Manali is a vibrant hill station located in the lap of the Kullu valley. Referred to as the “Queen of Hills”, Manali stands at an altitude of 2050 meters in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. Blessed with snow-covered peaks, lush green forests, beautiful meadows, and fruit orchards, Manali is truly special in its way. It continues to lure people with its beautiful snow-clad mountains and natural beauty. You need not plan a long vacation to explore the place. Even 3 to 4 days would be just enough. Your budget won’t pose a limitation and here’s how.
Manali is a pretty well-connected town and remains so for the entire year. Most of the people prefer starting their journey to Manali from Delhi. Delhi is at a distance of 530 km from Manali. First, you need to go to Delhi from the city you reside in. Then the best way to reach Manali from Delhi would be via Volvo buses, which would cost you about INR 1000 to INR 1300. After an overnight journey of 12 hours, you would reach your destination. You could also go via Chandigarh but this is the cheapest route available.
Instead of a bus, you could opt for a train. You could take Sachkhand Express from New Delhi to Ambala Cantonment and then HRTC from Ambala Cantt. To Manali. The cost would reduce a bit in this case. You also have the option of a cab if your budget allows.
In case you are traveling to Manali in the peak season (around May or June), then it would be wise to have a pre-booked hotel. In other months, you can look around for hotels around the Gurudwara roads as those are pocket-friendly. In March, November or January, you could find some good budget-friendly hotels after reaching Manali. Off-season could even gain you some discount through bargain.
Manali is one of the most visited tourist spots and so comprise of both budget and luxurious stays. There are thousands of hotels here and you can stay here for as low as INR 700 to 800. So, a stay in Manali for 3 days for two people would cost around INR 3000 to INR 4000 per room including breakfast and dinner.
Manali’s natural beauty will always be on the top of the list. This is one place that has a unique color in every season, be it summer or peak winters. It is a feast for the eyes but some places will always be major attractions of the trip. Here is a list of some such places you must visit.
This remains the best tourist attraction of Manali to date. Featuring snow-clad hills all around, Rohtang Pass is nature at its very best. On the way, you will find Rahala Waterfall which would add to the beauty of the journey. It remains open from the end of May to the third week of October at the most. People come here from distant places to witness the majestic snow-covered mountains and experience various adventure sports that include skiing, snow scooter and many more.
This is a wood and stone temple built in 1553 and was dedicated to the worship of the demon wife of Bheem, Hadimba. There is a sacred tree nearby which is worshipped as a form of Ghatothkach, son of Hadimba and Bheem. The place is surrounded by a beautiful cedar forest where many Bollywood scenes have been shot.
Speak of lush green forests, lakes, snow-capped mountain peaks and apple orchards and you get Solang Valley. This place is very famous for its wide array of adventure sports like paragliding, zorbing, skiing, parachuting and so on. The entire place transforms into a ski resort in winter. You could ride the ropeway as well to enjoy a 360-degree view of the surrounding valley.
Located around 6 km from Gulaba, you would have to venture on a trek to reach here. Legend has it that Gods took dips in the waters of this lake which gives it the name “the Lake of Gods”. The lake never completely freezes or so is it said.
This is a cold water natural spring named after Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who drank water from this spring. It is located around 5 km from Manali and is fed by the water flowing from Bhrigu Lake.
At a distance of 80 km from Manali, this is a small sacred town called Manikaran. The place houses numerous temples and a Gurudwara as well. It is also quite famous for its hot water springs.
Located 3 km from Manali, this hot spring is immensely popular since the water is said to contain medicinal properties. Bathing arrangements can also be made in Turkish style showers.
You have to book your cabs in advance if you plan your trip in the peak season. You could go for a cheaper conveyance, that is, government buses which run periodically from Manali to Rohtang. Shared cabs are the best way to reach the Solang valley. A cab shared by 4 people will cost you no more than INR 100 to 125 each. Manikaran too can be covered via a shared cab. The rest of the places will not cost you anything or cost you a very minimal amount since you’d have to trek to reach these places.
Manali is a kind of a hub of various tourist activities and you will enjoy them throughout your trip. The list below consists of the activities you can indulge in and the cost involved, while at Manali:
For budget travelers, the best time to visit is the offbeat season, that is, from July to December. The room prices and bike or car rental prices remain low. Moreover, it is a better time to explore the local life and the natural beauty of this wonderful hill station. However, to skip the summer heat, you should visit Manali in May or June.
If you plan to visit Manali in the summer months, then regular cotton clothes would be just fine. During winters, do not forget to carry enough woolens to stay warm. The temperature in the monsoon lingers around 7 degrees to 10 degrees. It could rain here non-stop in the monsoon months, so make sure to bring proper rain gear to keep yourself dry.