Manali, being a gorgeous valley surrounded by beautiful Himalayan landscape, remains ideal to visit throughout the year. The little hill-town is the unofficial capital of Himachal Pradesh. and Positioned on the ancient trade route to Ladakh, Manali is located approximately 500 kilometers north-east of Delhi. At an altitude of 6,726 ft, Manali places itself in the Beas Valley and is a popular getaway spot for travelers looking to escape the hot summer months in North (and South) India. In this article, we have compiled a list of both prominent and offbeat places to visit in Manali, and we hope it will be of interest to you.
30 Popular Tourist Places in Manali
1. Beas River
One of the most important places to visit in Manali is the Beas River that flows close by. This river has its origins in the Himalayas and flows for nearly 470 km towards the Sutlej River in Punjab. The snow-clad peaks of the Himalayas in the backdrop add to the beauty of this fantastic place. The river banks are home to an isolated group of Indus dolphins.
2. Hadimba Devi Temple
If you are a lover of history and mythology, then the Hadimba Devi Temple is bound to astound you. This temple has been dedicated to the wife of Bhima, one of the Pandava princes in the Hindu epic ‘Mahabharata’. This temple is shaped along the lines of a pagoda, and the main idol made of brass is 3-inches in height.
3. Solang Valley
Solang Valley is by all means one of the most popular tourist spots in Manali and its rise to fame has been attributed to the surrounding snow-capped mountain ranges and glistening glaciers. Many tourists visit Solang valley to partake in adventure activities such as paragliding, skiing amongst an array of options. Most tourists consider a visit to the place to be an expensive affair but with numerous new travel agencies having popped up recently, the charges for adventure activities have, more or less, stabilized.
4. Manikaran Gurudwara
Manikaran Gurudwara by the Parvati River is a place in Manali for the spiritually-inclined. This religious place is known for its hot water springs and a Gurudwara. Manikaran is both a tourist place as well as a pilgrimage site. Manikaran is supposed to have mythological connections to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. This is the place where the Goddess lost her precious stones and the Lord supposedly had to use his ‘Third Eye’.
5. Jogini Waterfalls
The list of places to visit in Manali would be incomplete with the mention of the Jogini Falls. You will have to make your way the countryside in order to visit this breathtaking place. The trek takes about 30 minutes, and it takes you through a path lined with deodar trees. There is a clear stream that flows on the side en route to Jogini Waterfalls.
6. Naggar Castle
Those who wish to indulge in a little royalty can head straight to Naggar Castle. This place used the capital of the kings of Kullu and presently, there is a castle here that houses various relics and artifacts of the Kullu culture and traditions. The castle has vantage points offering scintillating views of the Beas valley, and captivating hill slopes filled with apple orchards.
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One of the lesser known tourist attractions in Manali is this magnificent place called Gulaba which lies at an elevation of 4000 meters. Gently sloped hillsides covered in snow, tall pine trees, and abundant composure mark this place. Skiing, paragliding and other fun activities are an integral part of Gulaba. If you find Solang valley crowded, Gulaba could be your next best alternative.
8. Old Manali
If you haven’t visited Old Manali, then you’re probably missing out on something major. This destination tends to remind one of the roaring 60s and the decade of the hippies. A bridge set across the Manalsu River is what separates old Manali from its other side. Filled with cafes, houses, and street-sellers, Old Manali carries a rustic charm to it.
9. Bhrigu Lake
Known as the ‘Pool of the Gods’, the Bhrigu Lake flows at an altitude of 4240 meters. Lying east of Rohtang Pass, the spot is a key trekking site in Manali. Located 43 kilometers from Manali, this lake has clear pristine waters. Due to the extremely high levels of purity, the waters here possess an ‘opaque blue’ shade. The lake is considered sacred by devotees of sage Rishi Bhrigu.
10. Van Vihar National Park
A perfect spot to unwind after a long day’s trek or travel, Van Vihar National National Park is a municipal garden located right in front of the Tibetan market on Mall Road. Dotted with deodar trees, families find the park to be a great spot to relax and regain composure. The man-made lake in the middle of the park offers boating facilities for locals and tourists. The sunsets here are a must-see.
11. Pandoh Dam
Built across the Beas river, the Pandoh Dam has evolved into a bustling picnic spot frequented by tourists and locals alike. The construction of this dam was completed in the year 1977 and presently functions as a hydroelectric project. The dam is 76 m tall and provides a great backdrop for hanging out and clicking photographs.
A hamlet situated in the Kullu district on the banks of River Parvati, Kasol is one of the best tourist places in Manali. Many travelers from around the world visit this place every year to appreciate its beauty and calmness. A backpacker hotspot, Kasol acts as the starting point for treks to Kheerganga and Malana. The place enjoys excellent weather throughout the year.
A historic Indian village in the state of Himachal Pradesh, Malana is shadowed by the peaks of Deotibba and Chanderkhani. The village positions itself on an isolated plateau on the banks of the Malana River. The people of Malana follow their own distinct lifestyles and are extremely strict when it comes to following their customs. The residents here are speakers of the autochthonous language Kanashi.
14. Manali Gompa
Built by the Tibetan refugees in the 1960s, this Gompa (or Buddhist monastery) is one of the key tourist destinations in Manali. You can chant hymns, take part in prayers and soak yourselves in the spiritual ambiance here. Featuring a lofty facade and pagoda-style roof dipped in yellow. It also houses a large Buddha portrait and murals illustrating Buddha’s doctrine of non-violence.
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15. Manu Temple
Located in Old Manali, the temple has been dedicated to Indian sage Manu. Travelers can savor the gorgeous views of the encircling hills and the River Beas. Built using the pagoda architectural style, the temple underwent renovations in the year 1992. A vaulted ceiling and marble floors were incorporated as new additions. You need to walk through slippery pathways to get to the core of the temple.
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16. Rohtang Pass
Boasting an elevation of 4111 meters, the Rohtang Pass is situated on the Manali-Leh highway (NH 21) and is a must-visit during the summer season. Acting as a gateway to Pangi, Spiti, Lahaul and Leh valley, the pass welcomes more than 25 lakh visitors each year. A key trade route once upon a time, the pass remains open from May to November every year. The permission to cross is provided by the Indian Army after careful inspection of the region.
17. Vashisht Temple & Hot Water Springs
Built as a tribute to sage Vashisht, the temple is located at a distance of 3.5 km from the Manali bus station. Believed to be more than 40 centuries old, the temple houses a black stone image of the Rishi sporting a dhoti. Exquisite wood carvings fill the interiors of the temple. The water at the nearby hot springs is said to have medicinal value and can cure people of skin diseases.
18. Katrain (near Kullu)
Located at a distance of 20 km from Manali, Katrain is said to be the widest point in all of Kullu valley. The village is an excellent spot for trout and seer fishing. Permission for this needs to be taken in advance though. March to October is apparently the best time to go fishing. The Beas River looks absolutely beautiful from the vantage points in Katrain. Tree cottages that offer great accommodation for tourists, can be found here.
19. Dhakpo Shedrupling Monastery / Kais Monastery
His Holiness Dalai Lama has inaugurated the Kais monastery (which is situated on the left bank of Beas River) back in May 2005. The monastery acts as a boarding school and university that propagates Buddhist disciplines. It is also home to a large number of Tibetan monks. A huge prayer hall that features a massive statue of the Buddha is part of the monastery.
20. Arjun Gufa
Located very close to the Naggar castle, Arjun Gufa has become a much-admired tourist attraction owing to its sublime beauty and the Mahabharata based legend associated with it. Arjuna, one of the Pandavas apparently undertook lengthy meditations at this cave, hence giving the place its name. April to June and September to October are the best periods to visit.
21. Gauri Shankar Temple – Naggar
Located right below the Naggar Castle, the temple has its origins dating back to the 12 century and stands as a tribute to Lord Shiva. It has been deemed a protected monument and is adored for its Shikara styled architecture. Featuring a dome-shaped top, square-shaped base and interiors that have been exquisitely decorated, the temple remains open from 8 AM to 7 PM. Surrounded by lush greenery and overlooking the Beas River, this temple is considered to be the last monument of the Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty.
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One of the largest villages in Kullu valley, Jagatsukh previously used to be the capital of Kullu. A famous pilgrimage site cum honeymoon destination, Jagatsukh is known for two ancient temples – the temple of Goddess Sandhya Devi and the Gaurishankar shrine. Touted to be an excellent trekking destination, the village hosts the annual Chacholi Jatra festival.
23. Jana Falls
A lovely natural waterfall situated in a small village, Jana Falls is presently a famous picnic spot. Visitors can choose between taking a dip or swimming at the plunge pool area of the falls. You can also trek up the hill in order to get to better vantage points. The falls serve as dazzling backdrops for photographs. The road that leads to the falls is breathtakingly beautiful.
24. Kothi Village
This village is situated in the foothills of the Rohtang Pass and boasts an altitude of 2500 meters. The place offers a superb view of the Beas River as it flows through a narrow gorge. Frequented by many a film crew for shoots, there’s no better place in Manali that satisfies the nature-lover in you. The village also has a temple enshrining the local deity – Goddess Shuwang Chandika. Previously a camping site, Kothi village can be accessed through buses, jeeps and pony rides.
25. Krishna Temple / Muralidhar Temple – Thawa
This temple is situated very near to the ancient ruins of a town called Thawa and is considered to be over 1000 years old. Dedicated to Lord Krishna, the temple features the idols of Laxminarayan, Garuda, and Radha. While Non-Hindus are not permitted to enter the temple, the courtyards around can be accessed by anyone. The temple was renovated post the earthquakes of 1905.
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26. Museum of Himachal Culture & Folk Art
Established in 1998 at the Utopia Complex near the Hidimba Devi Temple, the prime purpose of the museum is to gather as many artifacts as possible, relating to the history of the state of Himachal Pradesh. Cookware, cutlery, jewelry, attires, musical instruments and other traditional items used by the people of the state are put on display here. Replicas and models of temples, forts and other historical monuments are also exhibited.
27. Nehru Kund
A natural spring situated on the Manali – Rohtang Pass Highway, Nehru Kund owes its name to the late Prime Minister of India who relished his visits here. The water here is said to be sourced from the Bhrigu Lake. The sound of water flowing into the valley is soothing for the ears. The best time to visit Nehru Kund is between the months of May and October.
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28. Nicholas Roerich Art Gallery And Museum
Named after the famous Russian artist Nicholas Roerich who called the Himalayas his home, the art gallery now stands at the place where his previous residence used to be. Paintings depicting Spiti, Lahaul, and Kullu can be seen on the ground floor of the gallery. The private rooms of the artist located on the upper deck have been converted into the museum. The place is open on all days (except Monday) between 9 AM and 5 PM.
29. Rahala Falls
Situated on the way to Rohtang Pass is a picturesque waterfall known as the Rahala Falls. At an altitude of 2500 meters, the falls is believed to have formed by the melting of glaciers (rendering the water extremely cold). Surrounded by a dense cluster of deodar and silver birch, Rahala Falls offers a spectacular view of the Himalayas. Between the months of March and October, the flow of water reaches its peak and hence is the best period to visit the falls.
30. Tripura Sundari Temple – Naggar
A temple with great historical significance, Tripura Sundari Temple is pagoda-themed and made of deodar wood. It greatly resembles the Hidimba Devi temple in its appearance. This three-tiered temple has a circular top and surmounted by a Chhatra. Squat wooden pillars divide the two lower storeys. Constructed by Raja Yashodhapal, the temple houses idols of Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati, Lord Brahma, Lord Ganesha, Lord Vishnu and Tripura Rakshasa. A popular festival called ‘Sharhi Jatra’ is held every year in the month of May.
Easy to reach, and filled with remarkably beautiful spots, Manali truly is a dream destination. From mountains to glaciers to places of historical relevance, Manali pretty much has it all. Explore the many attractions of Manali and do share your experience with us by leaving comments in the ‘feedback’ section given below!
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