The Kullu valley has
an ancient town in its lap called Manali. Surrounded by towering
peaks at an arm length, Manali's major asset is its proximity
to the snowline. It is a flourishing orchard industry, a popular
honeymoon destination and trailhead for numerous treks as well
as a great countryside ideal for adventure sport lovers.
Manali literally means the 'Home of Manu'. Manu is the
mythological character who is supposed to have survived when the
world was drowned in Flood. He then came to Manali and recreated
human life. Thus, the area of Manali is sacred and Hindus treat
the temples over here as pilgrimage.
The valley of gods, as the Kullu valley has come to be known, is
perhaps the most delightful region in the western Himalayas. The
ancient Hindus regarded it as the furthest limit of human
habitation - Kulantapitha, and its original name finds mention
in the epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata as well as Vishnu
Like a slender delicate-hued fern glistening in the morning dew,
the valley spreads out its charm on either side of the upper
reaches of the river Beas. Running north to south, the main
river valley is only 80 km long and 2 km at its broadest, yet a
fairly wide area is open to the visitors to enjoy the spectacle
of variegated mountain scenery.
In the spring Kullu is at its most colorful with pink blossoms
and white flowers while the higher slopes are aglow with
gorgeous rhododendrons. With autumn, clear blue skies return and
fields and forests alike show wonderful tints of crimson and
ochre. By December, there is no greenery except the majestic
pines and cedars in the forests. In winter the hillsides are
flanked in white.
Situated on the banks of the Beas, Kullu, the headquarters of
the district, serves as a nerve centre of the valley and is the
starting place for a number of treks. The deodar-fringed grassy
maidan, Dhalpur, is a stage for many colorful fairs.
Places to see in Manali
Hadimba Temple: Hadimba
or Dhungiri temple in Manali is one of the most important
temples in the region. This four-story wooden temple is located
in the middle of a forest called the Dhungiri Van Vihar.
Temple of Manu: Slippery stones paths lead through the old
village houses up to the temple of Manu. Manali is named after
the sage Manu who meditated when he came in this area.
Kothi : 12 km. A quiet but picturesque spot. The Rest House
overlooks the narrow valley and commands views of the mountains.
Below Kothi, for more than a kilometer the river Beas flows
through a deep gorge, almost a subterranean passage, 30 meters
or more in depth, and the cliffs which flank both sides of the
canyon are a favorite haunt for rock pigeons. The site of the
bridge provides an interesting historical episode in the early
annals of Kullu.
Solang Valley : 13 km.
A splendid valley between Manali and Kothi which offers views of
the glaciers and snow-capped mountain peaks. The plateau is
frequently used for holding camps by the trekking parties. Good
skiing slopes of the Mountaineering Institute. Venue of annual
winter carnival from February 10-14. Bus service up to Palchan
village (10 km) and then by jeep or on foot.
Rahla Falls : 2 km from Kothi. Here the river Beas hurtles
down from a height of about 50 meters. Charming spot for
Manali Sanctuary : A bridle path from the Manali log huts
goes past the Dhoongri Temple and wanders into the dense deodar,
kail, horse chestnut, walnut and maple forest which is a part of
this sanctuary. Camping overnight in tents at Lambadug or
Galiani Thatch is possible.
Old Manali: The old Manali area is located some 3-km from
the present day Manali. The old Manali is covered with
guesthouses, which look ancient now, and orchards where the
livestock move at will.
Tibetans have a base in Manali too. There is a large modern
Tibetan temple to the South of the bus stand and also a small
Arjun Gufa: On the left bank of the Beas, 5-km from Manali
near the village of Prini, is the 'Arjun Gufa' or the cave of
Arjuna. In here Arjuna practiced austerities to get Pashupata
Ashtra or weapon from Lord Indra.
Rohtang Pass 51
km. At an altitude of 4,112 metres on the highway to Keylong,
the pass affords a wide-spread panorama of mountain scenery. In
place of the pinnacled hills, sheltered valleys and cultivated
tracts, the eye meets a range of precipitous cliffs, huge
glaciers and piled Moraine, and deep ravines. Almost directly
opposite is the well defined Sonepani glacier, slightly to the
left are the twin peaks of the Geypang, jagged pyramids of rock,
snow streaked and snow crowned.
The Beas river rises near the crest of Rohtang from a block of
Mica-Schist. The pass normally opens for traffic after mid-June
and officially closes in November. To its left, 200 metres
higher, is the little lake of Sarkund (Dashair) visited by a
number of people, the general belief being that a bath in these
waters effects a cure of all bodily ailments-real or imaginary.
10 km before Rohtang is the barren-landscape of Marhi which hums
with activity during summer and autumn months because almost
everyone stops here for refreshments.