Location of Manali: Himachal Pradesh
Important As: Himachal's famous Tourist Resort
Places of Interest: Vashisth Hot Sulphur Spring, Rohtang Pass, Hadimba Temple
Best Time To Visit Manali: May To October.
The Kullu valley has an ancient town in its lap called Manali. Surrounded by towering peaks at an arm length, Manali's major asset is its proximity to the snowline. It is a flourishing orchard industry, a popular honeymoon destination and trailhead for numerous treks as well as a great countryside ideal for adventure sport lovers.
Also popular as a hill resort destination, Manali presents some excellent and well-equipped accommodation choices for the tourists. In the past decade Manali has turned out to be one of the best hill resort destination of India, particularly in those resorts, which cater Indian domestic tourists and honeymoon couples. But the ideal places to stay are the small guesthouses, providing a tranquil atmosphere of the Himalayas for those who are looking for solitute.
Manali literally means the 'Home of Manu'. Manu is the mythological character who is supposed to have survived when the world was drowned in Flood. He then came to Manali and recreated human life. Thus, the area of Manali is sacred and Hindus treat the temples over here as pilgrimage.
PRIME ATTRACTION IN MANALI
TEMPLES IN MANALI
Hadimba Temple: 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.
Temple Of Manu: Slippery stones paths lead through the old village houses up to the temple of Manu. Manali is named after the sage Manu who meditated when he came in this area.
Tibetan Temple: Tibetans have a base in Manali too. There is a large modern Tibetan temple to the South of the bus stand and also a small handicrafts centre.
Arjun Gufa: On the left bank of the Beas, 5-km from Manali near the village of Prini, is the 'Arjun Gufa' or the cave of Arjuna. In here Arjuna practised austerities to get Pashupata Ashtra or weapon from Lord Indra.
MONASTERIES IN MANALI
Gadhan Thekchoking Gompa: This Gompa dominates the Tibetan area around the bottom of the Mall in Manali. The Tibetan refugees built the Gompa in the late 1960's. The Gompa is covered with brightly coloured frescoes and a mid size Buddhist statute. It also carries a list of the martyrs killed in occupation of Tibet of 1987 to 1989.
ROHTANG PASS TREKKING
Rohtang Pass: Rohtang Pass is the highest point, 4,112m, on the Manali-Keylong road, 51-km from Manali town. It provides a wide panoramic view of mountains rising far above clouds, which is a sight truly breath-taking.
Vashisth Hot Sulphur Springs
This small village near Manali is famous for its scenic beauty. The village has a temple dedicated to Lord Rama and Vashisth Muni.
HOW TO GO TO MANALI
Manali - The nearest airport is Bhuntar, 52 km south of Manali. There are flights to Delhi via Shimla. The closest narrow-gauge railhead is at Jogindernagar, 135 km away. The closest broad-gauge railheads are Chandigarh (310 km) and Ambala (355 km). By road, the distance from Delhi via Mandi is 585 km, and from Shimla the distance is 270 km
Location: Himachal Pradesh
Main Attractions: Kullu Dusshera, Bijli Mahadev Temple
Best Time To Visit: Mid-May To Mid-October.
Kullu was once known as Kulanthpitha, which means the end of the habitable world. Beyond rose the forbidding heights of the Greater Himalayas, and by the banks of the shining river Beas, lay the fabled 'Silver Valley'.
Here is the core of an intricate web of numerous valleys - each of which is a visual delight and seems more beautiful than the other. The mountain scapes remain spectacular whether in brilliant sunshine or in the haze of the mist. The 'Silver Valley' has nature's treasures that lie carelessly scattered as flowers on the high meadows.
The town of Kullu has long been a centre of faith. In the 17th century, Raja Jagat Singh installed here an idol of Lord Raghunathji, which he brought from Ayodhya. As a mark of his penance, he placed the idol on his throne and it became the presiding deity of the valley.
Raghunathji Temple: In the 17th century, Raja Jagat Singh of Kullu committed a great wrong. To atone for the sin he sent a senior courtier to Ayodhya for a statue of Lord Raghunath - Lord Ram. This temple was built by Raja Jagat Singh to house the image and even today, is greatly revered. The shrine houses an image of Shri Raghunath in his chariot.
Bijli Mahadev Temple: Set on a spur that offers some spectacular views, this temple is famous for its 20m high rod that periodically draws lightning, which shatters the 'Shivalinga' and scorches the building. Using only butter as adhesive, the 'linga' is then carefully pieced together by the temple pundit.
Basheshwar Mahadev Temple, Bajaura: This 9th century Shiva Temple is renowned for its intricate stone carvings.
The Vaishno Devi Temple: 4-km along the Kullu to Manali road is this temple with a small cave having an image of goddess Vaishno or Durga.
Jagannathi Devi Temple: This temple is in Bhekhli village, 3-km from Kullu. It's a stiff climb but from the temple one can catch fine views of the town.
Sultanpur Palace: It contains some fine examples of the Kullu style of miniature painting, characterised by simple rural scenes and the lack of human subjects.
Akhara Bazaar: Known as one of the main bazaar, where Kullu caps, shawls, 'pattoos', gudmas, 'puhlas' and 'namdas' or rugs are sold in plenty.