melting glaciers form a small stream and finally become Beas River. The trekking distance is about 45 km and takes 3 days to finish the trek. The ideal time for the trek is June to October months with spectacular views of nature. Trekkers get to camp near the meadows at night before resuming trek the next day. Gaitri Mata Temple The ancient temple of Gayatri Mata is located at Jagatsukh near Manali. The temple is famous for its architecture among tourists but locals throng the place daily for their belief in goddess and to visit the Shiva temple behind it. The temple was initially built for Gayatri Devi alone in 1962 but it later became a temple complex with the addition of Lord Shiva, Ganesha, Anjaneya, Parvathi Devi, lord Shanmuka and Lord Vishnu. It is 6 km away from Manali road and is situated on the left bank of Beas River. Lord Rama from Ramayan and Pandavas from Mahabharta are believed to have visited this place from epics point of view. Old Manali Old Manali is fresh and devoid of tourists as compared to new Manali which is thronged with honeymooners and tourists. Old Manali and New Manali town are just separated by Beas River. Old Manali has a lot of natural trails and amazing scenery. The air is pure and the water tastes fresh with amazing food. It offers a good base camp for trekkers that opt to go to Chandratal, Kheerganga, Lahaul, Spiti, and Pin valleys. Old Manali is famous for shopping for handmade things and hospitable locals. Backpackers love old Manali as party scenes are good in summer. Rani Sui Lake Rani Sui Lake is a mesmerizing lake located at an altitude of 11000 ft. the trek to the lake is incredibly beautiful as you go through the carpeted forest. The views of the trek are amazing with Pir Panjal and Dhauldhar ranges. The lake is named after a queen that gave birth near it. The lake is located on the Khan and Pari Tibba peak of the Dauldhar mountain range. The difficulty of the trek to this lake is moderate and takes 4-5 days to reach it. Trek usually starts from Manali and trekkers are greeted by views of glaciers and untouched meadows on their way. Kutla Village There are some places which you discover by chance and fall in love with them. Kutla Village is one such gem that can be discovered after passing through Tosh. The landscape is set awesomely, serenely and breathtakingly beautiful. The setting of the village looks like makeshift residence rather than something permanent. Overlooking the snow-capped peaks and apple orchards, Kutla village looks quaintly perfect for mediation. The location of Kutla is at an altitude of 2700 m and the temperature is quite low even in summers. It is a perfect destination if you don’t mind trekking to get some idyllic peace. Rahla Falls At the starting point of Rohtang pass lies a famous picnic spot called Rahla falls. With mighty Himalayan ranges as a backdrop and surrounding deodar and Birch trees, Rahla falls are scenic to view. The melting glaciers serve as a source of water for these falls. It is situated at a distance of 15 km away from Manali at an altitude of 8500 feet. The water coming from the falls is very cold as it is the result of melted snow. Tourists visit it for the fresh air and scenic beauty it offers. Make it your summer respite or a shortstop before moving to Rohtang pass. Tirthan Valley For those looking for a relaxing environment to wash away their stress, Tirthan valley offers an ideal destination. Tourists enjoy various activities like trout fishing, camping, bonfires, rock climbing, kayaking, bird watching, hiking, trekking, and photography. Perched at an altitude of 1600 m, it acts as a gateway to Great Himalayan National Park. Families and friends can visit this place to rejuvenate in the lap of nature. Tirthan valley is located in the town of Banjar and hence the valley is also known as Banjar Valley. Trout fishing is famous in the Tirthan River which flows through Tirthan Valley. Jibhi Hidden in Banjar Valley unknown to tourists is the place called Jibhi. Jibhi gives the perfect blend of history and hiking experience to discerning tourists. The places to visit in and around Jibhi are gushing waterfalls, Shringi Rishi temple, Chehni Fort, Serolsar Lake, and Jalori Pass. Jibhi provides the required seclusion in the hills away from maddening tourist crowds. Homestays are the only option for accommodation as it is not a touristy spot. Trout is available in abundance in the Tirthan River near Jibhi. Try your hand at fishing and angling while you are at it. Seryolsar Lake ( Jalori Pass) 25 km away from Banjar valley, there is a beautiful lake called Serolsar Lake. Tourists make a short 5 km trek from Jalori Pass to reach the lake. The lake lies at an altitude of 3200 m and is surrounded by thick alpine forests. The water of the lake is crystal clear and there is a myth surrounding the lake that not even a single leaf falls into the water. The myth states that birds remove small leaves which fall in the lake and keep the water clean. The water is said to have medicinal value. Tourists visit the Buddha Nagini temple which lies on the other side of the lake during the visit. Chehni Kothi Chehni Kothi is a small village located in the Jibhi valley. The village looks secluded from rest and is very pristine at an altitude of 2200 m. the village became famous for its two temple towers that are known to be more than 1500 years old. Thought the village has no motorable road, tourists trek to reach the village. The Shringi Rishi temple and the great tower of Chehni Kothi act as defensive structures protecting the village. Earthquakes have devastated the tower of Chehni Kothi but it still stands tall. It is made of deodar wood and stones showing the architectural brilliance. Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) GHNP is a beautiful place to visit and should not be missed on your Manali trip. The park preserves the natural habitat of flora and fauna and became the UNESCO recognized world heritage site. The ecozone of GHNP covers 160 villages, 800 flora species, and 470 fauna species. The list of flora ranges from mighty trees like deodar, oak, pine, cedar to medicinal herbs and fauna ranges from musk deer, snow leopard to 181 bird species. Some of the activities to do here are trekking, rock climbing, bird watching, rappelling, and nature watching. Kalga and Pulga Kalga and Pulga villages are located in Parvati Valley. They both are off-beat destinations set in solitude and natural beauty of Himalayas. Make most of your stay in Kalga by taking a stroll in the wild serene village. Apple plantations are and orchards are famous in Kalga and every house seems to have apple trees. Pulga village welcomes you with wooden houses and green pastures. Locals rely on tea plantations for income ad overnight homestay is a must to enjoy the local culture and food. Pulga is also famously known as fairy forest among tourists due to the presence of thick deodar jungle near the village. Bijli Mahadev 22 km away from Kullu valley, there is a sacred Shiva temple called Bijli Mahadev temple. It lies at an altitude of 2500 m and can be reached with a 3 km trek. The story about the temple is very famous indeed as every year lightning strikes the Lingam form of Shiva and the idol breaks into pieces. It is later put together by the priest and the Lingam assumes its form in a few weeks. Locals believe that Lord Shiva protects them by enduring all the pain and suffering. The temple is decorated with simple carvings of mythological figures and hand-painted doors. Hampta Pass Hampta Pass offers a grand trek to tourists visiting in any month and the trek is relatively easy as the altitude levels are as low as 4300 m. the biggest attraction for trekkers is the abundance of snow it offers in June. The trek to Hampta Pass is interesting as the landscapes change beautifully as you travel from valleys to meadows. The trek takes 4-5 days and you will end up looking Chandratal Lake after finishing the trek. You get to witness a beautiful natural waterfall on the trekking route. There are campsites for trekkers to rest along the way. Jia village Jia Khas village is one of the least populated villages and it falls in the district of Kangra in Himachal Pradesh. Tourists can visit Jia village through the nearest town called Palampur. It is located at an altitude of 1250 m above sea level. The nearest railway station to reach the village is Chamunda Marg railway station. There are local temples of Shiva and other deities that can visit during your trip. Deo Tibba Base Deo Tibba peak can be witnessed as you trek in the Deo Tibba trail starting from Rumsu base camp. The forests and meadows along the trail impart scenic beauty to the trekking. The dazzling landscape is lined with trees of fir, Pine, Spruce, and Oak forests. The Deo Tibba peak stands tall at a height of 6000 m. the beautiful trek ends once you reach the Chota Chandratal Lake which sands mesmerizing with its emerald waters. It takes 6-7 days to finish the trek while enjoying in the lap of nature. It is a perfect trekking option for adventure seekers that travel alone. Kullu Dussehra Unlike anywhere in India, Kullu Dussehra commences on the tenth day known as Vijay Dasami and celebrates for 7 more days. This grand celebration of the festival takes place in Dhalpur Maidan in the Valley of Kullu. Thousands of People visit and enjoy the festival from all over the world. The festival stems from the belief that local deities rule the land and celebrates the victory of good over evil. Cultural dance and music are part of the festival with a huge procession carrying the idol of Raghunathji on a chariot. The last day of festival commemorates with burning of wood at Beas River. Deities of Kullu Valley Among many other things Kullu Valley is known for like nature, scenic beauty, and adventure activities, it is also known as Valley of Gods. Each village in Kullu has its deity to worship, follow rituals and customs. All the temples come with a legendary story of how the deity protected the land and its people. Uniquely, all deities come together on the Dussehra festival to earth to rejoice. Colorful processions are arranged with music and dance to celebrate the presence of gods and triumph of good over evil. Culture Cuisine & Tradition of Kullu District The culture of Kullu arises from the god-fearing age-old traditions that are mostly centered on the deities they worship. The people lead a simple life and aim for perseverance. They worship nature and all things related to it. The occupation of the villagers is primarily farming and animal husbandry before tourism kicked in. Architectural richness is evident in the carvings on the temples. Folk dances and rural fairs are celebrated in every village. The traditional dress of women is Pattoo which is a colorful cloth thicker than a shawl. Hand-woven clothes are popular in Kullu with bright colors and designs. The traditional food of Kullu valley comprises of red rice, lotus stems, Mittha, Dham, Sidu, Aktori, Trout dish and Cha Gosht. Raghunath & Shringa Rishi Temple Raghunath temple is dedicated to Lord Ram and it is constructed by Raja Jagat Singh in the 17th century. The majestic temple lies in Kullu Valley at an altitude of 2000 m. the temple holds a lot of significance in history as the Ram idol was brought from Ayodhya, the birthplace of Rama. Shringa Rishi temple is located in the Banjar valley dedicated to rishya Shringa. Locals consider this sage very sacred and believe that he protects them from all evil. The temple is located about 50 km away from Kullu. The importance of Rishya Shringa can be found in Indian epics and hence the respect. Brijeswar Temple Bajaura 15 km away from Kullu is a 9th-century Basheshwar Mahadev temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located in the Bajaura village about 4km away from Bhutnar airport. It is the largest stone temple of all located in Kullu Valley. The temple is beautiful with carvings and houses the idols of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The climate is pleasant all around the year but October month is the best time to visit temples. Sharabai Monastry ( Dechen Choekhor Buddhism) & Kais Monastery The Sharabai Monastery is located in Bhunter and Kais Monastery is located in Kais village near Beas River. The monasteries are built to preserve the Tibetan culture and promote Buddhism in a world full of stressful situations. The Sharabai Monastery is also called Dechen Cheokhor monastery which means Dharma Abode of great bliss. Students from all over the world can come to study and train in Lineage Rinpoche. Kais Monastery is inaugurated by his holiness Dalai Lama in 2005. Buddha dharma is taught and preached here. Kais wildlife sanctuary It is located 16 km away from Kullu city and the sanctuary boasts of diverse species of birds and animals. The amazing landscape houses a wild variety of plants and trees that protect the animals from extinction. Himalayan black bear and Brown bear are the main attractions in the wildlife sanctuary along with musk deer, hyenas, barking deer, leopards, and Himalayan Tahr. Some of the birds which can be seen during the visit are western Tragopan, peacocks, pheasants, mynahs, and hornbill.