Sunday, April 17, 2011



Mall, Manali

The Mall Manali

The Mall, Manali

Manali, at the northern end of the Kullu Valley in Himachal Pradesh, is a hill station situated at a height of 2050 m (6398 ft) in the Himalayas. Situated on the Beas river (Vyaas in Hindi) and near its source, it is a popular tourist spot for Indians in summer and a magical, snow-covered place in winter. A staging point for a number of treks (Beas Kund, Chandrakhani Pass) and sports such as white-water rafting, Manali is also on the road to Ladakh via the valley of Lahaul and Spiti and rohtang pass which is main attraction near manali.

Manali is a popular Himalayan tourist destination and accounts for nearly a quarter of all tourist arrivals in Himachal Pradesh.[citation needed]Manali's cool atmosphere provides a contrast to hot Indian summers.

Manali is famous for adventure sports like skiing, hiking, mountaineering, paragliding, rafting, trekking, kayaking, and mountain biking. Yak skiing is a sport unique to this area.[4] Manali also featured in Time magazine's "Best of Asia" for its "Extreme Yak Sports".[4] Manali also offers hot springs, religious shrines and Tibetan Buddhist temples.

Manali has become a favorite destination for honeymooners since the last few years. Statistics show that around 550 couples reach Manali daily for honeymoon in season (May, June, December, January) and around 350 couples reaches Manali daily in rest time[citation needed].

Manali is known for its shiny gompas or Buddhist monasteries. With the highest concentration of Tibetan refugees in the entire Kullu valley, it is famous for its Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa, built in 1969. The monastery is maintained by donations from the local community and through the sale of hand-woven carpets in the temple workshop. The smaller and more modern Nyingmapa Buddhist Gompa stands nearer the bazaar, in a garden blooming with sunflowers.


The locals drink two kinds of alcoholic beverages: Lugdi (plains) or Chang (Himalayan), a kind of crude beer made from fermented rice or barley and Sharab (plains) or Arak (Himalayan), an alcoholic drink distilled from Lugdi/chang. Arak can also be made from jaggery or apples or any other fruit.

It might be an interesting experience to visit a local home when the ladies make arak (quite regularly). You can sit in the fields where the ladies make it, have hot water from the distilling to wash with and "test" the product at frequent intervals.
Because there are apple orchards all around Manali, it's often possible to find apple cider. Besides this, there is alcohol available in bars, larger restaurants and the larger hotels

Kullu-Manali Valley is known as fruit bowl of India. Himcoop Juice Bar at The Mall Manali is one of the well know corner shop since 1972 selling 100% Natural Apple Juice and fruit drinks made from local fruits besides some syrups known as Fruit Crush to carry home to prepare fruit drinks after deluting with fresh water. Himcoop Juice Bar is located on the Main Mall as one of the corner shop next to Temple.


There are various restaurant and eating joints, which cater to the tourists having a wide range in budget and taste. The restaurants serve a variety of Indian and international cuisine, serving vegetarian and non - vegetarian delicacies. A tourist further has a choice of having the vegetarian fast food. There are bakeries and ice cream parlors in Manali which are known to satisfy the sweet toothed. One can try the manali food on Saturdays at the Club House in Old Manali.

Local Foods

Fruits and vegetables are included in the food of Manali. During celebrations and festivities, Vada, Bhatora and Patrodu are served at the eating joints. Milk and milk-based recipes are mainly included in the food habit of Manali people. Home made wine Chakti and Lugri, which is made of barley and red rice are a preferred Drink amongst locals and tourists. The traditional Manali food includes rice, curry or cooked beaten curd, a curd based dish, pulses, raita made of dry fruits, and sweet rice. The food is traditionally served on pattal (leaf plates).

If you are sick of dal/subzi/rice, an advantage of Manali's haphazard development is that there is a large choice of food from the numerous restaurants, many owned and run by Tibetans or Nepalis who learned their skills in Goa, Pokhara or Dharamsala.

Due to the many Israeli travellers, there are plenty of places selling mediterranean food alongside Tibetan specialties, Italian dishes of varying interpretation, the ubiquitous "continental".

Ironically, Indian food is now something of a rarity in Old Manali, and there is certainly no restaurant selling exclusively Indian food.

The meat in Manali market, mostly chicken or Mutton, tends to be good as local people are big meat eaters and the animals are less scrawny and better kept than in much of India. Most restaurants have a good turnover and buy meat daily in the season.

Old Manali is chock full of restaurants of wildly varying quality, but here is a pick of our favourites :

At the top of the road to the village, just past the Manu temple turning is the Manu Cafe, probably Old Manali's oldest cafe. They have a nice patio as well as a small indoor area and sell good basic food at cheap prices.

Further down, Little Tibet is on the steep part of the hill up to Old Manali does fine pasta and italian dishes including an excellent Carbonara, although they are little pricey. The Tibetan delicacies can be tried at Little Tibet.

Next door is the Shiva Garden cafe, which sells good - and cheaper - food, and has the advantage of an excellent view from the balcony of the traditional wood and stone building.

Down the hill 20 metres or so is Yangkhor who sell good quality specialty Tibetan food such as momo and thupka. Breakfast is good too, but most of their "continental" leaves something to be desired.

Opposite is Cafe Manalsu, a spacious and very atmospheric place with stripped pine tables and a view onto the Manalsu river. Its run by Rajiv, who makes the place worth visiting as much as the food, and plans to have a full scale pizza oven for 2004.

At the bottom of the hill next to the barbers is a small wooden chai shop; the Gaddi tea stall, who does the best tea by far in the village, and sells simple food such as momos. Its a good place to sit and chill with a river view out back and a steady influx of locals.

On the left side of the road down to the clubhouse (turn right from the bridge) is the family run Tibetan Kitchen, one of Old Manali's few truly indoor restaurants, wood panelled and with an excellent menu of Tibetan food - try the Crispy chicken honey sauce. They probably also do Old Manali's best Chicken schnitzel.

Il Forno, on the Hadimba Temple road past the Shingar Regency Hotel, is run by an Italian woman and does the best Pizza east of Beirut, top notch pasta dishes and wonderful Italian coffee, plus excellent italian desserts such as Tiramisu during the season. Prices are expensive at around 130 Rs for a pizza, 140 Rs for a pasta dish, but on a par with Old Manali, and the food is of far better quality.

New Manali's more upscale restaurants are primarily aimed at Indian tourists, and signboards proclaim cuisine from every corner of India including Punjabi, Gujarati and South Indian. There are also a huge number of simple Dhabas and sweetshops offering thalis and specialty sweets.

Our picks are; Mayur restaurant, in a small turning to the right opposite Manu Market, is one of Manali's oldest restaurants, and has a decor that resembles a provincial UK Indian restaurant circa 1980, and serves some of Manali's best Indian food at prices that are very reasonable when compared to Old Manali, as well as good western style dishes - their apple pie is especially recommended.

Khyber is a beautifully decorated, wood panelled place next to the roundabout near Ram Bagh, is one of the most expensive places in town, but the Indian food is superb and the huge windows are a good spot to do a couple of hours India watching over a beer or six.

Opposite and a little down from the bus stand is Chopsticks, whose menu of chinese dishes is usually good quality and comes in extremely big portions. Pork is very unusual in North India, and Chopsticks is usually very tender and extremely tasty, especially recommended being the Roast Pork Chilli.

The numerous German Bakeries in Manali seem to specialise in rather stale bread, so if you want good fresh bread or cakes try Superbake in Manu Market or "Shop 10" (ask for shop 10 and ANYONE will point you in the right direction) down the first narrow lane after the HP tourism office.

Manali Sweets, down the small lane opposite the bus stand, is locally acknowledged as the best Indian sweet shop in town, we especially like it for their addictive Gulab Jamun and Rasmalai, although their chai is crap.

The best Chai in town is to be found in a small chai shop at the heart of Manu market, on a narrow 'crossroads' found by following the street straight up from Superbake, past the row of barbers shops into the smaller alley.

Manali's finest tandoori chicken is to be found in Manu Market (left side of the main street in town), where the almost legendary Mr Singh, a huge Sikh, has a near constant queue of people during May and June outside his tiny and rather grubby shop. The profits of the shop have put his 4 daughters through a good education including university.


Get your photos clicked with either rabbits or yaks (near the Hidimba Temple). It will cost about 10-20 rupees (0.5$) for a single photo.
One can also enjoy paddle boating in a fun park near Hidimba temple.
River rafting, skiing, zorbing, trekking, snow scootering, and river crossing. One of the best adventure companies is the High Himalayan Adventures.
Paragliding- it is quite popular in Manali, especially in the peak season. The scene is located at Solang Valley. There are multiple levels, starting from the basic 1 minute flying for Rs. 450 (the most common), progressing to a more fun 5 minute flight for Rs. 1500. But the ultimate is the half an hour flight for Rs. 2500, for which they take you up almost halfway to rohtang, and bring you back to solang all the way by paragliding. In such a long flight, wind plays a big role, and sometimes it is not possible to fly all the way to solang, something to keep in mind while going for it. Generally, later in the day you go for it, better are the chances you will do the whole flight.
Rock climbing- there are some fabulous routes, however, go with a reputable company that can provide you suitable gear, otherwise this can become a dangerous sport. Look for the bright orange building across from Pizza Olive. The company also does abseiling trips, in which you can swing down into 9 tiers of a waterfall using rock-climbing equipment. Another contact is Dave Morahan (9816280821) who takes you to all kind of rock climbing trips for all difficulty levels, and is quite skilled himself.
If interested in books, there is a bookshop in the main town near the Post Office called Bookworm. It has a decent selection of books.
Early morning walks as manali is best enjoyed before the town wakes up
Deo Tibba Base Camp Trek: This trek is a technical trekking trail in Manali. This trek is a famous trek among the experience climbers. This trek gives a magnificent view of Deo.
Friendship peak Trekking: This is one of the majestic mountains in the beautiful valley of Kullu. This mountain is situated at around 5289 meters above the sea level. Best way to go for this trek is from Beas Kund and Dhundi.
Hampta Pass Trek: This trek is one of the most famous trekking trails in the Manali region. This trek is suitable for those who have some prior trekking experience and are reasonably fit. This trek is passes through forests.


Minimum temp could be below -10 C from Oct till March. Dec Jan and Feb are coldest months. Rest of the year the minimum temprature would be between 10 to 15 C.

Heavy snowfall in Lahaul-Spiti, Manali

Suresh Sharma, TNN, Apr 7, 2011, 05.03am IST

MANALI: Heavy snowfall plunged the mercury few notches below freezing point in Himachal Pradesh's Kullu and Lahaul-Spiti districts on Wednesday. The temperatures dipped from 4.1 degree Celsius to minus 1.1 degree Celsius in Manali and from 0.4 degree Celsius to minus 3.6 degrees Celsius in Keylong (Lahaul).

The entire Lahaul-Spiti district, upper Manali and higher reaches of Chamba and Kinnaur experienced heavy snow since Tuesday night. Due to biting cold, the tribal district wore a deserted look on Wednesday. Thick snow with high velocity winds triggered blizzards in the region hampering normal life.

Click for Enlarged View of Map

Click for Enlarged View LEGENT


Delhi appr. 14 - 16 hours; 524 Rs with the HP Tourism bus; Dharamsala (approx 12 hours), Chandigarh (approx 10-12 hours), Shimla (approx 12 hours), Kasol (approx 4 hours), Leh (approx 36 hours). For those who like their comforts, HRTC (Himachal Pradesh Road Transport Corporation) have now introduced Super Deluxe aircon buses with onboard toilets and refreshments (and hopefully more legroom) to Manali from Delhi. The cost is around 850 Rs (May 04). There are also plenty of normal "local" Indian buses covering the same routes, usually taking longer but costing far less. There are no private buses to Kaza (approx 12 hours) from Manali, but HRTC runs 2 daily services.

Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports ...

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Rohtang Pass, Manali in Himachal Pradesh

Rohtang Pass

Rohtang Pass

Rohtang Pass

Rohtang Pass, at an altitude of 3979 m (13,050 ft) above sea level, is another adventure tourist site where it can be cold even on a summer day. It is the highest point on the Manali-Keylong road and provides a wide panoramic view of mountains rising far above clouds, which is truly breath taking. Close by is a small lake called Dassaur Lake. Beas Kund, the source of river Beas, is also nearby. In winter, the road of Rothang Pass is closed.

Important to note that the road to Rohtang Pass is closed off at Manali bridge,on all tuesdays between 0900-1800 hrs for carrying out road widening work & repairs. If you are able to leave early, before 0900, you can avoid the traffic rush (found on all other days) and have Rohtang Pass to your self (well almost!!). Flip side is to be prepared for stoppages (extending upto a few hours) on the return trip as the road is blocked off where repair works are progressed. If you are driving up, be prepared for the rough broken roads at many places, sheer blind turns and tight hairpin bends, which can be exhilarating depending on the state of your nerves. If you are hiring a vehicle then better rent a four wheel drive vehicle from Manali. Some times the local people along with police does not allow the non-four wheel drive vehicles from going beyond Snow-Point(a place 16 kms before Rohtang Pass)and force to hire their owned 4WD vehicles at exhorbitant prices which can be up to 1500-2000 INR per person. This happens in the winter times when there is heavy snow fall. The tours organized by HPTDC does not go up to Rohtang pass and terminate at Snow-Point. Shared taxis are also available.

Friday, April 15, 2011


Manikaran Temple Manali, Himachal Pradesh


018_Ram Mandir at Manikaran, hot water springs in front

The hot spring of Manikaran_01

hot springs at Manikaran

Manikaran is at the bottom of dark gorge with hot sulphurspring emerging from the rock strewn banks of the Parvati. According to Hindu mythology while Parvati bathed in the river, Naga, the serpent god stole her "Manikaran" (earrings).

manikaran known for its hot water springs is a famous destination as one of the Hindu Pilgrimages. I see huge sikh crowds at the gurudwara. The water is too hot to touch until it flows into a large pool where people can take bath etc., I also see many rice bags dropped into the spring and it gets cooked within just a few mins.

There are both Hindu and Sikh pilgrim centers offering "Langar" (community food) and stay to devotees. One can see food being cooked with the help of boiling sulphur waters. Manikaran sulphur water is said to have miraculous healing properties for skin ailments. People take bath and many claim to have being cured with its therapeutic properties. There are separate baths for men and women.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Manu Temple

Manu Temple, Manali

Manu temple

Manu Temple is located in old Manali, at a distance of three kilometers from the main market. The temple is dedicated to the Indian sage Manu, who is said to be the creator of the world and the writer of Manusmriti. Though temple is situated in a congested place, visitors from across the globe come to visit it. The charming location of Manu Temple, on the bank side of river Beas, adds to its attraction. The temple was rebuilt in the year 1992, when the vaulted ceiling and marble floors were added.

Travelers are advised to wear dresses covering the knees and shoulders, while inside the temple. To reach the temple, one has to traverse through the slippery stone paths that lie before its premises. The ancient temple is a prominent place of worship for the local people of Manali, who arrive everyday to offer their prayer to the creator of humanity. Local people consider it sacred and auspicious and visit it regularly. Its popularity also lies in the fact that it is the only temple dedicated to Manu - the creator of human race, in India.

Manu Temple has remained as one of the primary Manali tourist attractions, since times immemorial. It is believed to be the place where sage Manu meditated after stepping on earth. Manali has a distinct historical background that is appealing to most people who visit the pilgrim spot. According to Hindu mythology, Manu sage is the divine creator of the human race in the world. It was in this region that the sage dwelt and meditated. Whenever you visit Manali, make sure to see the temple too.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Raison is a famous place near Manali famous for its natural spring waters, camping site and big apple orchards famous its taste and size. During the months of April, the beauty of Apple blooming is a rare experience to be felt. Apple orchardists have brought name of Raison on international map as now apples from this area being exported to middle east and south Asian countries..

The river banks in Raison area make a spectacular view. Just a walk around and one can see beautiful river sparkling amidst village scene on both sides. Raison has India's famous Himalayan mineral water plant "CATCH" that is being exported to many countries all over the

The unique Himalayan temples can be seen near Raison. These historical temples spell mystic vibration along with their long standing respectability in the culture of Himalayas. All such particular temples belong to specific deities and goddesses that are known to have powers which cane be visibly seen and felt during local fairs and festivals

Near by Raison there is a rafting site that keeps busy with tourists during the peak seasons. The camping site is also a fresh place for adventure and nature lovers who find Himalayan holidays with unique experience of celebration.

Just few kilometers from Raison on left bank of river side the road leads towards Kais Monastery which is considered to be one of the prominent places for Buddha's teaching and meditation techniques.


Vashist Temple

Vashist Hot Water Springs and Temple: Around 3 km from Manali, across the Beas river is Vashist, a small village with natural sulphur springs. Modern bathhouses, with Turkish-style showers, have the hot water piped into them for the convenience of the visitors who come here to benefit from the medicinal properties. Vaishisht, also boasts a pair of old stone temples, opposite each other above the main square. Dedicated to the local patron saint Vashista, the smaller of the two opens on to a partially covered courtyard, and is adorned with elaborate woodcarvings. Those lining the interior of the shrine, blackened by years of oil-lamp and incense smoke, are particularly fine. The temple tanks are underground hot-water/sulfur springs.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


hadimba temple

It is an ancient cave temple dedicated to Hidimbi Devi, sister of Hidimba, who was a character in the Indian epic, Mahābhārata. The temple is surrounded by a cedar forest at the foot of the Himālayas. The sanctuary is built over a huge rock jutting out of the ground, which was worshiped as an image of the deity. The structure was built in the year 1553.[1]

The Hidimbi Devi Temple has intricately carved wooden doors and a 24 meters tall wooden "shikhar" or tower above the sanctuary.[2] The tower consists of three square roofs covered with timber tiles and a fourth brass cone-shaped roof at the top. The earth goddess Durga forms the theme of the main door carvings.[3] The temple base is made out of whitewashed, mud-covered stonework. An enormous rock occupies the inside of the temple, only a 7.5 cm (3 inch) tall brass image representing goddess Hidimbi Devi. A rope hangs down in front of the rock, and according to a legend, in bygone days religious zealots would tie the hands of "sinners" by the rope and then swing them against the rock.[4]

About 70 metres away from the temple, there is a shrine dedicated to Goddess Hidimba's son, Ghatotkacha who was born after she married Bhima.

Museum of Traditional Himachal Culture

This small, privately funded museum near the Dhungri temple is worth a quick visit. The curator has spent years collecting folk art and handicrafts from surrounding villages to protect the traditions of the Kullu valley.

Green Forest cafe
Green Forest cafe, lying on the Hadimba-temple old manali road, only a few hundred meters from the temple, is also a very popular destination for both locals and foreigners. It serves tibetean soups, veggie dumplings and other sandwiches and snacks.