About Manali

A Colonial Retreat

Manali is a hill station nestled in the mountains of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh near the northern end of the Kullu Valley, at an altitude of 2,050 m (6,726 ft) in the Beas River Valley. It is located in the Kullu district, about 270 km (168 mi) north of the state capital, Shimla. The small town, with a population of 8,096, is the beginning of an ancient trade route to Ladakh and from there over the Karakoram Pass on to Yarkand and Khotan in the Tarim Basin. It has become a tourist attraction in recent years.

In ancient times, the valley was sparsely populated by nomadic hunters known as 'rakshas'. The next arrivals were the shepherds who arrived from the Kangra Valley and settled to take up agriculture. Some of the earliest inhabitants of the region are the 'naur' or 'nar', which is a caste unique to the Kullu valley. Only a few naur families are known to exist now. A naur family in the village Soyal near Haripur on the west bank of Manali was famous for the vast land they owned and their practice of having 'rakshas' as their labourers.

The British introduced apple trees and trout, The first apple orchard was set up by Britishers near patlikulh which were earlier not native to Manali flora and fauna. It is said that when apple trees were first planted the fruits were so plentiful that often branches, unable to bear the weight, would collapse. To this day, apple—along with plum and pear—remains the best source of income for the majority of its inhabitants.

Tourism in Manali received a boost after the rise of militancy in Kashmir in the late 1980s. This once quiet village was transformed into a bustling town with many hotels and restaurants.


Getting to Manali

Air

The nearest airport is at Bhuntar town, situated on NH21 about 50 km (31 Miles) south of Manali and 10 km (6.2 Miles) south of Kullu town. The airport is also known as Kullu-Manali airport and has more than a kilometre long runway. Indian Airlines and some private airlines have regular flights to the airport. Recently Himalayan Bulls in collaboration with Deccan Charters have started flights on Kullu-Chandigarh-Kullu sector thrice a day http://himalayanbulls.com/ Daily flight service( except Tuesday) has been started by 15 May 2013 at Bhunter airport by Air India from Delhi to Bhunter and vice-versa. Chandigarh airport is the nearest international airport.

Road

Manali can be reached from Delhi by national highway NH 1 up to Chandigarh and from there by national highway NH21 that passes through Bilaspur, Sundernagar, Mandi and Kullu towns. The road distance from Delhi to Chandigarh is 260 km and from Chandigarh to Manali is 273 km. The total distance from Delhi to Manali thus is 533 km (331 mi). Buses ply heavily on this route and are available from all major bus terminals.

Rail

Manali is not easily approachable by rail. The nearest broad gauge railheads are at Chandigarh (275 km (171 mi)), Pathankot (325 km (202 mi)) and Kalka (310 km (193 mi)). The nearest narrow gauge railhead is at Joginder Nagar (135 kilometres (84 mi)).

Weather in Manali

The climate in Manali is predominantly cold during winters, and moderately cool during summers. The temperatures range from 4 °C (39 °F) to 20 °C (68 °F) over the year. The average temperature during summer is between 04 °C (39 °F) and 15 °C (59 °F), and between −15 °C (5 °F) and 05 °C (41 °F) in the winter.

The British introduced apple trees and trout, The first apple orchard was set up by Britishers near patlikulh which were earlier not native to Manali flora and fauna. It is said that when apple trees were first planted the fruits were so plentiful that often branches, unable to bear the weight, would collapse. To this day, apple—along with plum and pear—remains the best source of income for the majority of its inhabitants.


Places to See in Manali

Buddhist Monastery

Right opposite to Hotel Snowdrop is Tibetan Monastery is one of the oldest and famous place in Manali. Due to huge number of tibetan peoples settled in Kullu Manali Tibetan Monasteries has been set up.
The main attraction of the monastery is the handicrafts of Tibetan artistry and the carpets that are woven and sold in the monastery. The Gadhan Thekchoking Gompa in Manali was constructed in the year 1969. The architecture of the monastery represents the Tibetan style of architecture designed with hued frescoes. The statue of the Lord Buddha presides in the monastery.
The Gadhan Thekchoking Gompa is situated near the Mall in Manali. The monastery is run by the local people who gather funds through donations.


Hidimba Temple

The Hidimba Devi temple is built around a cave where Hidimba performed mediatation. Hidimba was supposed to be live here with her brother Hidimb, and not much is known about their parents. Born in the Rakshas family, Hidimba vowed to marry one who would defeat her brother Hidimb, who was supposed to be very brave and fearless. During the Pandava's exile, when they visited Manali Bhima, one of the five Pandvas, killed Hidimb. Thus, Hidimba married Bhima, and gave birth to their son Ghatotkacha. The Hidimbi Devi Temple has intricately carved wooden doors and a 24 meters tall wooden "shikhar" or tower above the sanctuary.[2] The tower consists of three square roofs covered with timber tiles and a fourth brass cone-shaped roof at the top. The earth goddess Durga forms the theme of the main door carvings. The temple base is made out of whitewashed, mud-covered stonework. An enormous rock occupies the inside of the temple, only a 7.5 cm (3 inch) tall brass image representing goddess Hidimbi Devi. A rope hangs down in front of the rock,and according to a legend,in bygone days


Naggar Castle

Located in Naggar Town, amidst breathtaking forested hills, the Naggar Castle is a magnificent historical site. Made of stone and wood, this palace served as the residence of Raja Sidh Singh of Kullu. It was built in AD 1460 in an impressive amalgamation of European and Himalayan architecture. Fireplaces, fitting staircases, and magnificent stone and wood works grace the castle's interiors. There are three small shrines within the premises, each holding immense religious importance. As souvenirs, you can take home traditional items like wall hangings, coasters and artefacts bearing imprints of Roerich's paintings from here.

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