This small Himalayan town along the Beas river, north of the Kullu Valley is a popular tourist destination. Breathtaking mountains shrouded in white give this place a dreamlike quality. Setting up tents around a bonfire makes the cold weather even more enjoyable. The frozen Solang Valley, also known as Snow Point, is the perfect place for skiing, paragliding and mountain biking. River rafting is an enthralling activity over the Beas river.
The valley has many orchards with juicy apples and plums. Blooming hyacinths, roses and Dahlias are interspersed between these fruit trees. Cultivation of these trees forms a major part of the economy here.
Manali is home to religious places of many faiths such as Buddhism and Hinduism. Ma Shravani Temple is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Durga. The ancient Hadimba Temple has been carved out entirely from the mountain rocks. An important pilgrimage spot for Buddhists is the Manali Gompa famous for its paintings.
Another favourite among tourists are the hot water springs here. Some prominent ones are Vashist Hot Springs, Manikaran, Khirganga and Kasol hot water springs. These mineral rich waters are believed to cure many ailments.
Naggar Castle: This breathtakingly beautiful castle is the most important Historical structure in Manali. Built in 1460 AD, it used to be the Royal residence of the British and is a striking combination of European and Himalayan Architecture.
Hadimba Devi Temple: It is a temple dedicated to the wife of Bhim. the movie “Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani” also has a shot of this temple.
Manu Temple: The temple is dedicated to the sage named Manu, after whom the town is named.
Sultanpur Palace: It is called Rupi Palace. It was damaged in an earthquake and later reconstructed through its remnants.
The Manali Gompa: This beautiful place reflecting Tibetan style of architecture was built by Tibetan refugees. This place must be visited for the serene atmosphere that it offers.
Kullu is one of the most important tourist spots in Manali. It offers a pleasant climate, green lush natural beauty, snow capped mountains, snowfall views and big natural green land. Van Vihar is also a popular tourist spot. Deodar trees are the highlight of the park. It is a perfect place to get drenched in the scenic beauty and relax. Gulaba View is another site famous for its picturesque view of the Himalayas. One may stop here while on their way to Rohtang Pass. One can take a stroll in Old Manali and consume all that it has to offer. Nature lovers must head to the beautiful and majestic Rahala Waterfalls as well as the mesmerising Jogini Falls and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. One can also visit Nehru Kund, and drink the pure cool water from the pond. Pandoh Dam on the River Beas is another tourist site in Manali.
Manali is filled with cosy restaurants and cafes serving cuisines from all over the world. Besides visiting these places, one must also try the local street food. Patande or Himachali pancake is very popular among the locals, Bhey is a stir-fried lotus stems recipe and a must try, Red rice is a nutritious dish, fish lovers must try Kullu Trout. Aktori is a delicious local cake that tastes better than how it sounds. Those looking to have a local lunch must try “Dham” a traditional thaali lunch. Chana Madra and Sidu are also highly popular.
At Rohtang Pass adrenaline junkies can participate in various activities like skiing, mountain biking and snow biking. At Solang Valley one can experience the thrill through paragliding and skiing. River rafting on the River Beas is another fun activity that one can enjoy. There are countless trekking destinations in Manali, however some destinations need permission from the Government Officials. Horse riding can also be enjoyed by adventure seekers.
The main market is known as the Mall. Evenings are the best time to go shopping. The shops here are famous for selling woollen Kashmiri, Tibetan, Ladhakis, Nepalese, and local handicraft items. One can also visit a shop called Kullu Shawl Factory located between Manali and Kullu. This shop is famous for Kullu shawls and Kashmiri ladies suit pieces.