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The small and picturesque town of Manali lies in a valley nestled between mountains in the northern state of India, Himachal Pradesh. The beautiful town is the gateway to an ancient trade route that leads to Ladakh and then to the famous Karakoram Pass connecting India and China.

Manali is natures treasure chest with its majestic mountains, flowing streams and rivers and mystical springs. To get a really immersive experience in Manali, you should stay there for at least a week.

There are many good hotels in Manali to suit everyone from the backpacker to the luxury traveler. Once you are settled in, you can embark on your voyage of discovery. Here is a list of top 5 places you must experience when in Manali.

6 Must See Places in Manali, India

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Solang Valley

This is the place to head during snow; a perfect place to indulge in snow sports and adventure activities. Adrenaline junkies can enjoy activities like paragliding, skiing, horse riding and trekking. The more adventurous can also trek to the summit to catch some awesome and spectacular views.

A lovely place to have fun for the entire family, Solang Valley is situated about 14 kilometers from Manali, on the way to the Rohtang Pass.

Rohtang Pass

51 kilometers from Manali, at an elevation of 13,050 feet, lies Rohtang Pass. The name literally translates into, “Pile of Corpses”, in the local dialect. This refers to the number of lives lost in negotiating this hazardous pass in the past!

The road to Rohtang Pass is one of the most dangerous in the country and is closed for half the year as it is buried under snow. The drive to Rohtang Pass is an experience in itself as you traverse through a dangerous and risky road with spectacular views on one side, and dangerous and sheer drops where one wrong move can make the difference between life and death.

The pass itself is spectacular with snow clad mountains serenading it and the Beas River completing the perfect landscape. Adventure activities like skiing, skating, snow scooter riding can be done here.

Rohtang Pass

Rohtang Pass

Jogni Falls

A 3 kilometer trek will take you to a beautiful and pristine spot in the valley of Manali. As soon as you reach the place, you will be enthralled by the sight of cascading silvery waterfalls surrounded all around by lush greenery.

This place is relatively untouched and pure. A place to head to for a soothing time. The trek to the falls is in itself a beautiful experience as you navigate through Pine forests and get your feet wet in small streams, as you feast your eyes on the snowcapped peaks visible in the distance.

A trek to Jogni falls is a must if you want some time away from the maddening crowd.

Bhrigu Lake

Situated at an altitude of 14,100 feet, is a lake that at once enchants and intrigues. The lake has a mystical allure that is simply endearing. According to legend a saint by the name Bhrigu used to meditate on the banks of the lake and hence its name.

The unique feature of the lake is that it never freezes completely and locals attribute this to the spiritual powers of Saint Bhrigu who had once meditated here.

As you look at the shimmering waters of the lake which reflect the images of the Himalayan snow peaks that surround it, you can almost feel the air of mysticism around it.

Bhrigu Lake

Vashisht

6 kilometers from Manali, after a walk on a steep gradient that takes you through beautiful streams and small bridges, you reach a small village called Vashist. The village is known for its cheap accommodation and is a favorite amongst backpackers.

The other important aspect that draws people to its fold are the hot water springs which are said to have medicinal properties. The hot water springs are located inside a Hindu temple which is said to be more than 4000 years old. The temple is dedicated to another Hindu saint called Vashisht.

Great Himalayan National Park

The Great Himalayan National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is spread over an area of 1717 square kilometers.

Some of the animals that inhabit the National Park include the Snow Leopard, Himalayan Brown Bear, Blue Sheep and Musk Deer. Treks inside the National Park can be done with permission from the Park authorities.

Manali is also known as the Valley of Gods and it is a place that indeed looks like a slice of Paradise on earth. The Valley offers limitless experiences in the form of Nature trails and treks that take you from the mundane to the sublime. A visit here will enrich your memories with experiences of a lifetime.

Great Himalayan National Park

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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; a website dedicated to opening your eyes to the wild & natural world.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

Photo credits: Featured by Greg Cullen. Snow Leopard Pinterest image by Marc Feldmann. Rohtang Pass by Axel Drainville. Bhrigu Lake by Crawford Learmonth.

    26 Comments

  1. Very different feel from what most tourists would expect from India. (I think) I’d be sure to check these places out if I ever get to go to this part of India.

    • Absolutely! We enjoy introducing people to parts of a country they weren’t aware existed – India has such an incredible natural side :) Hope you have the chance to travel North soon!

  2. I spent a few week in the Manali region last year. It’s such a beautiful and laid-back part of India. Highly recommended. Megan — did you get a chance to head up to Leh? Manali-Leh ranks among the most epic road trips I have ever taken!

    • Awesome Dan! So glad you enjoyed your time! We haven’t made it to Leh yet, though hope to travel back through Asia next year, will have to add it to my list of road trips. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Oh! I haven’t been to Manali yet. Indeed these are some reputed places to visit in terms of tourism.

    • Hope you have the chance to travel soon!

  4. I’ve never been to this region of India but it looks really rather special. The Rohtang Pass seems a little terrifying, not least because of the name and how it came to be, but worthwhile for the spectacular views.

    • Absolutely special indeed :) Re the Rohtang Pass, what’s life without a little adventure right :D!

  5. Wow, that’s a fantastic photo of a snow leopard. I’d go there just to visit the Great Himalayan National Park. I love hearing about places I’ve never come across before and Manali looks like a great spot if you like nature.

    • I dream of seeing one in the wild! They’re out there! But unfortunately this is not my photo – a guy called Marc Feldmann managed to snap it :)

  6. Manali is a pretty tourist spot in India made famous through Indian movies. I have never been there yet. Would love to visit this snowy paradise.

    • Hope you have the chance to travel soon!

  7. Wow, this is as exotic and remote as it gets. I love all the natural aspects and preserved areas and that National park is definitely on my bucket list of places to visit.

    • Definitely a part of India which isn’t instantly on people’s minds – glad we could introduce you :)

  8. Love the translation of the Rohtang Pass. You can’t really say you haven’t been warned. Did the altitude of this region affect how you felt in any way?

    • Haha I know right!! I’m personally lucky to be pretty good with altitude, but if it’s something which you know affects you, you should definitely plan for a couple of days to acclimatize, and plan out your days with a lot of time.

  9. I would love to go to India to prove that it is safe and beautiful and you just prove it to me. But yes, I will still plan to go. Thanks, Meg, for this!

    • I’m so glad that we could reassure you about India Haze – yes, it’s a very safe place for travelers, obviously safety issues can occur anywhere in the world, so we always recommend traveling with caution anywhere :)

      Have an amazing time in India!

  10. A slice of paradise on Earth, I like the idea! I have Ladakh area in my radar since long time but never heard of Manali before. So nice discovery which I will make sure to add it to my future Ladakh trip.

    • Sounds like a great plan! There’s so much of India to explore :)

  11. What a beautiful area! This is honestly not what I picture when I think of India. I love the Rohtang pass and the falls sounds gorgeous! I would also really enjoy the National Park – its all so gorgeous!

    • I’m glad that we could challenge your perception :) Hope you have the chance to visit soon!

  12. ohh…wow..Beautiful blog post as well as wonderful and scenic places of manali…i remember that when i visied rohtang pass and great himalayan national park with college friends… we are going to this place with travelroach…here is the trek link

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Smita, as well as your trip to rohtang pass and great himalayan national park :) It’s a beautiful region indeed!

  13. There’s so many more places to visit in himanchal apart from Shimla Manali. Here are few more to add and believe me if you travel these destination you will ultimately feal peace. These are mesmerising and breath taking places…..Malana village, Vashist, Dalhousie, Khajjiar, Kasol, Kasauli, pin valley national park, chail wildlife sanctuary….

    • Thanks for the additional recommendations Neelam! Totally agree that there’s so many things to do in this region – all incredible! Will add your suggestions to my list for our next trip :)

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