Manali is a hill station nestled in the mountains of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh near the northern end of the Kullu Valley, at an altitude of 2,050 m (6,726 ft) in the Beas River Valley. It is located in the Kullu district, about 270 km (168 mi) north of the state capital, Shimla. The small town, with a population of 8,096, is 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. It is a popular tourist destination and serves as the roadway to other northern hill stations.
Hadimba or Dhungiri temple in Manali is one of the most important temples in the region. This four story wooden temple is located in the middle of a forest called the Dhungiri Van Vihar. From the name of the forest parkland this temple derives its name. This temple was erected in 1553 and is dedicated to Goddess Hadimba. The temple has some intricate wooden carvings which depicts mythological characters and motifs of animals & cosmic dancers. Every year in May a major festival is organized here. This place is a popular picnic spot among the tourists.
The Manali Gompa
A new Monastery built in the 1960’s it is an important gathering place for buddhists from Lalaul, Spiti, kinnaur, Ladakh, Nepal and Tibet.The Gompa is famous for its wall paintings, Chortens and a large statue of Lord Buddha.
Vashisht (3 kms)
Three kms from Manali is the village of Vashisht, which is renowned for its hot sulphur springs. The village is also the site of some old temples, dedicated to the great sage Vashisht, and to Lord Rama. The Himachal Tourism sulphur baths are just beyond these shrines.
Manu Temple (2 kms)
This is dedicated to the sage Manu. Just near the Hadimba temple flows the Manalsu River, that culminates in the main Beas river. Across the Manalsu river is the original village of Manali, that houses the ancient temple of the sage Manu. Manali itself is named after Manu, who is said to have dwelt here.
Nagar, a lovely village set on a hill sourrounded by forests, was the capita of kullu in the 16th century and the monuments in the region are witness to its glorious past. The Naggar Castle, a stone and wood structure built by Raja Sidh singh over 500 years ago, has been converted in to a heritage hotel. The gracefully built castle has a temple in the courtyard and also houses a small museum.
Solang Valley (14 kms)
Solang Nullah is in a side valley at the top of the Kullu valley. It is the site of Manali’s ski school and, once the snow has gone, all the local paragliding ‘schools’. Phatru is a steep, rocky face above Solang Nullah, facing roughly east. Take-off is about one hour’s climb above the ski school. There is no top landing, but good bottom landing near the school or in the fields above Solang village on the opposite side of the river.
Kothi, (15 Kms)
Bottom of Rohtang Pass Kothi (12km) is a picturesque village and has a thrilling view of the deep gorge through which the beas swiftly races. , an idyllic village, which boasts of a superb view of the deep gorge, and the Beas river rushing through it. Sixteen kms from Manali, at an altitude of 2500 m are the magnificent Easy to get to (except the walk!) The slopes above Kothi are a steep one-hour walk up from the road, but there are excellent thermals coming off the rocks and it is a favourite of the local eagles. Plenty of bottom landing in the fields around Kothi village.
Beyond which is the Rohtang Pass, 51 kms from Manali. Located at a height of 3980 m, the Pass once served as a crucial trade route, and still remains the gateway to the districts of Lahaul and Spiti.The Pass is open from June to November each year, and provides wonderful views of the entire surroundings. Just beyond the Pass is the Sonapani Glacier and the twin peak of Gaypan. The Beas Kund, the source of the Beas river, a holy site for Hindus, as the sage Vyas is said to have meditated at this spot, is also accessible from the Rohtang Pass.
The pass provides a natural divide between the humid Kullu Valley with a primarily Hindu culture (in the south), and the arid high-altitude Lahaul and Spiti valleys with a Buddhist culture (in the north). The pass lies on the watershed between the Chenab and Beas basins. On the southern side of this pass, the Beas River emerges from underground and flows southward and on its northern side, the Chandra River (flows from the eastern Himalayas), a source stream of the river Chenab, flows westward.