“KULANTPITA” The End of the Habitable World. It is Kullu, as it was earlier called. Beyond it rise the forbidding heights of the Greater Himlayas with snow capped mountains tinted by golden sunsets, beautiful valleys with fast flowing rivers, Rolling Meadows dotted with beautiful wild flowers.
Manali 2,050 metres (6,398 feet), situated on the banks of river Beas is just 51 kms. below the famous Rohtang Pass (3,980 metres). It is one the most beautiful hill station, located about 250 kilometres north of state capital Shimla. It is administratively a part of the Kullu province in the state of Himachal Pradesh and it lies in the North Western part of Himalayas, in the North India. With a small population of 30,000 people this small town was the beginning of an ancient trade route to Ladakh and, from there, over the Karakoram Pass on to Yarkand and Khotan in the Tarim Basin. Manali is the ultimate tourist destination and presents some of the most magnificent vistas of the Himalayas.
Manali is also considered as the gateway to Greater Himalayas and is a starting point for various treks to lahaul, Spiti, Zanskar, and Ladakh Himalayan ranges. Jeep Safari from Manali to Leh Ladakh valley over Rohtang pass through Lahaul Spiti valley is one of the most exciting and adventurous, on road journey in the Himalayas. It passes through big open Tibetan Pleatue and crosses the 05 (five) high mountain passes including the Tanglang la Pass, which is the World’s second highest Motorable road in the world. The entire route is flanked by beautiful snow capped Himalayan Mountain ranges, clear water lakes, vast flat lands with stunning sand and natural rock formations and the Himalayan wildlife. The Manali – Leh road remains open from June to early October only.
Kullu is 45 kms before Manali and is the district headquarters. Kullu is famous for its Dussehra festival, and at that time all the deities come here from the entire valley to pay their respect to Lord Raghunath ji, as lord Rama is called here. The entire valley is known as Kullu-Manali valley. Manali and the surrounding area is of great significance to Indian culture and heritage as it is said to be the home of the Saptarshi (Seven Sages).Manali is named after the Hindu lawgiver “Manu”. The word Manali is regarded as the changed name of “Manu-Alaya” which literally means “the abode of Manu”. Legend has it that sage Manu stepped off his ark in Manali to recreate human life after a great flood had deluged the world. The entire Kullu and Manali valley is also often referred to as the “Valley of the Gods”. The Old Manali village has an ancient temple dedicated to sage Manu.
Kullu – Manali acts as a base camp for excursions into the Greater Himalayas and offers opportunities for the jeep safaris, trekking, mountaineering, rock climbing, rafting, paragliding, skiing, fishing etc. Kullu-Manali valley is also known as fruit bowl of India. The British introduced apple trees and trout fish, which were not native to Manali flora and fauna. It is said that when apple trees were first planted the fruits were so plentiful that often branches, unable to bear the weight, would collapse To this day, apples along with Cheery, apricorts, plums, pears, kiwis, persimmons, almonds; remains the best source of income for the majority of its inhabitants.
Handloom Kullu Shawl is World famous and is the best treasure one can look for. These Shawls are made of many natural fibers such as pashmina, angora wool (rabbit wool), yak wool, sheep-wool etc., and are cheaper to buy in these hill stations than in many parts of the India, as they are manufactured here and later on exported to different parts of the country and the world.
Entire valley is gifted everything that you can imagine. Kullu valley has big opportunities to explore and enjoy the breathtaking natural beauty, marvelous landscapes, hospitable, traditional villages with peaceful & co-operative people having distinct life style & culture, places of pilgrimage, ancient temples of Hindu deities, traditional architecture, adventure and activities, thick forests with flora and wildlife, handicrafts and shopping, mountains and high passes, make it a place for all seasons and for all travellers.
This temple is also known as the Dungri temple. It is related to the epic of Mahabharata- according to the legend; Bhim slew the Demon Hadimb, and married his sister Hadimbha here. The natural cave temple belived to enshrine the footprint of Hadimbha Devi, and she is the main deity in the valley. Superbly crafted as a four tiered pagoda style structure, it has exquisitely carved doors and was built in 1533, around the small natural cave by the rulers of Kullu.
Old Manali bears an outlook of cross cultural fusion. It is approximately 2 km away from Manali town. This is virtually unspoiled Himalayan village which makes visitors wonder with surprise. The place is famous for traditional houses with a temple dedicated to Manu Rishi. This place has developed its identity into multi cultural hub entertaining both domestic & western tourists with finest of ethnic products. It is one of the best places to hang out in the evening. It has a great collection of restaurants/bars and shops. During peak of tourist season ethnicity and tourism untie together to offer cultural extravaganza over here. Plenty of Israeli, German, Italian dishes and music which range from techno to soothing instrumentals play here amidst sweet incense of mediation fragrance sticks. The little market gets a frivolous look with the arrival of tourists specially westerners. Crystal bargains, embroidery over the T-shirts with SHIVA SHAKTI, Lord Ganesha prints convey a sense of belonging towards Indian mythology. The old Manali has few options for BULLET, over here. With growing number of guest houses old Manali has plenty of staying options at reasonable price.
3 kms away from Manali near the old Manali village is this temple, dedicated to sage Manu, Legend has it that sage Manu stepped off his ark in Manali to recreate human life after a great flood had deluged the world.
3 kms, from Manali, famous for its natural hot sulphur water springs. The Vashisit village famous for its hot sulphur springs, temples for Vashisit Rishi and Lord Rama. The hot sulphur springs are endowed with great healing powers and are considered good for skin disease and joint pains. The natural hot sulphur springs have two separate bathing tanks one for men and one for women. The hot and cold water is separately piped, maintaining the regular temperature for bathing.
Solang valley is the picturesque valley approximately 14kms. from Manali. It offers the view of glaciers and snow capped mountain peaks. Mountains of the Solang valley are famous for its ski, and people from the whole world come here during winters for ski. It is also a famous place for outdoor activities in Manali including the activities like paragliding, dirt bike, pony rides, snow scooters, cable cars etc.
51 kms, from Manali, gateway to Ladakh, lahaul and Spiti valley. The Sonapati Glacier and the peaks of Himalayas are quite closer from here. Towards the Rohtang pass you pass by some fascinating places including Kothi, Rahalla falls and Marhi. Rohtang Pass is open only from end of May to September and is the best place to experience snow even in the summers. On a clear day one can have the panoramic and magnificent views of the Himalayas from here. Rohtang Pass is the first pass to be crossed by the travellers on the 475 kms. long Manali – Leh Highway in Greater Himalayas.
On the way to Rohtang pass Kothi is a beautiful and photographic village from where tourists can capture different thrilling views of the deep gorge through which the Beas swiftly runs. This is an amazing place to experience the natural beauty of high altitude mountains and the beautiful Rahalla falls.
Naggar is a peaceful village situated along the hills on the east bank (known locally as the Left Bank ) of the Beas River. The beautiful Naggar Castle (now a Himachal Tourism hotel and restaurant) is the legacy of its status as the old capital of the former Kullu Kingdom about 500 years ago. This Castle commands an incredible view of the river far below and the opposite Beas river bank, with the distant snow capped Himalayan Mountain peaks. At the edge of the village lies the Roerich gallery displaying oil paintings and the 1930’s Dodge car of the famous Russian artist Nikolai Roerich who lived in Naggar for many years. In the trekking season, Naggar serves as a starting point for the trek to the village of Malana via the Chandrakhani Pass.
he Naggar Castle, Roerich House and the Art gallery are places to see. Moonlight dinner on the balcony of Hotel Castle restaurant is worth experiencing, with the lovely sight of twinkling lights of the village houses below in the valley. Bijli Mahadev temple, about 20 kms from Naggar, is also worth visiting.
At a height of 2,460 metres, 14 kms from Kullu, and 20 kms from Naggar, is a sacred temple dedicated to lord Shiva. Above Kullu from Chansari village it is a trek of three (03) kilometres. The temple is famous for its Stone Shiva – Lingam which shatters, each time the lighting strikes it. The 60 feet high staff of Bijli Mahadev temple glistens like a silver needle in the Sun.
In this temple of lightning it is said that the tall staff attracts the divine blessings in the form of lightning. The priest of the temple restore the Shiva Lingam by joining the shattered pieces together by using butter and sattoo ( barley floor) as an adhesive. The prospect from Bijli Mahadev is enthralling with a panoramic view of the Kullu and Parbati valleys.
At a height of 1,760 metres and is located about 45 km from Kullu. Manikaran is a pilgrimage centre for Hindus and Sikh and is famous for its hot springs. The legend of Manikaran (Mani means Gem and Karan means Ear) states that while roaming around here, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, enamored by the beauty of this place, they decided to spend some time here and it is believed that they actually spent eleven hundred years (1,100 years) over here. During their stay, Goddess Parvati lost her Mani (precious gem stones of her ears) in the waters of a stream here. Upset over the loss, she asked Lord Shiva to retrieve it. Lord Shiva commanded his attendant to find out the Mani for Parvati, however, when they failed, Lord Shiva was extremely angry. He opened his third eye, a tremendously inauspicious event which led to disturbances in the universe. An appeal was made before the serpent god, Sheshnag, to pacify Lord Shiva Sheshnag hissed thereby giving rise to a flow of boiling water. The water spread over the entire area resulting in the emergence of precious gem stones (Mani) of the type Goddess Parvati had lost. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were happy at the outcome, and found their lost Mani (precious gem). The name Manikaran is derived from this legend.
The water of the spring is also supposed to have curative powers. The water is so hot that rice can be cooked in it and you can see it practically over there. According to Sikhs belief, Guru Nanak Dev Ji visited this place in 1574 with his disciples. Sri Guru Nanak sent his good Friend Bhai Mardana to collect food for langar (the Community Kitchen). Many people donated atta (wheat flour) to make Roti (bread). The one problem was that there was no fire to cook the food. Guru Nanak Asked Mardana to lift a stone and Bhai Mardana then lifted a rock and a hot spring (hot water) appeared. As directed by Guru Nanak Dev ji, Mardana put the rolled chapattis (Indian breads) in the spring to his despair the chapattis sank. Guru Nanak then told him to pray to god saying that if his chapattis float back then he would donate one chapatti in the name of God. When he prayed, all the baked chapattis started floating back to him. Guru Nanak Dev Ji said that anyone who donates in the name of God, his or her drowned items float back. Later
Shoja is a little village at a height 2,692 metres, just 5 kms before the Jalori Pass. It provides panoramic views of the area with snow peaks and valleys of the Central Himalayas with small traditional villages, meadows and forests, rivers and streams. Shoja boasts dense forests of Oak, Pine and Deodar rich in wild life including Beer, Barking Deer, Musk Deer, Leopard, Jungle Hog and many Himalayan pheasants including the Koklash and Monal. It is a good place to stay in peacefully environment far away from the hassles of the regular touristic places. The beautiful traditional houses and numerous walks and treks in the surrounding forests are the special feature of the area.
At a height of 3,223 metres, it links Kullu valley to Shimla valley. If you are returning from Kalpa/ Sangla (Kinnaur province) and wants to visit Manali then you can use this way to visit Kullu valley and Manali. The pass has a couple of tea shops where basic meals are available. Jalori Pass provides very good views of the Central Himalayan Ranges with Shimla valley on to one side and Kullu / Tirthan valley on to other side.
Seolsar Lake is a 5 km trek (2 hrs one side) from Jalori Pass and it passes through the dense forest of Oak, Blue pine, Spruce, Fir and Deodar trees. At one point you come on to a ridge from where you can see the Inner Seraj valley beyond at one end, and the Outer Seraj at the other. At the banks of the lake there is a old traditional temple of “Boodhi Nagin” (Old Goddess Serpent) who is the mother goddess to all the Snake Gods in the different valleys of Himachal Pradesh. There is a small eating shop just 100 metres before the lake.
Is the most strikingly beautiful valleys of Himalayas, named after the main village “Sangla” in the valley. Due to Baspa river flowing in the valley it is also known as Baspa Sangla valley. Like the rest of the Kinnaur, there are no urban centres in the valley and people practice an unusual mix of Trans Himalayan culture (Hinduism and Buddhism together). Towards Chitkul the valley is fairly populous and cultivated. This valley, with its beautiful village and with only a few tourists, is the best in the world to visit.
From Wangtu on the Indo – Tibet boarder road, in the lower Kinnaur valley, a road turns off to Kafnu Village (Bhaba Valley).Here in Bhaba Valley two of the most famous and beautiful trek routes starts in. To the east, Bhaba valley leads to Pin valley in (Spiti over Bhaba pass 4,900 metres) and to the west the trek moves to Kullu in Parbati valley over pin Parbati pass (5,319 metres).
Kamru village is a dense cluster of houses and is surrounded by fields and apple and apricot orchards. The main village gate has an image of the Buddha, whose blessings are sought before entering the confines of the village. A series of low gates through the village leads to the tower fort of Kamru that rises five stories high. The fort presents a magnificent view of the valley. The temple gates are highly decorated with wooden carvings of different Hindu deities and Lord Buddha.
Set on the left bank of the of the river Baspa in Sangla valley, Batseri has some interesting architecture, cobbled paths and the superbly crafted temple of Badari Narayan (Hindu deity) with a lot of Tibetan and Buddhist architecture style in the wooden carvings on the temple wall. The walk from Batseri to Sangla village (4-5 kms) along the Baspa River is highly recommended.
It is one of the most beautiful villages in Baspa Sangla valley and is the last village on the Indo- Tibet border. It is like a fairy tale. The old houses, the fields, the magnificent view of the snow capped mountain peaks, the bewitching scenery and the internal snow views are memorable sites for visitors.
It is the district headquarters of Kinnaur valley, and faces the famous Mt. Kinner Kailash (6,050 metres) considered as the home of Lord Shiva, Mt. Jorkhandan (6,473 metres). As close to Tibet, the life style and the religion of inhabitants has been influenced by Buddhism. There is a big market in Recong Peo which affords you everything you need and if some one has omitted to get the Inner Lines permit (to enter the restricted area) this is the last place to get possible place to get it before heading further into the valley towards Spiti.
The oldest village in Kinnaur valley, earlier it was known as Chini. The village came into prominence when it was visited by the British Governor-General, Lord Dalhousie (1848-1856). The village is covered with thick pine forests and is famous for chilgozas (Dry fruits) and apple orchards. Kalpa is considered the best village to have a look of Mt. Kinner Kailash (6,050 metres) and Mt. Jorkhandan (6,473 metres). A visit to the monastery and children’s orphanage at the village is worthwhile.
In the upper Kinnaur valley, this is one of the most fascinating villages. The village is built around a beautiful small lake surrounded by willow and poplar trees. The desolate mountains of other side reflect in the lake. The tourist enjoys picturesque beauty of nature at Nako. As the lake freezes in winters so the local inhabitants play ice-skating and other games on the frozen lake. There are a couple of monasteries in the village which are of 11 centuries old. Nako has a small monastery with a foot impression of Guru Padmasambhava on a small rock inside the monastery. Prayers flags fluttering in high winds, snow covered peaks reflecting in the lake water provide a beautiful natural scene for visitors.
The climate of Manali is considered to be pleasant all year around. The hill station has its own beauty that is unique to different seasons. The summers (March to June) are pleasant but the winters are quite cold( December to February). The average temperature during summers is between 14 °Celsius to 28 °Celsius , and during the winters ( Mid December- mid February) as the climate remains cold and it snows at times, the temperature remains between - 2 °Celsius and 12 ° Celsius. It is a ideal time for skiing and to enjoy the fresh snowfall in winters at Manali.
Monsoons arrive (July & August) in Manali by the end of the month of June. The region is adorned with various shades of green during this season. This is the trekkers’ season in Manali as it is the best time to do some beautiful and adventurous treks into the greater Himalayas, Ladakh, Zanskar Himalayas, Spiti valley and to Kinnaur valleys. Various tourists, throughout the world visit this place during the monsoons to travel deep further into Himalayas from here. The best time to visit Kullu Manali is from March to December.
As the Kinnaur valley is located in the Central Himalayas, the climate of the area is pleasant during summer and cold in winters. The monsoon season starts from July to August, but Kalpa village is the point where the mountains halt the march of the monsoon clouds. Best time to visit the valley is from April to early November, and the time period between early April to early October is highly recommended.
By Road Kullu- Manali is well connected to all parts of the Himachal Pradesh state and the country. Manali is well connected by road to Delhi through NH-21 and NH-1, which goes on to Leh over the world’s highest Motorable road over the 5 high Mountain Passes. The Manali – Leh road remains open from June to early October only. By road Manali is 522 kms from Delhi (15 hrs), 350 kms from Chandigarh (10 hrs), 260 kms from Shimla (8 hrs), 220 kms from Dharamshala (8 hrs), 425 kms from Amritsar (12 hrs) and 475 kms from Leh-Ladakh.
By Train: There are no direct trains to Manali the nearest Train station to Manali is Chandigarh 340 kms (10 hrs) and Kalka 310 kms (10 hrs) which is well connected to all the major parts of the country by different trains.
By Air The nearest airport for Manali isBhuntar, (50 km fromManali, 10 kms from Kullu).
Air India and Kingfisher Red, just these two morning flights connect Kullu Manali valley to New Delhi. Kingfisher Red operates daily services from New Delhi and Air India provides twice a week services from and to New Delhi.
The best way to travel Kinnaur valley is doing a 10 -12 days of trip to Kinnaur and Spiti valley which is highly recommended. The trip starts from Shimla and ends up in Manali (12 days) or in Leh Ladakh (16 days) while covering some of the most beautiful villages and snow caped mountain peaks on the way with a lot of temple and monasteries.
By Road: Kinnaur valley is connected to all parts of the country through the all weather road. The most popular road route passes through Shimla to Kinnaur. The best way to travel by road is from Shimla to Kinnaur (approx. 200 kms) on the Indo-Tibet border Road. The same road further enters into Spiti valley and from which you can drive to Manali or to Leh Ladakh while following the same route from Shimla.
This is only possible during the months of Early June to early October-as the high passes in the Spiti valley only remain open at this time of year. People travelling before or after these months have to come back the same way to Shimla after visiting Kinnaur and Spiti valley.
By Train: There is no rail link to the Kinnaur valley. The nearest rail head for Kinnaur is Shimla, which is connected to the World heritage toy train (narrow gauge line) from Kalka to Shimla. Kalka is very well connected to New Delhi and other parts of the country by a broad gauge line.
By Air: Shimla airport is the nearest air link to the valley. Shimla airport is well connected to New Delhi, having one flight a day.