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Best Hill Stations near Manali: A Place Cradled between Clouds & Snow

14 mins. read

Manali is a fairy-tale-like destination thronged by tourists from all over India. Tourists come here to experience the hidden cottages, linger around the scent of pine trees, take a yak ride through the snowflakes and seek privacy with friends and family. Manali is cherished as a dreamland for witnessing the highest mountain range in the country. Once upon a time, Manali was seen as the backpacking capital of India, wherein the dirt track from Kullu to Manali was popularly known as the hippie trail. If you have a heart for Manali and are doodling out plans to visit this wonderland or booking a Manali tour package, then we have a guide for you to visit this wonderful hill station in Manali. There are a whole lot of places to visit in and around the area.

Popular Hill Stations Near Manali

Some of the popular places to visit near Manali include: -

  • Kullu
  • Manikaran
  • Kasol
  • Tirthan Valley
  • Naggar
  • Malana

Kullu: Riverside Delight and Cultural Riches

Approximately 40 kilometres from Manali, Kullu hill station beckons with its riverside charm and vibrant culture. The caves close to the mountain passes were inhabited by both Buddhists and Hindus. Honeymooners are attracted to the towering Deodar trees, apple orchards, rivers and lip-smacking food joints. Beginner mountaineers can walk via Deo Tibba, Hanuman Tibba, and the Beas Kund region for a fun-filled walk through the hill station in Manali, India. Explore traditional marketplaces, admire the architectural beauty of Bhuntar Naggar Castle, and take a thrilling white-water rafting journey on the Beas River. A fun fact is that Kullu has inspired films like ‘Jab We Met’ and ‘Yeh Jawani hai Deewani’ to be caught on camera. It's the perfect blend of adventure and cultural immersion.

Manikaran: Soothing Hot Springs and Spiritual Retreat

A short drive from Manali leads to Manikaran, a spiritual retreat famed for its hot springs. This idyllic high-altitude town is renowned for its hot springs, religious significance, and breathtaking natural beauty. Guru Nanak travelled to Manikaran with Bhai Mardana, one of his disciples. He was sent by Guru Nanak to gather food in preparation for the establishment of a langar, or communal kitchen. Several people gave food items, but they lacked a fire to prepare the meal. At that moment, a hot spring materialised instead of the stone that Guru Nanak had instructed Mardana to lift. Yes, you heard it right! The place has a hot spring right inside the Gurudwara.

Kasol: The Hippie Haven of Parvati Valley

Kasol is a popular hill station near Manali known to serve hot mushroom Thukpas in the morning and end the day with apple tea. This hill station in Manali, India is called the ‘Mini Israel’ of India by tourists, a laid-back destination nestled in the Parvati Valley. Embrace the eclectic hippie culture, explore vibrant cafes, and embark on scenic hikes along the River. Stroll over to the settlement of Chalal, situated on the other side of the Parvati River. The route passes through pine forests, and you'll feel as though you've travelled back in time. There are a lot of cafes, campgrounds, and eateries along the riverbank. Kasol offers a unique fusion of nature and bohemian charm. With a loudspeaker at the top of the table, you would find a bunch of foreigners and Indians dancing to the beat.

Tirthan Valley: Serenity Off the Beaten Path

For those seeking seclusion and tranquillity, Tirthan Valley provides an off-the-beaten-path retreat. Surrounded by lush greenery and pristine landscapes, this hidden gem offers a peaceful escape from crowded tourist destinations. There are many hiking paths in Tirthan Valley, ranging in difficulty from moderate to difficult. The Tirthan Valley Trek, the Jalori Pass Trek, and the Serolsar Lake Trek are three well-liked treks. This is a great place for camping, fishing, and river crossing for visitors. Those who want to know more about the Manali hill station can visit the indigenous communities of Gaddis and the Kullus. The best part is that this hill station near Manali, India is known for Trout fishing. Anglers from all over the world try their hand at catching themselves a fish.

Naggar: Heritage and Scenic Beauty

Explore the historical town of Naggar, known for its heritage charm and stunning landscapes. Pay a visit to the Naggar Castle, an architectural marvel, and soak in the serene ambience that permeates this quaint town. The place feels gorgeous through the Nicholas Roerich Art Gallery, which is dedicated to the Russian painter who fell in love with the area. Get used to the royal residences of the rulers of Kullu, the Gauri Shankar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Lovely Jana waterfall, and the Myriad of ancient architectural temples. Nagar proclaims the perfect spot for offbeat hill stations near Kullu Manali.

Malana: Ancient Mystique in the Himalayas

For a unique experience, venture to Malana, known for its ancient customs and distinct way of life. The best place to visit among the hill stations in Manali, has maintained its reputation as a remote, enigmatic location despite an increase in travellers and hikers. Get accustomed to the unique language and culture of the Malana tradition. Engage with the local culture, explore the mysterious village, and witness a way of life that feels untouched by time. The village's charm is enhanced by the neighbouring Malana River, and its tranquil ambience.

Places to Visit in Manali

Here are 7 places to visit in Manali: -

Old Manali Charm: Cultural Exploration

Wander through the narrow lanes of Old Manali, where traditional Himachali architecture meets a bohemian vibe. A bridge separates Old Manali from Manali, which beholds a beautiful village hidden beneath a vast coverage of apple orchards. When you enter old Manali it feels like the place has its vibe, which feels neither Indian nor foreign. Explore the Manu Temple, and the charm of centuries-old buildings, and soak in the artistic ambiance of cafes and shops. Old Manali is a cultural treasure waiting to be discovered. On one side we have the locals and their sublime village life, and on the other, the place is influenced by fast-paced cafes, tourists, activities, and local cuisine.

Hadimba Devi Temple: Where Tradition Meets Serenity

Pay homage to the local deity at Hadimba Devi Temple, a wooden marvel surrounded by cedar forests. The legends have it that Hadimba, the wife of Bhima, one of the five Pandavas featured in the Indian epic, Mahabharata, is worshipped here. When the Pandavas were exiled from their kingdom, they resided in the Kullu, Manali, hill station. What’s more! Admire the intricate woodwork and immerse yourself in the spiritual serenity of this ancient temple. The temple is crafted with elaborate carvings portraying the stories of the Mahabharata and the local folklore. The lush greenery and peaceful ambience make it a perfect retreat. You feel both physically and spiritually rejuvenated at this stunning spot.

Rohtang Pass: A Snowy Wonderland

Rohtang Pass is the most captivating natural delight in India. Situated at an altitude of 13,050 feet, it provides a mesmerising view of the Spiti Valley home to the famous Pin Valley National Park and many other Buddhist monasteries. Rohtang Pass plays a divide between the Hindus in Kullu and the Buddhists in Lahaul and Spiti Valleys. Stop by the origin of the Beas River, a revered location for Hindus due to its accessibility from the Rohtang Pass. Indulge in snow activities, from skiing to snowboarding, and marvel at the breathtaking vistas of the surrounding peaks. That’s not all! The twin peak of Gaypan, renowned for its expansive vista and serene ambience, and the beautiful Sonapani Glacier are located just beyond the Rohtang Pass. A must-visit place for those seeking an adrenaline rush amidst pristine white landscapes.

Solang Valley: Adventure Awaits

Snow Valley or Solang is popularly known for offering majestic views of the glaciers and snow-capped mountains. It's one of the favourite hotspots for trekking amongst tourists. Glide through the sky with paragliding, feel the rush of adrenaline with ziplining, or hop onto a thrilling ATV ride. Solang Valley transforms into a vibrant playground for both adventure seekers and nature lovers. Visitors can experience the Winter Skiing Festival in Solang organised every year with activities including Zorbing, horse riding and snow motorbike rides offered for the entertainment of tourists. The advent of summer reveals a green cover and resplendent lakes, which is revealed by the melting of snow. It feels like visiting a whole new season.

Beas River: Riverside Bliss

Experience the soothing melodies of nature on the banks of the Beas River. Enjoy a stroll along the river, try your hand at trout fishing, or simply relax with a picnic against the backdrop of the Himalayas. The source of the Beas River, sometimes called Beas Rishi, is located to the right of the Rohtang Pass. Maharishi Vyas, the renowned scholar and author of the Mahabharata, practised meditation here. The Beas River offers a serene escape for those seeking tranquillity. Before emptying into the Arabian Sea, this river not only quenches the thirst of many local tourists but also that of the fields in Pakistan and Punjab. From a clear, blue-flowing mountain river to an awesome torrent during the monsoon, it surely needs your attention.

Mall Road: Shop and Stroll

Manali local sightseeing is incomplete without indulging in some leisurely moments at Mall Road. Explore the vibrant markets, shop for local handicrafts, and savour the flavours of Himachali cuisine in charming cafes. Mall Road is not just a shopping destination; it's a cultural experience in itself. Tourists flock in to visit the sprawling hotels, restaurants, and shopping hubs, or go on a shopping spree to buy Angora wool-made Shawls, woollen clothes, Kulluvi Caps, sweaters etc. from the local artisans. Stop by the food joints that deliver local cuisines like Siddu, Chana Madra, Chha Ghost, Khatta, Tudkiya Bhat, and Aktori, a local buckwheat sweet dish that is succulent to most travellers to the place.

Jogini Falls: A Place of Sublimity

A gem-blue stream cascading atop the mountain creates a soothing mist in the base areas of the waterfall. With a staggering height of 160 feet, the water crashes onto the mountains, which flow into the valley. The area around the river is said to be sacred among the locals. The place is known to be a holy Shakti Peeth and a place of feminine power. Trekkers can walk to the base of the waterfall, which will take about an hour to reach. The whole trek will be about admiring the village life and scenic beauty of this hill station in Manali.

Things to Do for Couples in Manali

Top things to do for couples for a romantic day out in Manali:

famous places in Manali

Private Retreats: Cosy Nests in Nature's Embrace

Manali boasts a plethora of boutique hotels, resorts, and secluded cottages offering privacy and serenity. Book a Manali honeymoon package from a reputed travel company that helps you and your partner unwind in luxurious comfort, sharing intimate moments with only the Himalayas as witnesses.

Old Manali Strolls: A Journey through Time and Love

Step into the charming lanes of Old Manali, where every cobblestone whispers tales of the past. Hand in hand, explore the ancient architecture, vibrant markets, and quaint cafes. Old Manali invites you to share stolen glances and quiet conversations. This popular shopping area is lined with a tonne of boutiques and antique stores, where you may discover some great home decorations.

Candlelit Dinners on Mall Road: Culinary Delights for Two

Mall Road, adorned with charming cafes and restaurants, sets the stage for intimate dinners. Savour Himachali cuisine under the soft glow of candles, revelling in the delectable flavours and the romantic ambience of Mall Road.

Hampta Pass Trek: A Journey of Togetherness

For the adventurous duo, the Hampta Pass trek presents a perfect blend of challenge and romance. Travel through lush meadows, conquer high mountain passes, and share the exhilaration of reaching new heights - both in your relationship and at this hill station in Manali.

Weather in Manali

  • Average annual temperature: 4 °C - 26 °C
  • Summer temperature: 10 °C - 26 °C
  • Winter temperature: 15 °C - 12 °C

What to Pack?

  • During Summer & Spring months - Summer clothes + essentials & for evenings light jacket or windcheaters.
  • During winters – Pack heavy woollens, and warmers, plus trekking boots, sunscreen, a poncho, comfortable walking shoes & camera to freeze the memories.

If you are planning a Manali tour from Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, or Bangalore to witness the breathtaking sights of the snow-covered landscape, Manali is a destination that every tourist simply must see. Not only is Manali itself stunning, but nearby towns and villages like Solang and Nagar are also well worth visiting as a great place to escape the city.

January 15, 2024

Author

Veena World
Veena World

We are an Indian travel company founded in 2013 and excel at domestic and international tour packages including guided group tours, specialty tours, customized holidays, corporate MICE travel, inbound travel and destination weddings.

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