Manali is one of the most beautiful hill stations of India. It is nested in the mighty Himalayas with snow capped peaks and steep valleys. It is at the tip of the Kullu valley at a height of about 2100 feet above sea level on the banks of the Beas River. Besides from just basking in the breathtaking natural scenery, one can indulge in adventure sports, mountaineering and trekking. It is also an important Hindu pilgrimage and has a host of pilgrimage spots.
You may reach by air to Bhuntar airport which is about 52 kms from Manali. Manali is 585 KMs from Delhi and 270 KMs from Shimla. Regular Buses are available from Himachal Pradesh Tourism from both Cities. You can also engage Taxis but they will cost more. The fare from Delhi to Manali is around Rs 8000 by Taxi. Buses are also a convenient option for Manali from Chandigarh and Dehradoon.
While the nearest railway station is at Joginder Nagar it is a Narrow Guage. It is better to take the Shatadbi Express from Delhi till Chandigarh and do the remaining 280 kms by Taxi in 5 hours.
November to February is winter months and the weather can be freezing. Carry heavy woolens if you are travelling in winter and light woolens otherwise.Travelling by road on mountainous roads may make some people dizzy and uncomfortable. It is advisable to carry vomit-bags, candies, chewing gums.
The Rohtang Pass on the Manali-Keylong/Leh highway which is at an altitude of nearly 13000 feet above sea level and 51 kms further from Manali, provides a spectacular view of the Himalayan Mountains and glaciers. This place can be extremely cold and it is advised to carry jackets, woolens and spiked boots for the trek on snows! There are enough shops providing these on rent before starting the journey from Manali. Because of the terrain and snow, this is closed during winters and during occasional landslides.
The Hidimbaa temple or the Dhoongri temple and the Manu Maharishi temple are both ancient temples worth a visit for those interested in history. Hidimbaa, was the wife of Bhima (one of the Pandavas) according to the Hindu mythology and this temple is dedicated to her. There is also a museum which showcases conventional Himachal works of art near the Hidimbaa temple which could be seen. The Manu Maharishi temple is dedicated to Manu, the first man and king of mankind.
A Sulphur hot water spring called Vashisht spring on the banks of the Beas River and a temple next to it are hot favorites with tourists and devotees alike. They are supposed to contain medicinal properties.
Another short trip from Manali is to Arjun Gufa where it is believed that Arjun (one of the Pandavas) meditated.
A visit to the Manikaran hot water spring which is situated about 85 kms further from Manali (it is closer to Kullu), is a must. This spring is known for its unique healing properties. It is a natural wonder that there is a hot water spring besides the icy waters of the Parvati River.
For a travelogue involving Monastery trail, beautiful Himalayan Peaks, Tsomgo Lake, Yaks and Rural Farm Stay visit Sikkim.