Manali! The Queen of Hills, that’s what I believe. Some argue that it’s not Manali but Simla that deserves to be the Queen. But close proximity to the mountains and infinite travel possibilities that Manali offers to men and women alike, deservedly makes it the Queen.
Manali is not a place to just see on a weekend trip from Delhi or Chandigarh. Instead, it is a place to feel and soak in the spirit of doing the things you always wanted to do. Savor the delicious pahadi food, volunteer with NGO’s or local monasteries, and cherish the joy that closeness to Mother Nature brings.
The sleepy town of Old Manali might bring you close to your inner self. If nothing, you’ll surely associate yourself with the brotherhood of #HappyTravellers.
Whenever one talks of Manali; its twin Kullu, often gets sidelined. Today, we shall see Manali and Kullu as sister Himalayan Towns and go through what all they have to offer to a tourist; who could be a honeymooner, or a backpacker, or just another guy trying to find himself in the wilderness.
Manali – Where is Snow?
Manali means snow. Doesn’t matter which tourist category you belong to, the first thought that comes to your mind when you think of Manali is of snow. Finding snow in Manali in peak summer season is little difficult as it is a crowded town that attracts hundreds thousands of tourists.
But within a day’s travel from Manali, there are many snow points that will bring out the little child in you, who always wanted to bombard others with snow balls. Other than this, Manali offers a little something to all types of travelers.
Things to do in Manali
>Take a stroll along the Mall Road. A tiny market bustling with people from all walks of life. A true manifestation of different colors of Indian culture absorbed in the warmth of the mountains.
>If you are a bike enthusiast, hire a day bike, you will find many rental services. Take a ride to close-by places like Vashishth, Gulaba, Naggar Castle, and Kais Monastery. All these can be covered in a day. And you can park your bike anywhere. No parking hassles.
>Old Manali means food, dance, and music. Indulge in delicious organic food, talk to strangers, walk along the tiny rivulets that flow all along the length and breadth of Manali. Cherish the freedom!
>Hike all the way from Mall Road to Hidimba Temple and observe how Manali has still preserved it cultural heritage. Not just the temple but ancient buildings surrounding the temples will tell you the same story. It’s just a 2 kilometer walk. If nothing, you will at-least breathe fresh air coming straight from the towering Deodar trees
>Help Locals Takea souvenir back home, like a handcrafted shawl or a pahadi topi. These clothing items are made by various cooperative societies comprising mainly of women of Manali and near-by villages. What better way to empower women of the mountains! That’s what the spirit of #SheThePeople tells us.
What Not to Do in Manali?
If you are travelling by public transport, make sure you have made all your bookings well in advance. The state owned buses are reliable and have frequent service between Delhi and Manali
Kullu – A Forgotten Wonder
What would you do if you have been driving in a crawling lane and all of a sudden you see a diversion wide enough to accommodate all the mad rush of tourists heading towards Manali?
And if you are fond of trekking or hiking, Kullu has to offer you even greater heights.
Where to Stay?
If I were you and I’d have to choose between Kullu and Manali, I’d take Manali every single day. Why? Because Manali has that magical charm associated with it’s weather and it’s people. And of course, there is no match for Manali’s hospitality.
Mahindra’s White Meadows at Prini are a great place to find solace from the mad rush of the city life. Right beneath the towering rocky slopes of Hampta Pass and Shring Tungu Peak, this luxury resort is worth giving a try. Try it, you won’t regret it!
You’ll find many desi and videshi female solo travelers in Manali. Tourism in small-towns like Manali has certainly helped Indian women to follow in the footsteps of their western counterparts. However, a cautious approach will always keep you out of trouble’s way.
Here’s what you can do to make your Manali sojourn an unforgettable experience.
- Plan Well Random is good, without any doubt. But a well planned journey will always keep you out of harm’s way. For instance, avoid walking down from Vashisth Hot Springs to Manali in the dark. That area is dimly lit.
- Communicate Around Manali, there are numerous short day hikes. And a traveler will always be fascinated to head into the wilderness. Always, communicate with your hotel staff or family about your plans for the day.
- Seek Local Input There are certain places and even villages too where women wearing western attire are not welcome. Sounds crazy, but that’s how it is. While in Manali, do as the Manalians’ do. Always seek local input before visiting a remote village.