Places to see in and near Manali
The picturesque hill town of Manali, on the Beas River, in Himachal Pradesh, is a top tourist destination in India.
Manali is blessed with spectacular scenic beauty from the lofty Himalayan peaks, gurgling waters of the Beas River, lush green valleys, ancient temples, fruit orchards and pine forests.
It’s a haven for trekkers, adventure sports, honeymoon couples, religious tourists, and families.
Major tourist attractions in Manali:
1. Beas River
Beas River originates in the Himalayas and passes through Himachal Pradesh & Punjab, before entering Pakistan.
In Manali, it passes through dense evergreen forests and snowy mountains.
The fast flowing waters and rapids of the Beas attracts adventure sports like white-water rafting, canoeing, and is perfect for camping trips.
2. Hadimba Devi Temple
This 15th-century temple is dedicated to demon goddess Hadimba, who became the wife of the Pandava prince, Bhima.
The temple is surrounded by dense deodar forests, which is very beautiful & it’s unique wood & stone architecture reminds onlookers of a Japanese Pagoda.
Built on a huge rock, the temple has a beautifully carved wooden door and a tall shikhar (tower).
3. Van Vihar National Park
Situated on the main street, the Mall Road, Van Vihar National Park has dense pine and deodar trees.
Here tourists can walk on the beautiful trails, enjoy boating at the lake in the middle of the park, and have fun. It is ideal for romantic couples, & also for families with kids, as they can relax and enjoy picnicking in the park.
4. Manu Temple
Among the most famous temples in Manali, the Manu Temple is dedicated to Manu Rishi, the creator of the human race, according to mythology.
The temple is in Old Manali, close to its main market & is believed to the only temple of Manu in India.
The beautiful Pagoda style of architecture, and its location on the banks of Beas River, makes many devotees and tourists visit this temple, on their tour of Manali.
5. Manali Sanctuary
Within walking distance of Manali, Manali Wildlife Sanctuary has many species of animals, birds, reptiles, and trees. Apart from spotting wild animals in their natural habitat, tourists seeking some adventure can go camping and trekking within the sanctuary.
It’s perfect for wildlife photographers, nature enthusiasts, adventure seekers, honeymoon couples, and for those who want to see nature at its most beautiful.
6. Vashisht Temple Baths
This temple is famous in Manali for its hot water springs. The sulfur-rich water is believed to have healing properties, and cure many skin and joint ailments. There are also Turkish-style baths available for visitors who want privacy.
The 4000-year old temple is dedicated to Sage Vashisht, one of the seven sages of Hindu mythology. The temple, built in traditional style, has intricate carvings on wood.
7. Jogini Water Falls
Located three km from Manali, Jogini Waterfalls is a place of astonishing natural beauty. The water falls from a height of 150 feet through several levels, into a small pool at the bottom of the falls.
The trek to Jogini falls is among the most thrilling treks in Manali, as it takes you through apple orchards, pine trees, streams of crystal clear water, scenic villages and green valleys.
8. Nehru Kund
This freshwater spring is located 5 km from Manali on the Leh National Highway. It’s named after Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who drank from its waters, on his visit to Manali.
The source of the spring is Bhrigu Lake, high up in the mountains. The place has a quiet feel about it, with the soothing sound of the bubbling waters of the stream.
9, Gayatri Temple
Located 7 kms from Manali, in Jagatsukh region of Manali, Gayatri Temple is dedicated to goddess Gayatri. The temple, with its ancient architectural style, and intricate woodwork, is thronged by many devotees who come here to offer prayers.
Various other temples are situated close by, making this a favorite site for religious tourists.
Top attractions located 10-50 km from Manali:
10. Solang Valley
Solang Valley near Manali is best known for its winter sports like skiing, paragliding, parachuting, zorbing, mountain biking, horse riding, hiking, and camping.
The valley is located 12 km from Manali, at an altitude of 8500 feet above sea level. It offers spectacular views of the glaciers and the snow-capped mountain peaks.
The rolling valley looks equally beautiful in summer and winter, with its quaint villages, apple orchards, and lush greenery.
11. Rohtang Pass
The wondrous beauty of Rohtang Pass ranks among the most beautiful places in India. Situated 51 km from Manali, Rohtang Pass is a high altitude mountain pass, at an elevation of 13054 ft above sea level.
The pass is the gateway to the twin valleys of Lahaul and Spiti, and for those going to Leh Ladakh. The picturesque landscape of frozen glaciers and snow-capped mountains attracts lakhs of tourists to this place.
It’s a paradise for adventure sports like paragliding, skiing, skating, snow-scooter rides, etc.
The pass opens for tourists from May to November.
12. Gulaba Viewpoint
If you cannot go to Rohtang Pass due to heavy snow, the next best alternative is to go to Gulaba.
Located 16 km from Manali, Gulaba is a picturesque village, with towering snow-covered mountain peaks, lush green meadows, and the gurgling Beas River.
Gulaba is a haven for adventure sports like skiing, paragliding, playing in the snow, and other snow activities. It is less crowded than Rohtang and Solang Valley, which makes it even more attractive to tourists.
13. Rahala Waterfalls
Located 16 km from Manali, Rahala Falls comes on the road to Rohtang Pass. Waterfalls from the top of a ridge and is believed to be a result of melting glaciers.
The scenic beauty of the place is marvelous, with thick birch and deodar forests and snow-capped mountains surrounding the falls.
The cold water and the earthy fragrances in the air are irresistible for tourists. The tranquil ambiance of this place makes it perfect for picnics and enjoying the scenery of this site.
Sites en-route to Manali:
40 km from Manali, on the banks of the Beas River, Kullu is a top tourist destination of India. It abounds in pristine natural beauty, from breathtaking Himalayan peaks, dense Pine and Deodar forests, to beautiful apple orchards, and mystical valleys.
Also called ‘Valley of the Gods’, because of its immense mythological importance, Kullu has many temples and monasteries, which are visited by thousands of devotees.
The valley is also famous for adventure sports like mountaineering, river rafting, paragliding, hiking, and trekking. Angling is another activity that tourists can do in the rivers.
The little town of Manikaran, located 85 km from Manali, on the Parvati River, is famous for its hot water springs. The magical healing property of the spring water is believed to cure many ailments, joint pains, and diseases.
The hot springs are also considered to be holy and taking a dip in them enables one to achieve salvation.
Manikaran also is an extremely spiritual town for Hindus and Sikhs. Its mention can be found in the ancient scriptures of Ramayana and Mahabharata.
The Guru Nanak Devji Gurudwara, dedicated to Guru Nanak Dev, the first guru of the Sikhs, is famous for its langars (community kitchen), which prepares free meals for everybody, cooked in the hot springs.
The tiny hamlet of Malana, in the Parvati Valley, is a unique destination near Manali. It’s a village of spellbinding scenic landscapes, is situated at the foot of Deo Tibba and Chanderkhani peaks, with Malana River flowing nearby.
Malana is world famous for its superior quality Hashish or Cannabis. But apart from the natural beauty of Malana, the village is full of taboos – physical contact, entering one’s house, taking videos, burning and cutting wood, killing wildlife is strictly prohibited.
They consider themselves a superior race, and descendants of Alexander the Great. They even speak their own language.
Tourists coming to Manali should visit Malana, for its enchanting scenery and mysterious people.
Another popular destination near Manali is Naggar. The town was once, the former capital of Kullu kingdom.
Naggar Castle is the most famous attraction in Naggar. Built-in 1460 AD by Raja Sidh Singh, the palace is a remarkable combination of European and Himalayan architecture, with cozy fireplaces, swirling staircases, and impressive stone and woodwork.
The castle houses an art gallery, having paintings of the famous Russian artist Nicholas Roerich & it provides stunning views of the snow-covered peaks, the Beas River, green valleys, and apple orchards.
Located at the confluence of Beas and Parvati Rivers, Bhuntar is known for its spectacular natural beauty. It comes on the road to Manikaran, Kasol, Kullu, and Manali.
There are many ancient temples like Basheshwar Temple, Bijli Mahadev Temple, and Jagannath Temple, which have beautiful architecture and have a great religious importance.
It is also perfect for camping, and river rafting in the waters of Beas River.
Trekking Points near Manali:
19. Beas Kund Trek
The 3-day Beas Kund Trek originates from Manali, crosses Solang Valley, with a stop-over at Dhundi and the campsite of Bakar Thach, and reaches Beas Kund, the source of Beas River.
The trek passes through green meadows, many streams, glaciers, and gives a spectacular view of Pir Panjal mountain range.
No trekking experience is required, though you may have to walk on slippery rocks, makeshift wooden planks, and glacial bridges. The trek is suitable for all ages.
20. Chandra Taal
The crescent-shaped Chandra Taal Lake is located on Samudra Tapu plateau, in Spiti Valley.
The trek to Chandra Taal takes you through some of the most stunning landscapes and vistas, from lush meadows to desolate mountain slopes, till it reaches the turquoise blue waters of Chandra Taal.
The trek takes two days, and originates from Manali, passes Rohtang Pass, drive to Batal, and trek to Chandra Taal.
Alternatively, one can also take the route from Kunzum La Pass and reach Chandra Taal.
21. Hampta Pass
The 5-day trek to Hampta Pass passes through the green meadows of Kullu Valley, the majestic beauty of Pir Panjal Range, the barren mountains of Lahaul and Spiti, and the heavenly Chandra Taal Lake.
The soothing landscape of snow-clad mountains, unpolluted environment, green valleys, thick forests, will make this trek memorable.
22. Baralacha La Pass
This high-altitude mountain pass connects Lahaul in Himachal Pradesh to Zanskar mountain range in Ladakh.
The trek reveals the mesmerizing beauty of the Himalayas as it passes through the green valleys of Kullu Manali, the barren mountains of Lahaul and Spiti, the sublime tranquility of Chandra Taal Lake, and reaches Baralacha La Pass.
Be prepared to brave steep slopes, boulder-strewn fields, icy cold rivers, and makeshift bridges. It is a challenging trek and demands peak fitness of trekkers and ability to acclimatize to the harsh climate.
23. The Great Himalayan National Park
There are many trekking routes in the Great Himalayan National Park like Sainj Valley Trek, Sainj-Tirthan Valley Trek, Jiwa Nala to Parvati River Valley Trek, Tirath/Tirthan Valley Trek, Raktisar Trek.
The treks take you to some of the most stunning spots in Sainj, Tirthan, Jiwanal, and Parvati river valleys.
24. Chandrakhani Pass
This beautiful mountain pass in Kullu Valley is a favorite among trekkers. The trek starts from Manali and can be completed in 6 days. It goes through beautiful apple orchards, pine forests, tribal villages, rocky terrain, to reach Chandrakhani Pass. The trek offers spectacular views of Deo Tibba, Pir Panjal, and Parvati mountain ranges.
25. Deo Tibba
Among the most pleasant treks near Manali is the trek to Deo Tibba. The 6-day trek starts from Manali and crosses ancient villages, valleys, grazing pastures, meadows, rock cliffs, glaciers, and pine forests.
You can see the lofty peaks of Deo Tibba, Indrasan, and also the glaciers of Jagatsukh and Deo Tibba. Expert and untrained trekkers can undertake the trek.
26. Parvati Valley
With its snow-capped mountains, gushing Parvati River, and lush green meadows, Parvati Valley is abundant in natural scenery.
The valley gives beautiful views of Pir Panjal Range. Trekkers can undertake numerous treks like the Pin Parvati Pass Trek, Sar Pass Trek, Manali Chanderkhani Pass Trek, and Naggar to Manali Snow Trek. Both, amateurs and expert trekkers with a fit body can undertake the treks.