Bijli Mahadev Temple, Hidimba Devi Temple, Solang Valley, Rohtang Pass, Manikaran, Van Vihar National Park, Kasol Best Tourist place in Kullu Manali.
A holiday in India is not complete until you have visited the enchanting region of Kullu Manali. A panoramic landscape featuring the meandering Beas river and snow laden mountains, Kullu Manali feels like a childhood fairytale come true on your first visit. It’s splendid natural beauty that pleases the senses makes it a favourite hotspot among honeymooners and a plethora of adventure activities possible attracts backpackers and thrill seekers too. There is also the allure of experiencing the ‘high’ of Kullu Manali’s natural gifts to mankind. All of these have made Kullu Manali a nucleus of tourist activity, captivating the imagination of travellers from India to Israel.
So before we inform you about the the best tourist places to visit in Kullu Manali, here are a few things that are good to know before planning a holiday-
Best time to visit Kullu Manali
The weather in Kullu Manali is generally chilly. The peak winter season can get quite cold so it is suggested that you bring your woolen clothing. Monsoons are generally mild and a lot of cultural and religious activities happen during this time. The summers are very pleasant in Kullu Manali and a welcome break from the intolerable heat of the rest of India.
Summer (April to June)– Gusts of cool winds from the higher ranges with mild sunshine and an average temperature of 12 degrees Celsius. This is the best time to visit Kullu Manali that sees heavy tourist inflow, so it’s advisable that you book you tour in advance to avoid inconvenience.
Monsoon (July to September)– The monsoons may not seem like the best time to visit Kullu Manali, but the International Dussehra festival held in the month of October is a sight to behold.
Winter (September to March)– The mercury can dip several degrees below zero during the winters which can be exciting for some and uncomfortable for others if not well prepared. If you are visiting during this time, make sure you have enough woolens to keep you warm. The advantage of visiting during December, January and February is that you can see Kullu manali in its full natural glory with snowfall and enjoy related adventure activities like skiing and snowboarding during this time.
How to reach Kullu
By Air- The nearest Airport is at Bhuntar, 10 kms south of Kullu. There are daily flights to and from New Delhi operated by Archana Airlines and Jagson Airlines with a stopover at Shimla. Manali is just 40 km from Kullu and can be traversed via a chartered taxi or Bus
By Rail- Closest railway station is 95 km away at Jogindernagar, so it’s not the most preferred way to reach either Kullu Manali
By Road- Kullu is well connected to all major cities Including Shimla, Chandigarh and New Delhi. Approximately 500 Kms from New Delhi, Kullu can be reached by travelling in HRTC buses (state run) or private buses. From Kullu the distance to Manali by road is another 40 km.
You can also book a private taxi if you prefer.
Being the favourite holiday destinations and top rated hill stations in India, both Kullu and Manali have ample 3 star hotels and 5 star hotels to accommodate tourists as per their budget. For the same reason it is always better if you book your holiday in advance to avoid inconvenience. Also available is a unique staying experience in Manali cottages, some of which are family run homestay options favoured by many travellers to get an authentic feel of the place.
Tourist places in Kullu Manali
Now that we have gone over the basics, let’s take a look at the most popular Tourist places to visit in Kullu Manali-
- Bijli Mahadev Temple
Perched on a spur at a height of 2460m and at a distance of 14km from Kullu is the Bijli Mahadev Temple. True to its name, the Shiva-Lingam in this temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is actually struck by lightning (bijli) occasionally. A short but uphill 3 km trek to the temple is rewarded with panoramic views of the Kullu and Parvati Valleys. It is a great place for camping and a visit during Shivaratri is considered to be especially auspicious. The legends surrounding the temple’s history only add to the supernatural aura of the place.
- Hadimba Devi Temple –
A unique four-tiered pagoda roof temple dedicated to Goddess Hadimba is situated close to the Mall Road in Manali. This 500 year old temple is steeped in history and the ancient deodar trees bear testimony to its existence. Nearby the temple complex you can find local people selling various handicraft items and offering white rabbits and lambs for a selfie to tourists. A walk among the tall trees and mysteriously shaped rocks around the temple is a treat for the senses. You can also enjoy the surreal feel of the forest around the temple by taking a Yak ride if you don’t feel like walking.
- Solang Valley
14 km northwest of Manali, Solang valley is a hub of adventure activities all year round. During winters you can enjoy skiing and snowboarding after basic training among beautiful views of glaciers and snow capped mountains. During summers when the snow melts, skiing is replaced by paragliding, zorbing, parachuting, horse and yak rides. Paragliding with trained professionals is the best way to get a bird’s eye view of the beautiful valley and an adrenaline rush at the same time.
- Rohtang Pass
A high mountain pass on the Eastern Pir Panjal Ranges that attracts thousands of tourists each season, Rohtang pass is 51 Kms from Manali. This famous gateway to the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys takes you through barren terrain and sharp hairpin bends to reach a stunning vantage point high up in the mountains. Only a limited vehicles are allowed per day to preserve the fragile glacial environment so it is recommended that you book your tour in advance. Upon reaching the snow point in Gulaba you can rent a snow suit to enjoy activities such as snowboarding, skiing, horse riding, yak riding and snow scooter rides.
- Van Vihar National Park
Adjacent to the Mall road in Manali is the Van Vihar National Park, a municipal garden perfect for picnics and taking an intimate walk with your loved ones. One of the most frequented attractions in Manali, the park is set in an ancient forest of deodars, lending a charming feel to the forest park that entices honeymooners in Manali. There are numerous wooden benches to sit in the park and concrete pathways for a soothing stroll among the tall trees. Closeby you can also find a small pond where you can take boat rides and soak in the beauty of nature with the Beas river burbling alongside.
- Old Manali
Located just 3 Kms away from the Mall Road is Old Manali, which appears far removed from the bustling city with its tranquil yet lively atmosphere. Home to the hippie travel crowd and backpackers from as far as Israel, Japan and Europe, Old Manali has an exotic feel to it. Surrounded by apple orchards and snowy peaks on all sides, Old Manali has some of the best cafe’s and guest houses. Not only are these much more affordable than the hotels in New Manali, the food and entertainment on offer will induce a wonderful vibe that can only be felt in Old Manali.
- Vashisht Hot Springs
Situated at an altitude of 6500 ft, Vashisht Village is renowned for its hot springs containing medicinal sulphur water. The water is supposed to have magical healing powers that can cure skin and joint ailments. You can take a relaxing bath in one of the pools right besides the temple dedicated to sage Vashishta and Lord Rama. The temples have intricate carvings in stone and wood that date back to several centuries. You will also find some local women holding fluffy rabbits that can be rented for a few minutes to take photographs.
- Bhrigu lake
A picturesque lake at 14000 feet is enough motivation for the arduous trek to Bhrigu lake. The trek starts from Gulaba, which is 22 km from Manali. It can take 2 days to reach the lake but the camping experience in these two days translates into memories for a lifetime. The scenic forest trail with wild strawberries and towering peaks in the distance make up for the uphill climb to the meadows above the tree line. If you are visiting Bhrigu lake, be sure to carry proper trekking gear such as good trekking boots, waterproof clothing and camping equipment.
- Hampta Pass
A truly unique place in Himachal Pradesh that is unseen by most travellers. Hampta is a spectacular crossover trek from Manali to Lahaul. The drastic change in landscape from lush green valleys of Kullu to the barren deserts of Lahaul is surreal. The trek takes you through snow, river crossings, water falls, meadows and glacial valleys to a overhang high in the Pir Panjal range that is like a window to a different world. If you can add another day to your 4 day itinerary, you can reach the crescent shaped Chandratal Lake, a high altitude alpine lake that has impossibly blue waters among brown and white snow peaks. Amazing Photo opportunities with dancing shadows of clouds and mountains.
A Gurudwara like no other in India, Manikaran Sahib is one of the main attractions of Manikaran and a sacred spot for the Sikh community as well as Hindus. Located on the banks of the Parvati river, Manikaran has several community pools of hot water springs with medicinal properties that you can bathe in while visiting. At the source, the spring water is so hot that it is used to boil rice for langars. There is also a cave higher up in the mountains if you can trek uphill for half an hour.
A short drive from Manikaran is the mysterious town of Kasol, another jewel of the Parvati valley. Also known as mini-Israel due to its large Israeli community that have made Kasol their home. This place is nothing like you have ever seen before in India. A walk down the road in Kasol and nearby Chalal transports you into a world of psychedelic music, hippie culture and a different dimension of spirituality. If you don’t already feel elated by the amazing surroundings and vibes of Kasol, there is always the other kind of greenery that you can sense in the air, making everyone happy. If you go at the right time, you can catch a rave deep inside the forest with top Psy Dj’s playing mind blowing trance music.
Kullu Manali is a must visit destination if you have an adventurous streak and an inherent appreciation of natural beauty. Far removed from the hectic lifestyle of other places in India, visiting Kullu Manali is like stepping into another world full of mystery, tradition and stunning landscapes. The 11 destinations mentioned above have been handpicked to give you a sneak peek of what makes Kullu Manali awesome. There are a lot of other equally splendid places like the Great Himalayan National Park, Naggar Castle and Tibetan Monasteries etc. which surely deserve a visit to the delightful Kullu Manali.