If you are planning a trip to Manali, Rohtang Pass, Kullu, Manikaran or Lahual Spiti, which Photo Journey will give you some glimpses of landscapes you can expect along with some tips on planning the trip. Which includes modes of transportation, right places to stay and things to do around this region. Manali used to be one of my regular destination 8 years back and almost every year I was there during summers as well as winters.
Kullu-Manali used to be one of the top 10 destinations in India, when most of the bollywood was only shooting around Kullu valley. Bollywood has been one of the most important influencer in tourism industry and over the years India has got many new places which were least explored. And some of them are over-hyped because of super-hit bollywood movies :). Still this remains in the top list for folks who like to be around natural beauty. Lot of tourists like Manali, although travelers may want to cross it to hit Spiti or Lahual region. Things have been changing very fast and the places as well.
Manali is little far for non-Himachalis as compared to Shimla, especially folks coming from Delhi/Chandigarh and other states of the country. But roads are pretty decent and that’s the only way to hit Manali town. Train is available till Kiratpur(Punjab) and from there one needs to book the taxi or opt for bus. Weekly flights are also available from Delhi which would land you at Bhuntar and need to take Taxi. It would take approximately 3 hours from bhuntar to Manali (writing on the basis of road current conditions). So it’s always recommended to check road condition when someone plans to visit a place/region.
Direct luxury buses are easily available from Delhi, Chandigarh, Shimla or other nearby cities in Himachal, Punjab and Haryana. Most of the Volvo and Mercedes buses take 13-14 hours from Delhi to Manali. These buses take 2-3 stops for food and snacks. And they stop at good places unlike other roadways buses which usually stop at dhabas in relatively bad condition and having dirty places around. After 2016, time to reach Manali will reduce because of high-speed highway which is under construction right now and work is happening at very fast pace. And the best part is that new road will avoid the worst stretch of this whole journey.
Summers is definitely a best time to explore Kullu valley and Manali, but keep a note that it would be very crowded during summers. All Hotels and Resorts would be full and highly priced. Personally I don’t like visiting places, when tourism is at peak (tourist season). My favorite time is to visit such places in off season and make the best :). So winter is again a good time and there is high probability of experiencing fresh snowfall if you are there between last week of dec and feb.
This Photo Journey shares some of the very old photographs with my first point-n-shoot digital camera. I was out with my college friends and idea was to go till Trilokinath Temple which is in Lahual region of Himachal Pradesh.
We booked a 4*4 taxi from Bilaspur and headed towards Manali, didn’t stop there and hit Trilokinath temple after crossing Rohtang Pass and some amazing & scary landscapes. We were driving on narrowest roads having river flowing on one side and high hill on other. By night we reached Trilokinath temple after some strrugles on the way. There were some landslides which had broken the roads but that experience made the trip memorable :).
Spent a night at Trilokinath temple and drove through other parts of Lahual, mainly around Keylong. Amazing landscapes and humble folks. I will be sharing a separate Photo Journey about Lahual experiences.
Crossing Rohtang Pass was one of the major challenges of this trip. Traffic jams are big issue on this road and as you reach the other end of pass, melting snow makes your life most difficult. At times, our taxi starting slipping on the frozen roads and it was very scary. Then we started following few army trucks which proved very helpful.
On our back journey, we spent one night in Manali. Stayed in a very basic hotel booked through a friend working in Himachal Tourism. Explored areas around Manali – Old Manali, Hadimba Temple, Naggar Castle, Kullu, Bijli Mahadev, Solang Valley , Manikaran, Kasol, Vashishth Temple etc. Probably separate Photo Journeys would be useful to share those experiences and specially the Naggar Castle and Fruits valley.
Will share more about this journey in next post…
If you liked this post and found it helpful, I would request you to follow these things when traveling -
- Manage your waste well and don’t litter
- Use dustbins. Tell us if you went to a place and found it hard to locate a dustbin.
- Avoid bottle waters in hills. Usually you get clean water in hills and water bottles create lot of mess in our ecosystem.
- Say big no to plastic and avoid those unhealthy snacks packed in plastic bags. Rather buy fruits.
- Don't play loud blaring music in forests of jungle camps. You are a guest in that ecosystem and disturbing the locals (humans and animals) is not polite