Are you tired of your everyday monotonous work life?
And are looking for a way to escape the city-din to rest in the quiet & comfort of nature’s natural bounty???
Then, Manali is the place for you!
Nestled in the laps of the Himalayan Mountains, Manali is a beautiful resort town of Himachal Pradesh. It has a population of about 8000 people, and is known for being a center of peace, meditation, and tranquillity.
It’s “a go-to place” for the hopeless romantics who want to witness the quiet music of gently falling snow on sun-kissed December days.
However, what sets Manali apart from other hill stations in India is its capacity to hold quiet romanticism and glaring adventures in one place.
So, while one can spend a peaceful day in lush green apple orchards, spread over acres of land, they can, on the very next day, embrace trekking along a very dangerous Rohtang pass.
Culture & Heritage
Besides its scenic beauty, Manali has a lot to offer in terms of culture & heritage.
Its people are never afraid to embrace & flaunt their tradatons, and are quite content in their way of being. But tradational here doesn’t automatically translate to being backward as 70% of its population is literate and is employed across a wide range of industries.
Here is a tip for those wanting to explore its culture & history in all seriousness. A trip to Himachal is incomplete if you didn’t go check out some of the old Himalayan Villages. But before you dare yourself onto such an adventure, remember, although beautiful, these villages do not have access to modern facilities such as wi-fi, 24*7 power-supply, etc.
Here, I have tried compiling a list some of the must-visit Himalayan Villages:
- Nako: Located on the Indo-Tibetan border, this beautiful village encompasses the amazing untouched beauty of the Himalayas. It is your opportunity to see Chango Gompa, a 500 years old prayer wheel made from Yak Skin, as well. In case you have made up your mind to travel to Nako, you can be assured that there are decent hotels and restaurants for the tourist. However, if you really want to get the feel of the place, opt for homestays instead.
- Manala: A few years back, BBC released a documentary on Manala, showcasing how deeply the place is entrenched in drugs. But if you could move just a bit ahead of the smoke & confusion, Manala is worth a visit! It is said that the place has a solid Portuguese influence from the past, which is why, the locals here look a bit different from Himachali-s in general. Whether it is true or not, you can find out by visiting this beautiful Himalayan village.
- Kardang: 900 years have gone by and the Kardang Monastry still stands strong in the foothills of the Himalayas. Located on the bank of Bhaga river, the monastery is an example of world-class Indian architecture. Behind its numerous paintings, frescos, and instruments, it holds a deep knowledge of religion & life.
- Chitkul: Here is an interesting piece of information about Chitkul from history. In the past, the residents of Chitkul were called Kinnaras. They were believed to be the connecting links between humans and gods. And that is how the name the Kinnaur District came into being! As it is also known as the land of deities, you could easily find temples or a monasteries at every nook & corner.
The best way to travel through these mountains is to hire a mountain bike so you can closely watch locals going about their businesses in their most traditional ways. Also, the bike ride will fill up your lungs with the clean healing air of the Himalayas, which will rejuvenate you from inside.
The art of balancing Yin & Yang
Manali is a beautifully balanced mixture of modernity and traditions. On one hand, we have the mall road, spilling world-class brands & international fashion, and on the other, we have a wide array of Hindu temples, situated at every nook & corner.
One such popular temple is the Hidimba Devi temple. Built in 1553, the Hidimba Devi temple is a living example of India’s glorious architectural history. It is dedicated to Hadimba who was the sister of Hadimb, the ruler of the mountains. Mahabharata, one of Hindu’s biggest mythological books, also carries a mention of this temple.
The Old World Charm
Coming back to the city, if you really want to get the hang of the place, you mustn’t skip traveling to old Manali. It is where the old meets the new. You ca n in fact choose to stay in a motel in old Manali instead of stopping in the main city. Although, you wouldn’t have access to any modern facilities, yet, it will give you a very different perspective about Manali as a whole.
Whether you are a student on a limited budget or an executive looking for a luxurious stay in the laps of nature, Manali has bounties to offer to everyone.