In the land of snow balls and skiing...
Road to the Rohtang pass
The formidable 51 kms climb up to the pass 13, 060 ft above the sea level, along rough bridle pass used to send the adrenaline level shooting level. But once on the top, the stunning panoramas of the snow peaks and glaciers, and the desolate Lahaul Valley below would banish all fears. As you get in your four wheel drive and join the crowds heading for the windswept strip of land, 10 kms from this place you will pass Palchan, the turn-off point for Solang Nallah. Prepare yourself for a steep trek and you don't have to bend in for the hair pin curves. The drive here is dizzying, especially for children. But if the road is clear of the snow, you will be rewarded with a spell binding view. 40 kms. away from Kulu to the north, Manali is situated near the end of the valley on the National Highway leading to Leh. One sees well-defined snow capped peaks, the Beas river with its clear water meanders through the town. On the other side are deodar and pine trees, tiny fields and fruit orchards.
En route stop-off the Snow Point - not a static point as it 'shifts' with the snow. Interestingly the closest point to Manali is ample of snow for tourist is christened Snow Points by the local taxi and tour operators. Bury here yourself with the snow if you haven't ever seen snow here. En route stop by the village of Kothi, a cold, windy and beautiful alpine meadows where you get to enjoy possibly one of the most phenomenal views ever to be had of the Beas, as the river comes roaring down the through the deep gorge.
High adventure at Solang
The excellent combination of wooded forests, snow covered slopes, green open valleys and the fast flowing Beas make Manali an ideal destination for mountain adventure sports. Heavy spells of snowfall open the season of ultimate mountain sports, skiing, which can begin as early as November and last till as late as June. At Solang Nallah you can start on 100 kms of snow. Make a trip to these hotspots by bus or taxi from Manali. For adventure here there is heliskiig from January 15-March 31. This is a week package run by Government around the Hamta Pass such as Johri and Bhrigu Lakes and Rohtang Pass. If you are a first timer you can take paragliding just one minute. The Beas is wild river and rafting here needs a strong nerve.
Manali is a perfect place to hike, climb and picnics combined with sun-bathing and fishing. There are many apple orchards and fruit gardens near the lovely town. Experience the local color and beauty in Manali's temples, quaint villages and the vibrant and festive mood of the people and their colorful clothes and handicrafts. Or encounter adventure; on the myriad trekking trails and routes, while skiing
Manali central attraction in terms of history and architecture is undoubtedly the Dhoongri Temple. Dedicated to goddess Hadimba, the Bhim of Mahabharat fame, it has four-tiered Pagoda shaped roof and the doorway is carved with legendary figures and symbols. It is a pleasant experience to stroll in the temple complex which was built in 1533 A.D. A large festival is held here in May.
There are 3 newly constructed colorful monasteries, where visitors can buy carpets and other Tibetan handicrafts. Two are located in the town and one at Aleo on the left bank of Beas river.
Situated 3 kms. on the left bank of river Beas towards Kulu, this Institute organizes basic & advance training courses, in trekking, mountaineering, skiing and water sports. Skiing and trekking equipments can be hired from here by booking in advance.
Vashist Hot Water Springs And Temple
Vashist, a small village located on the left bank of river Beas towards Rohtang pass is worth a visit. It is renowned for its hot springs and temples. Nearby is the pyramidal stone temple dedicated to Vashist Muni. There is another Temple of Lord Ram here. Natural hot sulphur springs with two separate bathing tanks for gents and ladies are always full of tourists.
- The nearest airport is Bhuntar and the long hill drive is really cool. Highway driving right through overnight luxury bus.
- The best to visit Manali is from mid April to end June, to August when Rohtang Pass is open.
- Tourist Offices: HPTDC. Mall Road, Manali.