New Year is around the corner and lot of folks have started planning the destination to welcome 2016. Recently we have receiving various queries related to New Year Destinations and many of the folks want to visit Manali because of different reasons - high probability to find snow, fresh air, brilliant landscapes and choices of some good parties. By looking at the trends this year (at least in North India), we thought of compiling this post which would talk about the ways to reach Kullu Manali, road condition, Manali Weather, Manali Hotels, places to see in Manali and Manali trance music etc.
Let's talk about options to reach Manali - HRTC run Volvo buses are most convenient if you are travelling from Delhi. Apart from comfortable Volvos, there are different other types of buses run between Manali and other major cities in North India. Luxury buses (Volvo) are also run by Himachal Tourism. Why do I mention Buses as first option for reaching hill stations in Himachal? Because, if you don't like breaking the journey buses are only options to reach these beautiful hill stations. Essentially it's about road connectivity, so taxi or self driving is another option. If you are thinking of train journey, then Una and Kiratpur are nearest railway stations. It depends, from where you are coming. Folks coming from Delhi & Chandigarh, Kiratpur is nearest railway station and from here you need to hire a taxi. And distance between Kiratpur and Manali is more than 230 kilometers. Nearest Airport is Bhuntar, which is 50 kilometers away from Manali town and very close to Kullu.
Ideal time to visit Kullu Manali -
Exploring Kullu Manali region easily needs 3-4 days, because there is so much to explore around this region. If you plan to visit Rohtang Pass, it easily takes the whole day unless you plan very smartly. Summers is main season but folks also visit in August-September-October month to see apple laden trees all around. Lot of folks reach Manali for celebrating New Year and folks try their luck to see snowfall in winters. Manali town looks awesome after fresh snowfall.
Now let's talk about some of the interesting places to explore in and around Kullu Manali.
Personally I like driving around Kullu region, especially small villages, high hills, monasteries, apple orchards etc. Imagine yourself driving on narrow roads surrounded by tree landscapes and open windows of your car. What can be better than exploring hills by inhaling fresh air. If you are there in right season, you may get lucky and can get fresh apples to eat. And not only apples, you can expect pears, raw almonds, apricot, peach as well. But be aware when you are around these orchards. Don’t try to go near these orchards, because there can be dogs guarding these properties. So it’s recommended to request local folks instead of plucking apples yourself.
Rohtang Pass - Most of the folks who visit Kullu Manali, they plan to visit Rohtang Pass. Mainly because Rohtang pass has snow all the time. Even I have Rohtang Pass in this list, but please be aware that old snow looks pretty bad, especially on the hills which are near road. Dirt settles on the white sheet and one don't feel like touching this snow. If you are there at Rohtang Pass, then various snow sports are available there. Make best of the time you spend around Marhi or Rohtang Pass. Also be aware that Manali to Rohtang Pass is most of the times impacted by traffic jams. So plan your visit wisely.
Hadimba Temple - Hadimba temple is located in in Manali town. One can walk to Hadimba temple from Mall Road or main market. Temple is located in middle of a dense deodar forest. The Architecture of Hadimba temple is unique.
Vashishth Hot Water Springs - Vashishth Temple and warm water springs are little away from Manali Town. One can hire an auto to reach the place. It’s walkable as well, if it’s not raining. You need to take a short-cut from Mall road which would take you to the road heading towards Rohtang and then walk for 800 meters. You would find a hike on the right side, which takes you towards water springs. If you are lucky, you may see local deities doing some activities around the temple. Hot water springs are interesting. There are different sections for males and females to take bath. There is mild sulfur smell around these springs, because that’s the reason you get hot water there. Such hot water springs are also there in Manikaran, which 80 kilometers away from Manali. I have also attached tourist map of this region which would give you some sense about location of these places and how you should plan your days in Kullu Manali.
Solang Valley - Solang Valley is popularly known for it's Paragliding experience and other snow sport activities. It's little away from Manali town. Solang is 13 kilometers away from Solang valley, if we look at the distance. Because of dense forestation around, snow is retained in Solang valley for a little longer.
Manu Temple - Manu temple is very different from Hadimba temple and also little different from traditional temples in India. It's interiors give you experience of a pahadi temple. It's interiors are made up of wooden structures. Also the location is very beautiful. It's in middle of a village and you need to walk a bit.
Bijli Mahadev Trek - When I first heard of Bijli Mahadev and the way my friend explained about the place, this was first place to visit when I went to Kullu. We landed at Kullu after overnight journey from Delhi, put our stuff in room and started our journey towards Bijli Manahdev. One needs to park the car in one of the closest village and trek from there. From Parking it takes 45 minutes and it’s an easy trek. It’s a brilliant place to plan picnic at the top of the hill with fast flowing wind, which can also freeze you at times. The views from the top are unmatchable. This is one of the most beautiful and easy trek around Kullu. And the views from the top are brilliant. One can see Bhuntar Airport, Kullu Town, Manikaran and high hills all around. Bijli Mahadev is 22 kilometers from Kullu town.
Naggar Castle - Naggar is situated on one of the high hills around Kullu, which exposes you to brilliant views of Kullu Valley full of apple orchards. Naggar is 19 kilometers from Manali and the Kullu is 23 kilometers further from Naggar. HPDTC hotel Naggar Palace is one of the best options if you want to stay here. This is premium property of Himachal Tourism and lot of folks prefer staying here instead of crowded Manali town.
Jogini Waterfall - You need time to reach Jogini fall as there is slight trek till the temple and then further to reach waterfall. But it's worth trekking till the waterfall. This is beautiful waterfall and surrounding are quite good. If you are reading this blog and going to Jogini Waterfall, I would request you to carry a garbage bag with you and bring back all the stuff you carry for trek. Such locations are getting dirty because folks don't think before throwing the garbage around these hills and unfortunately, there is no authority which takes care of such garbage.
Beas River - I was not sure if I should write it or not, but finally decided to add because it would be unfair to not share about the beautiful beas river and what all you can do. Before I share, I want to say that don't go down to the river unless it's specified that area is safe. Most of the patches in beas river see abrupt water rush and hence it's not recommended to go near the river. Having said that, authorities have some way to tell latest status and the places where you can go near to the river. Please contact Himachal Tourism information counter in Manali on mall road. If you are interested in rafting, then you can find approved places to enjoy rafting on Beas.
Old Manali - Old Manali has it's own charm. Streets of Old Manali are full of little cafes, where you can see plenty of foreigner tourists socializing and having fun. Manu Temple is also in Old Manali. It's a steep hike, but one can hire an auto-rickshaw.
Jana Falls - When we visited Manali first time, we were not aware of Jana Falls and accidentally reached this place. Don’t have very high expectations from this place but the drive is beautiful. At the some time, be cautious that road to Jana village is not maintained very frequently, so it’s advisable to check latest status and plan your drive.
Some of the other places to explore around Kullu Manali include Club House, Pin Valley National Park, Ma Sharwari Temple Kullu, Sultanpur Palace, Basheshwar Mahadev Temple, Van Vihar National Park etc.