Best Places to Visit in Kullu Manali
Kullu Manali is one of the most visited tourist destination in Himachal Pradesh for travelers of all kinds. Blessed as they are with the snowcapped peaks and enchanting rivers and lush valleys, it is no wonder that natural sights count as the best places to visit in Kullu Manali. Many call it a gateway to the adventure extremes of Ladakh, but only to find their knowledge going vague about the region’s gut-wrenching opportunities. Be it trekking, paragliding, skiing and rafting; the region has a plethora of spots that are enough to suffice for the adventurer in you. With its snowcapped mountains, undulating lush valleys and meandering rivers as well as pleasant weather throughout the year; Kullu Manali is also a hot favorite among the family travelers and honeymooners in India.
The mid way Himalayan stoppage: Rohtang pass
Falling on the path to Leh / Keylong from Manali, Rohtang is a major tourist place to visit near Kullu Manali. With the spectacular view of glaciers, mountain peaks and downward flowing streams, the pass turns into an easy climb for just the sightseeing inclined families and couples. Besides sightseeing, skiing and sledge rides are also popular adventure sports to enjoy at Rohtang Pass.
It has a height of around 4000 m and with all sort of a rough Himalayan topography, the pass is also a base for trekkers making their march to the high above altitudes of Lahaul and Spiti. For it’s a motorable pass, adventure junkies and free riders can be seen heading to Ladakh as well on a motor bike; an ultimate high for the bikers. Rohtang Pass stays open round the year but best time is considered to visit Rohtang pass is between the summer months of June and October.
Solang Valley- Paragliding, Skiing, Zorbing, choose your pick
Closest to the hill station of Manali is a spot that has lately been famed as one of the most popular paragliding destinations in India. Before you glide your imaginations high above the whole valley, let us have a quick intro about the enticing basics of this place. Solang valley located on the banks of river Beas has its peaceful sojourn amidst lush greenery and mountains with milky white tops. Being a part of Himachal Pradesh, it is prone to adventure sports; but filled with an abundance of it, separates it from the rest. When winters take their toll; covering the entire Solang valley in tons of snow, skiing becomes the prime activity here. And when it gets all cleared in the months of summers you can enjoy paragliding, parachuting and zorbing as your excuses to wind up here every holiday. Fair to call it an apt summer and winter destination in Himachal Pradesh.
All time snowy ‘Gulaba’
A substitute of Rohtang Pass for the winter season; closed due to heavy snowfall, Gulaba is primarily a skiing destination in Himachal Pradesh. Interesting fact about Gulaba is it has reserves of snow available throughout the year. Now whenever you are in Manali; irrespective of the season the town is in, you can simply drive to Gulaba to kill your leisure time. If you wish to enjoy ski near about Manali! Gulaba has ample slopes ready for you. Peace lovers can find their place in the upper slopes, which stays aloof from the crowd.
One of Bollywood’s favorites- Kothi
Settled at the footsteps of Rohtang Pass, Kothi village in Manali is located around 20 km away from the center of Manali town. It is actually a quaint picturesque village that offers enthralling views of the snow-capped mountains, glaciers and amidst this subtle picture flows the Beas River that narrows dramatically after coming within its boundaries. The place serves as a nice camping site near Manali. Trekkers can have a fun time here, working their way through the Kothi village and finishing to the gorge. Its spectacular topography and location has given Kothi various opportunities to feature in Bollywood movies. Being settled at a good height and in good proximity with Manali, Kothi village also serves as a nice alternative for paragliding.
Some more religion plus nature at Naggar
How can we miss one of the most charming villages in the locality of Kullu Manali? Naggar on the east bank of Beas river was once the capital of the Kingdom of Kullu, and now the region only governs the spectacular views of the Himalayas that is facing it from all directions, making in one of best place to visit in Kullu Manali. Well, we think that’s enough for the vagabond to arrive at this bounty of Himachal.
Want some more? Well, Naggar’s natural cradle is also famed to be the home of some of the majestic religious sites in the Kullu Manali. Prominent spots in this category are booked by the deities of Lord Krishna, Vishnu and Tripura Sundari. There is also some magnificent castle in Naggar that will surely catch your fancy; it did work for the royal personalities of Himachal Pradesh in the past.
Great Himalayan National Park: Wild on top of the world
Situated in the junction of two of the major biographical kingdoms of the world; the Indo Himalayan and Palearctic, the Great Himalayan National Park in Kullu holds the unexplored of the beautiful mountain range of the Himalayas. The unexplored charm of the national park talks about the remote yet panoramic mountain landscapes that provide habitat to a great variety of flora and fauna. Highlighting wildlife of this wonderland comprises the very rare Himalayan Snow leopard, Himalayan Tahr, musk deer, black and the brown bear. Bird watching is also a prime indulgence at the national park; monal, cheer tragopan and various other bird species. However, one has to wait for the autumn to catch the sight of these beautiful winged creatures.
Besides offering a special opportunity to catch the high altitude wildlife, the Great Himalayan National park is also paradise for trekkers as well. Trek routes to the river valleys of Sainj, Tirthan and Parvati branches out of the national park. Being close to the Manali, the Great National park is a must visit tourist place in Kullu region.
[Have a look on top 10 national parks of India except Himalayan National Park]
Wild and beautiful Manali Sanctuary
Another Himalayan wildlife reserve in our list, but this wildlife reserve is very close to Manali. Within a radius of 2 km Manali sanctuary that promises a biota encapsulated in pristine glaciers and lush green forests of alpine, Deodar and oak. Wildlife lovers can have a gala of time as the sanctuary is a home to a lot of rare herbivores and carnivores. This include the very shy yet charming snow leopard, brown beer, musk deer and monal. The Manali sanctuary leaves no stone unturned for bird lovers as well. Snow Pigeon, Kokla, Kingfisher, Tree Creepers, Chakor, and various other migratory bird species can be seen making their habitat in this wild sojourn.
You don’t have to keep running always for the perfect wildlife shots in this world; rather the sanctuary gives you excuses to steal the romantic moments blooming here in the presence of snowy slopes and peaks.
Picturesque trek to Bhrigu Lake in Kullu
This one’s for the real trekkers and hikers! Bhrigu Lake in Himachal Pradesh is situated in the wildering easts of the Rohtang pass that stays like a circular blue patch amidst the picturesque surroundings of alpine that turns into one of the favorite hangouts for tourists. However, the lake surrenders its real charm in front of the travelers in autumn. Can be a bit tiring for amateurs as the trek goes through mountains, gorges, forests and streams. However, one can completely be sure about the tempting nature of these Himalayan wonders, the path of which leads to a rewarding destination.
The lake is named after famous Indian sage named as Bhrigu, who is believed to have meditated here for around 100 years. Following this belief, the place has achieved a sacred spot in Hindu religion.
Hidimba Devi temple
One of the major religious sites in Manali; Hidimba Devi temple is built across the lines of ancient cave temple architecture; more precisely a Pagoda style. This one of a kind cave temple in the valley is dedicated and named after the wife of Bhima (One of the Pandavas), Hidimba. Hindu mythology describes this place as the meditative spot of the wife during her last days.
We mentioned about the one of a kind status of the temple. Well, the fact that separates it from the rest is it does not have any form of idol placed inside, but foot prints of her engraved in the temple are considered sacred.
Savoring the divine status of ‘Dev Bhoomi’, Himalayan lands in the north of India has the region of Kullu to show their dominance in this segment. This nicely cuddled up valley in Himachal Pradesh has a lot of temples; mostly Hindu, that are the stepping stones towards the state’s rich culture. Start with Raghunath temple; the abode of the chief deity of Kullu, Raghunathji. The temple is believed to be one of the oldest temple in Kullu Manali and has its mythological history talking about Lord Rama making use of the temple idol during his time.
Best time to visit Raghunath temple in Kullu is the Dusshera festival, the time in which the locals from the entire valley flock into the celebration. This happens during the time of autumn.
Bijli Mahadev temple
Another prominent temple in Himachal Pradesh, the Bijli Mahadev temple in Kullu valley has a story that turns promising after every two year of the Hindu calendar. It has this legend that Lord Shiva once absorbed all the electric current from the atmosphere in order to save mankind. Following this, the present world of Kullu believes that a replica of this event happens every two years; wherein the atmosphere turns into the fiercest with its continuous show of thunder and lightning. Another intriguing fact about it is the breaking of the sacred Shiva lingam kept inside the temple every year the lightning occurs.
Like its legend, Bijli Mahadev temple holds a fascinating topography also. The temple resides high in the altitudes of Himachal Pradesh with the spectacular views of the Parvati and Kullu valley in sight.
Holy waters at Manikaran
Talking about Manikaran, it is a nice getaway to the spiritual zones of Himachal. Adjoined to Kasol, this region is believed to be a highly sacred region for the Hindus and Sikhs. One can find a number of temples of Hindu Gods Rama, Vishnu, Shiva and Krishna built in the vicinity of Manikaran. The region accounts for many theories and legends for its religious arc. One of the other things that will catch you in a surprise is the hot water spring. These are actually hot sulphur springs that also sport a religious angle. Owing to which thousands take a dip in to the holy waters.
If religion is not in your mind, then also the water from the sulphur springs will benefit you; curative properties for skin diseases. In whatsoever fashion you might consider it, a dip in to these hot pools feels highly relaxing after trekking to the region. If your trekking appetite asks you to push more than feel free to start one more episode by walking to Pulga, Chandrakhani Pass and Khirganga.
Wearing off at Vashisht Hot water spring
The state of Himachal Pradesh is home to a lot of hot water natural springs. One of them is the Vashisht Hot water spring which is a major tourist attraction on the outskirts of Manali. The hot water springs are scientifically believed to be emerging out from the granitic deposits (sulphur), found in large quantities here. These springs are also known to have medicinal properties. On a daily basis, the spring attracts around 3000 tourists wherein the locals become the regulars. The village provides separate bathing spots, or Kunds (tanks) for both men and women.
Vashisht hot water spring has its address in a green patch of a hill, right above the perennial Beas River; 6 km away from Manali. The site is also noted for various kinds of temples in its vicinity.
Religious peace at Tibetan Monasteries
Himachal highlands are among the major Tibetan settlements in India. Since centuries these people have added to the beauty of the culture; some areas feel completely Tibet of themselves. In our list of top places to visit in Kullu Manali, we see no problem in putting up a title; not a single entity, but the whole group of Tibetan monasteries that adds to the exotic charm of the region. Our non-Buddhist friends! do not go disappoint, as these spots are open for everyone. Cherishing a moment of peace, in an ambience that buzzes with chants and sermons; Tibetan incense sticks further giving an additional spiritual touch, is the basic nature of these monasteries.
Besides, the monasteries are a great expose of the rich Tibetan culture and architecture. Gadhan Thekchoking Gompa and Himalayan Nyingamapa Gompa are among Manali’s popular religious bets.
Hippie valley of Kasol
Himachal’s unprecedented love for foreigners is very much apparent from the Hebrew banners tagged at numerous constructions; cafes, restaurants, in Kasol. The village breathes in western mannerisms and culture. In the skin of foreigners, you will mostly find Israelis here. Due to their abundance, Kasol in Himachal Pradesh is also famed as the mini Israel of India. The food joints, cafes (Pink Floyd café, Jackie Palace hotel, Mountain Goat Café) and restaurants; mostly run by the foreigner’s serves delectable cuisines (Shakshouka, lemon cake) and leisure experiences of a volley ball game or an indoor carom. Separate from this foreign influence is the Himalayan charm that is inhabited by the enchanting Parvati River flowing on one side and mountains surrounding the valley on the other.
To enjoy the lush serenity spread across this magical place, walk along the river stretch as it will lead you on an excursion to the nearby villages of Malana, Tosh and Chalal. These regions are perfect for those who stay famished for Himalayan psychedelic parties (remember Malana cream?), and most importantly the unclaimed virgin beauty of nature. Kasol is divided into the Bhuntar side as old Kasol and Manikaran side as the new Kasol; 37 km from the town of Kullu.
Camping and rafting at Raison
Our comprehensive list about best places to visit in Kullu Manali also includes places that are strictly camping sites. Away from the buzzing town of Manali, lies a spot; amidst green orchards and valleys, where you with your family and friends can camp for an undisturbed vacation. Doing absolute justice to this is the camp site of Raison, which settles at an altitude of around 1400 meters in the vicinity of the roaring Beas river. Its nearness to the river also makes Raison a perfect place for popular site for river rafting. The flow in the river stays rough and with ample rapids, the water ride here is highly adrenaline pumping.
[Try Different! with Offbeat Destinations of Himachal Pradesh]
Picnic at Rahalla Fall
On the way to Rohtang Pass, 16 km before it, do make a stoppage at the Rahalla falls, which serves as a picturesque picnic spot. Contrary to the rocky or snowy outlook of the Rohtang, the waterfall sports a lush green topography. It has a thick covering of deodar forests highlighting the prime spots of its surroundings, and with a cascading milky waterfall; being the end product of melting glaciers at higher altitudes, the sight leaves a stunning impact on its onlookers.
Like a cliched Himachal destination, this place also offers a mix of admiring beauty and a fantastic experience in the real and remote nature of the state. Trek to the nearby villages which goes through the lush topography and you will find yourself immersed in the enthralling feelings of an adventurer. There is also a glacier trek connecting the spot at some distance (Sonapani) and the beautiful peaks of Gaypan. Beas Kund, Manu temple and Jagatsukh temple are prominent nearby spots from Rahalla falls.