Manali is a popular backpacking and honeymoon destination in India’s northern state of Himachal Pradesh. Set on the banks of the Beas River, it is a gateway to adventure activities in Solang, Gulaba, and Kothi. But there is much more to the town and its popular tourist spots than adventure. Some of these places are always buzzing with tourists, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should give them a miss. In fact, if you are visiting for the first time, such places to visit in Manali must be on your itinerary.
Located 6589 feet above sea level and 3 km uphill from Manali, Himachal Pradesh, lies the town of Old Manali, a quiet settlement that lays beneath a valley with a vast coverage of apple orchards. Manali is divided into Old Manali and New Manali by the Manalsu River. Old Manali is led by a bridge over the river. In comparison to New Manali, it is cleaner and less crowded, thereby inducing a lot of travellers to visit this place more often than New Manali.
The serenity of Old Manali is perhaps unique. The swaying eucalyptus, gently winding roads, gushing waters of the Kullu river and beautiful hills of this destination make it the perfect natural retreat. Indulge in some delicious continental food at low prices here, and shop for knick-knacks from the local markets here. The sunrise and sunsets here are intoxicating, and you will surely love the energy of this place. Old Manali is most famous for its Hidimba temple. Tucked away in the lap of quiet nature, this destination is the perfect place to experience the pure beauty of Himachal Pradesh.
Places To Visit In Manali
1. Solang Valley
Solang Valley is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Himachal Pradesh. It is popular for adventure sports. During winters, Solang valley is covered with snow making skiing is a popular sport here. There are training institutes and trainers located to supervise skiers and train beginners. As the snow melts, skiing is taken over by zorbing. Another popular attraction of Solang valley, taking advantage of the slopes of the valley, you are likely to spot a huge transparent ball with mostly two people inside it rolling down the slope during summers. Yes, Zorbing is as much fun as it looks like. One of the most vibrant and enjoyable places in Manali, there is no way one can possibly miss this amazing valley, while here. A favourite for adventure enthusiasts, parachuting to paragliding, horse riding to driving mini-open jeeps specially available for tourists of all age groups, Solang Valley has it all.
The crystal snow in Solang starts making an appearance towards the beginning of October. With the onset of core winter months, the temperature can drop down to -1 °C with nights being especially chilly, so carrying plenty of woollens is advisable. December to January is the peak time for snowfall and is the ideal time to enjoy adventure sports.The best part about Solang Valley is that it is an all-season place.
2. Jogini Waterfall
Jogini Waterfall is located in the beautiful Valley of Manali. Trek from Vashisht Temple through pine trees and orchards, to the mesmerising Jogini Waterfalls cascading from a height of 160 feet makes it a popular tourist spot. The trekkers are enchanted as they cross several smaller streams with a dazzling view of River Beas and the snow-dusted peaks of Rohtang. A complete treat for nature lovers and adventure seekers, the Jogini Waterfall must be visited when exploring the breathtaking valley of Manali.
3. Hadimba Temple
Hadimba temple, away from the hustle and bustle of city life, is a peaceful place surrounded by towering deodar trees. The temple is dedicated to Hidimba, the wife of Bhima, one of the five Pandava prince from the great Indian epic Mahabharata. The main attraction of the temple is the three day Hidimba Devi Festival, which attracts devotees from all over the world and features colourful folk dance performances.
4. Rohtang Pass
Rohtang pass is the stretch which connects Manali to Himachal's more dreamy and dessert-like landscapes, Spiti and Lahaul. This vast snow desert is a landscape like only a few other and a view one should not miss. Popular adventure sports here are sledge ride, mountain biking, and skiing. Many blockbusters ranging from 'Jab We Met' to 'Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani' have been shot here.
5. Parvati Valley
Parvati Valley is famous for the backpacker hangouts, and adventure activities. It is also a popular amongst hippie travellers for its famous charas (hashish), rave parties, and spiritual experience. Kasol, Malana, Tosh, Kalga, Pulga, Rasol, Kheerganga and Chalal are some of the vilages located in Parvati Valley.
6. Sethan Valley
Sethan is a quaint village in Himachal Pradesh, approximately 12 km from Manali. This Buddhist village is a tiny hamlet that oversees the Dhauladhar range. Covered in snow during winters, Sethan Valley is a great place to try out skiing and snowboarding.
7. Jana Waterfall
Jana Waterfall is a 30 feet high watefall located near Manali in a quaint village called Jana. One has to trek to the waterfall through dense deodar and pine trees amidst snow-capped mountains. The climb is easier compared to many others in the region and can be completed by beginner level hikers too. There's a wooden bridge laid perpendicular to the direction of Jana Falls which trekkers use to walk across. There is seating arrangement near the waterfall.
8. Arjun Gufa
Arjun Gufa is considered to be a legendary natural formation in Manali. The cave is a favourite picnic spot and is also famous for the adventure of exploring the creation from inside. The climb up to the cave is exciting in itself with the surrounding natural landscape so beautiful it cannot be explained in words.
9. Manu Temple
Manu temple is said to be the only temple of Manu in India, who is believed to be the creator of human race. This Pagoda style of structure offers quite a glimpse into history, spirituality as well as a fascinating style of architecture.
10. Manikaran Sahib
Manikaran is a small town situated between rivers Parvati and Beas, famous for its hot water springs and beautiful landscapes. The town has a famous Gurudwara called Manikaran Sahib and it is frequented by Sikhs from all over the country. There are three hot springs where one can take a bath, one being inside the Gurudwara itself and the other two being privatised by the guesthouses. Different sections for men and women are made at the bathing place. The water in these springs contains sulphur which is capable of curing diseases. The water is hot enough to prepare food by directly placing the vessels and is served as langar.
11. Atal Tunnel
Also referred to as the Rohtang Tunnel, Atal Tunnel is a horseshoe-shaped highway tunnel that connects Manali and the Lahaul-Spiti valley, reducing the time taken by around 4-5 hours. Named after the former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the tunnel is the world’s longest one above 10,000 feet and is constructed in the Pir Panjal ranges, under the Rohtang Pass. It is an all-weather tunnel that has made possible the entry into the valley, which is usually landlocked during the winter months. The tunnel’s North End brings visitors into Sissu, which is surrounded by high peaks.
Also known as Khwaling, Sissu in Lahaul, Himachal Pradesh, is situated on the right bank of Chandra River. A drive out of the North End of the Rohtang/Atal Tunnel will bring tourists into Sissu, set amidst high peaks like the Gyephang Goh. It draws many visitors owing to the breathtaking view of the waterfall, locally called Palden Lhamo dhar. Given that Sissu acts as the main town for several adjacent villages, including Labrang, the latter’s Buddhist Gompa, known as Labrang Gompa, is open to visitors. Tea stalls provide refreshments while Hotel Triveni, Hotel Plm Dhara and several homestays offer accommodation. There is also a helipad on site.
13. Vashisht Baths
Located inside the very famous Vashisht Temple in Manali, Vashisht Baths is a hot water spring, believed to possess medicinal values. Also known as Vashisht Springs, it is visited by a lot of tourists, many of whom take a dip in the holy water to rid themselves of skin diseases and infections.
14. Bhrigu Lake
Bhrigu Lake is a high altitude lake located in the district of Kullu about 40 kilometres away from Manali. The route to the lake passes through mesmerising meadows. Not many tourists know about the beautiful Bhrigu Lake Meadows that can be compared with the alpine meadows found at high altitude locations like Switzerland.
This sister town to Manali too, is a hill station of dreamy landscapes and sceneries, a hub of adventure activities as well as home to a number of sacred temples and shrines.
16. Himalaya Nyingmapa Buddhist Temple
Himalayan Nyingmapa Gompa is a Buddhist Monastery located in Manali and is one of the most famous monasteries situated in north India. Its religious significance is highly essential for devotees, but tourists are also drawn for its architectural beauty and tranquillity in the environment.
17. Kothi Village
Kothi Village is a perfect camping destination and draws tourists for adventure and recreational activities from all across the world. Most trekkers on their way to Rohtang Pass often camp at the village.
18. The Great Himalayan National Park
Great Himalayan National Park located Kullu region of Himachal Pradesh, is home to more than 375 species of fauna, 31 species of mammals and 181 species of birds. The Great Himalayan National Park received the status of a national park in 1999. This beautiful location of the national park becomes all the more attractive due to the Deodar and Oak trees.
19. Beas Kund
The Beas Kund trek is a perfect weekend getaway trek with outstanding views of Pir Pinjal mountain ranges over the Beas river. let your soul get wooed by the spectacular meadows of Dhundi and Bakarthach and finally, the glacial lake at Beas Kund which is worth all the hiking.
20. Hampta Valley
Hampta Valley is known for its magnificent views of the mountains and adventure sports and has the 4,250 m-high Hampta Pass that serves as a corridor between Lahaul’s Chandra Valley and Kullu Valley. The valley is perfect for trekking during the summer and winter months. It takes trekkers through alpine and rhododendron forests, green meadows, waterfalls and vertical rock fall while providing excellent views of the snow-covered Pir Panjal peaks. While the option to camp here is open throughout the year (near a riverside), the winter months offer the chance to set up a bonfire while having a hot meal.
21. Club House
Club House located in Old Manali is a retreat that offers several facilities and recreational activities for tourists and is, therefore, preferred by tourists. The Club House is said to be one such place in Manali that has something for everyone whether it is indoor games/ sports, entertainment or recreational activities.
22. Jagatsukh Temple
Jagatsukh is a picturesque village, and the capital of Kullu locates about 7 kilometres away from the town of Manali. It is famous for its scenic natural landscape and the ancient Jagatsukh Temples which are religiously important shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Sandhya Devi.
23. Nehru Kund
Nehru Kund gets its name from the first Prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru who is said to have had water from the natural spring, when he used to stay in Manali. One still finds here some cold and pristine water running here and a breath-taking scenery of mountains and valleys all around.
24. Chandrakhani Pass
Located at an altitude of 3660 m in the Kullu Valley, Chandrakhani Pass offers the tourists a fabulous view of Deo Tibba Peak, Pir Panjal and Parbati range of mountains. The expedition to this region introduces you to various hilly cultures of Himachal Pradesh that are extremely popular. In order to reach the serene pass, you have to pass through Malana.
25. Museum Of Himachal Culture And Folk Art
Museum of Himachal Culture and Folk Art houses a unique collection of unknown antiques including religious relics, household objects, weapons, instruments, and scale models, among many other things. This small heritage museum also features various building models that are of great value when it comes to sightseeing in Manali.
26. Rahala Waterfalls
A famous picnic spot, Rahala waterfalls is nestled Amidst Birch & Deodar Forests and located almost 16 km away from Manali. The source of these magnificent falls is the water melting from the glaciers and precipitous rocks. Thick forest with birch and deodar trees looks truly magnificent. Behind this impressive waterfall, amazing views of snow-clad Himalayan ranges can be seen.
Gulaba is an alternate destination to visit during November – May when Rohtang Pass is inaccessible due to heavy snow. During these months, snow activities can be enjoyed at Gulaba. It is less crowded than the valleys of Rohtang & Solang and provides better experiences of the snow activities, making Gulaba one of the best places to visit in Manali.
28. Naggar Village
It boasts of amazing views of the Beas Valley, that makes it one of the best tourist places in Manali. The highlight of this attraction is the famous Nicholas Roerich Art Gallery where paintings of some of the magnificent Himalayan Views have been showcased. Temples like Tripura Sundari and Gauri Shankar are also famous.
29. Mall Road
Mall Road is an unavoidable place to visit at any hill station. Manali too has its Mall road which is a busy part of the city. One can find all the tourists strolling here during the evenings. Enjoy ice cream in the winters or a plate of sizzling momos when here. One can also buy some wooden handicrafts and woolens here. Mall Road has some family restaurants and sweet shops for that craving tasty food. One can also book a stay at one of the hotels here if visiting with family.
30. Van Vihar
Van Vihar is one such place that is lush and green. It is a nature lover’s paradise. Looked after by the municipal corporation of the city, this is a popular garden, which is another tourist attraction in Manali. In the middle of the Van Vihar, there is a man-made lake too. One can enjoy boating here, at this lake. Evenings are also a great time to spend here, as one can enjoy the beautiful sunset from the lake.
31. Manali Sanctuary
This is a beautiful wildlife sanctuary of Himachal Pradesh. At a walking distance from the center of the town, this sanctuary can be reached easily on foot. One can have a gala time exploring the rich flora and fauna of the mountains. One can also camp here at the sanctuary. For the adventure seekers there are also hiking and trekking trails in the sanctuary.
Hidden away from the eyes of the world, Malana is a solitary village in Malana Nala near Manali that is popular for its strong culture and well established religious beliefs that come from various sentiments embedded in the village’s past. It’s known to be one of the best places to see in the Manali district for those seeking spiritual guidance. But that’s not all. Malana is also a famous stop for adventure seekers owing to a number of trekking trails that pass through it. The two temples in Malana called Jamadagni Temple and the Shrine of Renuka Devi serve as the prime attractions of the village and preserving these spiritual sanctums is of utmost importance to the villagers.
33. Jana Waterfall
Nestled within a verdant forest, this cascading marvel blooming under clear blue skies is a great place to rejuvenate far away from the chaos of city life, this natural waterfall is one of the most popular attractions for Manali sightseeing.
34. Siyali Mahadev Temple
Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is a popular holy sanctum amongst locals and pilgrims in the north. Just like many temples in Solan, this shrine is very famous for its architectural beauty and is flocked by Shiva devotees in large numbers, especially during the festivals in Manali. It’s a quaint place of worship since not many know about this holy shrine, but it is now starting to catch the attention of travelers owing to its splendid architecture. In fact, the very sight of this temple from afar beguiles passers-by and compels them to pay this shrine a visit.
35. Tirthan Valley
Named after the Tirthan River that flows from Tirth, this destination is perfect for a memorable trekking adventure in the heart of Himachal Pradesh. Located in the Kullu district, the trip to this place offers a splendid view of the mountains, traditional culinary flavors, and a delightful cultural retreat.
Located near the Parvati Valley, the village of Tosh is an unparalleled reflection of Himachal Pradesh and its culture. Popularly known for its cannabis plantations, the nearby Tosh-Kasol trek is one of the most popular activities to participate in if you are visiting this place.
Jibhi is the perfect place to unwind and avoid the usual touristy crowd. From pine forest gardens to Victorian-style cottages, this is the place to be for the perfect getaway.
Popularly known as a highly-rated trekking destination, there is more to Kheerganga if you have the time to explore. Located at a height of about 2950 meters, there are enchanted meadows, secluded hot springs, and a landscape that spans across the horizon.
39. Pandoh Dam
Besides being one of the best picnic spots in Himachal Pradesh, the Pandoh Dam is surrounded by lush green forest areas that make a beautiful panoramic scenery that one must observe. The dam itself is a fascinating piece of architecture that you can marvel at.
40. Parashar Lake
Home to a 13th-century pagoda-style temple, the Parashar lake is popularly known as a landmark destination that many trekkers aim to reach during their adventures in Himachal. It is distant but worth the journey, an Instagram-worthy location that looks extra-delightful when covered with fresh snowfall in winters.
41. Patlasu Peak
f you are a first-time trekker who wants to explore the popular terrains of Himachal without venturing too far out in the state, Patlasu peak is the perfect destination for a modest yet adventurous getaway. If you began your journey from Manali and end the trek at the peak of the summit, there is a viewpoint from where you can cherish the sight of the entire Kullu valley and Hanuman Tibba.
What is the best time to visit Manali?
The best time to visit Manali is from April-June if you wish to enjoy the salubrious weather and lush greenery and September-December if you like to enjoy the cold weather and snowfall. So, your best time to visit Manali depends upon what kind of experience you would like to enjoy.
What is famous in Manali?
Manali is famous for a lot of things like adventure activities, picturesque landscapes, handicrafts, food, and shopping. Manali is all famous as the most visited destination in Himachal Pradesh for honeymoon. The most famous street food in Manali is called Mittha, a delicacy commonly available at almost all Manali restaurants and consisting of rice and raisins. The following are the local delicacies that you must surely taste while staying in Manali: 1. Sidu 2. Patande 3. Aktori 4. Chana Madra 5. Babru 6. Kullu Trout 7. Tudkiya Bhat 8. Bhey
What is special to buy in Manali?
Tibetan and Himalayan Handicrafts, Woolen Apparels, Kinnauri & Kullu Shawls, Kullu caps, hangkas and dorjes, Prayer wheels & Kesar