Manali was our next destination after Shimla and the most important place on our Himachal tour itinerary. We had planned 3 days of sightseeing and adventure in and around the hill station. It took us more than 6 hours to reach Manali from Shimla. The river Beas keeps you company the entire journey. We made a quick stop at Kullu to shop some souvenirs and warm clothes. Kullu is famous for river rafting and we could see many rafters and boats transported from one point to another.
You know you have approached Manali, the abode of Manu when you see snow-capped mountains around. It was close to 8PM when we got to our hotel and the sun was setting, setting still.
The following morning we started out excursion by visiting Hadimba temple.
Hadimba temple is one of its kind. The temple is built with wood and has intricate carvings. The inside of the temple seems to be a rock cave where Hadimba, a demon, wife of Bhimasena, the second Pandava from the Hindu epic Mahabharatha, is worshiped. What catches your attention while you are in this temple is the numerous antlers hanging on the outer wall of the temple. A short distance from this temple is another temple dedicated to Ghatotkacha, the son of Hadimba. Ghatotkacha’s temple is not a regular temple but a tree. We could see many weapons hung on the tree trunk as an offering to the warrior Ghatotkacha. Adjacent to the temple is a park with pine grove, peaceful place to spend some time and get some beautiful pictures clicked.
Next up, we headed to the club house. From the name we didn’t know what to expect and when we got there we learnt that we can do some adventure sports like river crossing! Club House is situated on the banks of river Beas. You have to traverse between the two banks where the rope is anchored and the harness you are made to wear is latched to the rope. With the help of a pulley you traverse to the other side of the bank. Half way through you are made to turn and the instructors start shaking the rope so you go up and down as if on a trampoline, your feet splashing into ice-cold water flowing below. Pure joy!
The Clubhouse also has go-karting, boating and few other sports for children and adults. It also houses shopping complex and restaurants. There are also eateries offering local savoury. While we enjoyed our yummy chaats, we witnessed a performance by the locals.
Other tourist attractions we visited in Manali –
Van Vihar National Park – A beautiful forest area off Mall road full of deodar trees, swings for children to play and an artificial pond for boating. Good to take a stroll, relax, click some pictures, and breathe in some fresh air.
A short distance from Van Vihar is a monastery, right in the heart of a busy city, ideal to meditate and seek inner peace. You can shop for beautiful handicrafts that are made by Tibetan people, in and around the monastery. Not just shopping you can also taste some authentic momos and tea in the market close to the monastery.
Vashisht Temple –
Vashisht temple is reachable from Manali by a short drive up a slanting road of Old Manali. The temple is dedicated to one of the seven sages of Hindu mythology. The temple is built in a traditional style with lots of intricate wood carvings. It is also most popular for hot springs which is believed to have medicinal value. There are separate bathing arrangements for men and women. We only dipped our legs in the lukewarm water of the step pond. Most shops in near the temple sell woolen clothes. There are many cafes and dining places all along the main street.
Manikaran is a pilgrimage centre for Hindus and Sikhs, which has many temples and a gurudwara. We visited Manikaran on our way back to Chandigarh from Manali. It was a three-hour long journey and a struggle to get there as the roads were very bad. Nonetheless, we didn’t want to miss this place for its well-known hot springs. My first experience of a hot water spring was in Vashisht temple and I expected pretty much the same in Manikaran but was completely taken aback to see the really, really hot water springs at so many places, one each at every temple that’s there in Manikaran. The water is so hot that potatoes can be cooked in it!
There are many hot baths for men and women, around the temples and Gurudwara of Manikaran. The hot springs is said to possess medicinal powers due to its sulphur content. Many pilgrims take a dip in the holy water to wash away their sins and others seek its curative qualities.
Never miss a langar (community dining) when you visit a Gurudwara. The very idea of treating everyone equally, without the distinction of class or background appeals to me. It seems the pulses used in langar (community kitchen) is cooked in the hot water springs.
Manali is an evergreen destination not just for honeymooners but also backpackers. You’ll love it in summer but can witness the snowy side of it if you visit in winter. It only depends on how well you can handle freezing temperatures.
I will be writing different posts on the other places I visited in Manali for better readability. Thank you for taking time and visiting my blog!
Categories: Himachal Pradesh, India, Travelogue
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