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.
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.
Gadhan Thekchoking Gompa: This Gompa dominates the Tibetan area around the bottom of the Mall in Manali. The Tibetan refugees built the Gompa in the late 1960's. The Gompa is covered with brightly coloured frescoes and a mid size Buddhist statute. It also carries a list of the martyrs killed in occupation of Tibet of 1987 to 1989.
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.
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.
Rohtang Pass: Rohtang Pass is the highest point, 4,112m, on the Manali-Keylong road, 51-km from Manali town. It provides a wide panoramic view of mountains rising far above clouds, which is a sight truly breath-taking.
Tibetan Temple: 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 handicrafts center.
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.
Manali has no airport of its own. The nearest one Bhuntas is around 10 km south of Kullu town and about 50 km from Manali. Flights are available to and from Lucknow, Delhi, Ludhiana and Shimla. Timings and booking details should be checked in advance. Booking could be made through travel agents both at Kullu and Delhi as well as other places.
The entire Kullu Valley is connected with various centres both inside and outside the state. Other than HPTDC, a fleet of buses is run by road transport corporations and private operators.
Shimla to Manali (via Mandi)
One has three options for Shimla-Mandi drive.
One which passes through Jalosi Pass. Total distance is about 270 km.
Through Tattapani. Total distance is about 300 km
Via Ghaggas and Sundernagar to Pandoh.