Manali Tourism – Kullu Manali

There are numerous Hindu and Tibetan temples and monasteries in this area. 700 meters from Sarsai, at Dashal village you will come across Gauri Shankar Temple. This is a 12th century monument. You will find apple orchards here. There is a temple called the Manu Maharishi Temple at Old Manali, which is 3 kilometers from Manali. This place is distinguished by its old guesthouses and orchards. The ruins of an old fort known as Manaligarh also lie here. The most celebrated temple here is the Hidimba temple. This is an old temple in a cave and it is devoted to Hidimba Devi. Cedar forests enfold this temple at the foot of the Himalayas. A huge rock jutting out of the ground was venerated as the image of the deity. This was created in the year 1553. A Buddhist monastery that functions solely on charity from the locals and by garnering money selling carpets made at the workshop within the establishment.

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The topmost point on the Manali-Keylong road is called Rohtang Pass. Rohtang Pass is a popular place for tourists. Being as high as 13050 feet, this spot is cold even in summer. Set amid the peaks that reach out to the sky, this spot is like a gem set in a ring. You will find a small lake called Dassaur Lake in the vicinity. Rohtang Pass is closed in the winters due to heavy snowfall. About 16 kilometers from Manali on the way to Rohtang Pass is a most enchanting sight you will ever come across. Behold your eyes for you will see the most mesmerizing Rahalla Falls at a height of 2501 meters above sea level. Traveling 13 kilometers northwest from Manali will bring you to Solang Pass, which is also known as Snow Point. There is a 300 meter ski lift here. Snow topped mountains and impressive glaciers are the attractions here.

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Initially Jagatsukh was the capital of Manali. Here you will find a temple devoted to Gayatri Devi that was constructed by the Pandavas.

In the Parvati Valley, which is about 86 kilometers from Manali, is the charming Manikaran. The chilly waters of the Parvati River and hot water springs run in tandem, here.

There’s a charming little hamlet called Vashisht 3 kilometers from Manali. Natural sulphur springs will greet you here. These springs are known for their medicinal properties. Modern bathhouses have tapped into these springs for use in Turkish style showers. You will also see a pair of quaint old temples in Vashisht. Obviously these temples are dedicated to Maharishi Vashisht.

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Lord Brahma had dispatched seven sages or seven celestial teachers to this planet to offer direction to human beings for thousands of years. One of them was Rishi Vashist, who was the most gifted and astute of them all. For thousands of years he assisted as royal priest and advisor to several kings. Vashisht means great in the Sanskrit language. The rest of the Rishis and Gods too respected him. He was humble despite his vast knowledge. He could be considered a super sage or Brahmarishi.

Traveling to Kullu Manali

Kullu and Manali towns can be located in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. Kullu is derived from Kulanthpitha, which accurately means the end of the habitable world. Himachal Pradesh means an icy territory. The river Beas runs through Kullu Valley. The average height at which Kullu is situated is 4469 feet, while Manali can be found to the north of Kullu at an altitude of 6398 feet. These hill stations fall in the Himalayan ranges.

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Devotion ranks high in the town of Kullu. An idol of Lord Raghunathji had been moved from Ayodhya and established here in the 17th century by King Jagat Singh. He positioned the idol on his throne as atonement and ever since then it came to be known as the presiding deity of the valley. Valley of Gods is the title by which Kullu Valley is known. Dussehra is celebrated over a period of seven days here to commemorate Lord Ram’s triumph over the evil king Ravana. Dussehra could fall in the month of October or November.

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Manali was only a tiny town that was used as a trade route to Ladakh in the past. The trip to Ladakh began in Manali and continued with Karakoram Pass and Yarkand proceeding to Khotan in the Tarim Basin. Manali is deemed the home of the seven sages or Saptarishis as we call them in Hindi. Manali derives its name from Lord Manu, the Brahmin lawgiver. Manali means the abode of Manu. Manu is said to have alighted his ark in Manali so he could restore human life following a massive flood that had inundated the world. A temple dedicated to him called the Manu Maharishi is located in old Manali village. The Hindu scriptures believe Manu to be the first man in nature, and this temple to be the only one dedicated to him.

From the chronicles known, initially the valley was sparingly populated by the itinerant hunters called rakshas. Subsequently the shepherds arrived from the Kangra valley and took up agriculture over here. Kullu Valley has an exclusive caste called the naur and nar, which are believed to be the earliest inhabitants on this expanse. Later history acquaints us with the fact that the British brought in apples and trout to Manali. Even today most of the inhabitants survive on income from apples, plum and pear.

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There are several ways to get into Kullu and Manali. If you are approaching Kullu and Manali by road, there are several inter state and Himachal tourism buses and taxis to bring you in. From Delhi it takes approximately 18 hours to cover the distance of 550 kilometers. Buses can also be availed from Ambala, Dharamsala, Leh and Shimla. To get in by train, you have several choices. You could get off at Ambala cantonment, which is at a distance of 200 kilometers while Chandigarh is at a distance of 250 kilometers. From Ambala you need to take a bus that will take you 10 hours to arrive at Manali. Traveling by air is the best and most comfortable option as there is an airport at a town 10 kilometers from Kullu. It takes two hours to drive in. Several airlines offer services to Manali.

As far as shopping is concerned, there’s the usual assortment of knick knacks that one can get hold of. Souvenirs such name plates, key chains and other little things which could be etched with words of your choice. Sweaters, blankets and shawls in wool are good buys.

Map Of Shimla

Below is the map of Shimla. Use the scroller to enlarge.
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Videos Of Shimla

Toy Train Ride On The Shimla Kalka Lane:

This video shows the first few and the last few boogies of the train as it chugs away. You can also see nice greenery as it passes the valley when crossing the bridge.

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Shimla covered with snow:

This one contains beautiful pics of places on Shimla completely covered with snow. Worth watching!

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Jakhu Hanuman Temple:

This video shows the Jakhu Temple and its surroundings, as well as an aarti performed live.

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Fairs and Festivals in Shimla.

Another attraction here is the festivals that are held every year. The Renuka Lake fair is held at Sirmaur, which is to the south of Shimla. This fair is celebrated to honor the immortality of Renuka and her son on the shores of the lake, which is shaped in the form of a sleeping woman. People from the surrounding villages arrive in droves for this celebration. Part of the ceremony is taking dips in the lake to cleanse oneself of impurities. Shivratri too is celebrated with great zeal at Mandi in February/March.

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The Shimlaites also celebrate the “Shimla Summer Festival” which is held every year during the peak tourist season, which lasts for 3 to 4 days only. Popular singers from all around the country gather and perform on the Ridge. In fact, some government functions and other local celebrations are also celebrated on the Ridge during New Year’s Eve.

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Other than the town of Shimla there are several places of interest around Shimla. All the roads leading out of Shimla are lined with orchards. The hills are covered in pine and cedar forests, contributing to the fantastic sights of wide floored valleys and the Himalayas in all their majestic glory. Some of these places around Shimla that one could visit are Chail, Craignano, Kandaghat, Hatkoi, Narkanda, Bihargaon, Kasauli, Chadwick Falls, Prospect Hill, Tattapani Chuddoil, Shiharo, Sanjauli, Kharal, Kotgarh, Rampur and Barog.

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Places to visit in Shimla

There are lots of lovely places to visit in Shimla. Jakhu temple is dedicated to Hanuman. This temple is situated at an altitude of 2455 meters. It offers a superb panorama over the surrounding valleys right up to the snow capped peaks. It takes about 45 minutes to walk from the Mall to the temple. The temple is aptly surrounded by a huge number of monkeys. There are many interesting trails in Shimla besides the promenade along the Mall and the walk to the Jakhu temple. Some of the other scenic spots are summer hill (1893 meters) is 5 kilometers away and the walk there is pleasant and offers plenty of shade. Chadwick Falls stand at a height of 1586 meters but its true beauty only shows during the monsoons. Chadwick falls is 7 kilometers away from Shimla. Prospect hill is much higher up at a height of 2145 meters. It is 5 kilometers away from Shimla. This hill is all the rage for picnics. You will come across a temple over here called Kamna devi temple.

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Sankat Mochan (1875 meters) is yet another temple devoted to Hanuman and offers you a splendid view of Shimla. Tara devi (1851 meters) is a temple sitting on top of a hill. One could get there by rail or by road. It is at a distance of 7 kilometers from Shimla. Wildflower Hall at a height of 2593 meters is at a distance of 13 kilometers en route to Kufri. This used to be the residence of the Indian commander-in-chief Lord Kitchener. The colossal mansion you see standing there today is not the original one. It was damaged in a fire in 1994, and it has now been reconstructed as a luxury hotel. A spectacular vista of Shimla and the mountain peaks of Pir Panja and Badrinath ranges greet you here. Mashobra (2149 meters) is great place for a picnic. Here you could go for a nice walk in the forest. It is 14 kilometers away from Shimla.

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About 1 kilometer west of the center of Shimla you will find the Rashtrapati Niwas on observatory hill. This was previously known as the residence of the British Viceroy. This large building has six floors and an opulent reception and dining halls. Scenic gardens surround this building. Another place to visit is the Himachal State Museum. If you walk down from the church on the Mall, it would take you an hour to get to this quaint museum which houses an unassuming collection of stone statues from other parts of Himachal Pradesh. Take note that the museum is closed on Mondays not Sundays as one might presume.

The world’s highest cricket ground is in Shimla. You will find hot water springs in Tattapani. You could go on a picnic to Craignano, which has a rest house on a hilltop.

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While Shimla does not manufacture much of anything for the tourists they do sell handicrafts from the other parts of the state. Garments and textiles are freely available at the Mall. These woolens come from places such as Ludhiana and other places around. If you are looking for something in wood, the best place to visit would be Lakkar Bazaar. The soft wood common to this region is the source for the wooden items on sale here. The shops here also have natural herbs with medicinal properties on sale here. In conclusion, Shimla is best for those wanting to unwind or to get a taste of the outdoors and nature’s wonders rather than a shopping paradise.

Journey to Shimla

Shimla is the capital of Himachal Pradesh as it stands today. Prior to the Independence, Shimla was the most important hill station. It was the summer capital of India during the hot season. Although Shimla was first discovered in 1819, it wasn’t until 1822 that the first permanent house was constructed here. It was many years later that Shimla came to be known as the summer capital. The bridge parties, balls and parades in Shimla were legendary.

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Shimla is at an altitude of 2130 meters. Shimla is a sprawling locale whose suburbs adhere to the slopes. The Mall runs along a ridge. The Mall is lined with majestic English style houses. You find some panoramic views of the valley overlooking the Mall and mountain crests adorning both sides. Steep streets lead away from the ridge where you will find colorful local bazaars on the southern slope.

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There are plenty of theories with regards to the source of the name. If the natives are to be believed, the name came from Shyamali Devi who was the re-incarnation of Goddess Kali. The natives of Himachal Pradesh are called Pahadis.  The languages spoken in Shimla are Pahadi, Punjabi, Hindi and English.

Several modes of transport are available to travel to Shimla. You could get there either by air, train or road. The Jubbarbatti airport is at a distance of 23 kilometers from Shimla. Shimla is connected by air with several major cities making it very accessible. Some of these cities are Delhi, Chandigarh, Mumbai and Jammu. Traveling from Delhi is a four hour journey up to Kalka by train. From Kalka one needs to change to the narrow gauge track and take the mountain train to Shimla. There are a total of 103 tunnels en route to Shimla. The incredible view this journey offers while cruising and chugging up the mountain at a leisurely pace is out of this world. There are two types of toy trains plying up to Shimla, one of them is a single car which has a glass roof presenting an enchanting outlook and the regular multi coach train. Conversely you could take the road and travel by bus or taxi. One could avail of AC coaches, deluxe and semi deluxe buses from cities such as Chandigarh, Kalka, Amritsar, Jammu, Delhi and other adjoining states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana.

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One could enjoy all sorts of activities in Shimla. Leisurely walks in the evenings are the trend here. In addition to the aesthetic value of the Victorian architecture you inevitably wind up making new friends or even bumping into people you know. The Mall is a seven kilometer stretch of road and the highest point here is called Scandal point where you will find the statue of Lala Lajpatrai.

You also have the option of playing golf at the Naldhera Golf Course. Lord Curzon designed this 9-hole golf course in the 19th century. For people who would like to experience ice skating, there is an ice skating rink, which operates from November to March. Kufri, which is situated at a height of 2501 meters above sea level, has been acknowledged for skiing, but due to the irregularity of snowfall in recent years, Himachal Pradesh tourism has ceased operations now.

Some of the most stimulating and testing mountaineering opportunities in the world are offered by the Himalayas. Camping, Horse riding, Safaris, Trekking, Bungee Jumping, Yak riding, and Para Gliding are some of the sports you can enjoy in Shimla.

The best season to visit would be from May to July or from September to November. If you are interested in catching the snowfall, then you the ideal time to travel there is between the months of December and March.

During the months of March and April you will find clear skies with occasional rain and thunderstorms. The temperature ranges from 10 degrees Celsius to 20 degrees Celsius. During summer, which is the month of May and June, the weather is usually clear but the atmosphere could be smoky thanks to the forest fires. The temperature ranges between 16 degrees Celsius to 28 degrees Celsius. The monsoons arrive in the months of July, August and September. The temperature is between 13 degrees Celsius to 20 degrees Celsius and it is cool and humid with nonstop showers. Autumn comes around in the months of October and November. The days are generally bright while the evenings are cold. The temperature ranges between 10 degrees Celsius to 23 degrees Celsius. The winter season falls in the months of December, January and February. There is frequent snowfall and the weather is normally dull. The temperature could range from -7 degrees Celsius to 10 degrees Celsius.

Map of Dalhousie

Below is the map of Dalhousie, in Himachal Pradesh. Use the scroller to zoom as per your preference.
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Videos of Dalhousie

Scenery

A short video of the snow covered mountain peaks and other scenery of Dalhousie.

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Chamba

Town Dalhousie, one of beautiful Hill stations of Northern India in Himalayas was founded in 1854 by Lord Dalhousie while India was under British control as colony. Lord Dalhousie made this town as Summer Capital of India being a cold place to match the British nature of climate. But later on in about 1910, there was a high magnitude earthquake which rocked complete belt of Himalayas and Dalhousie was badly damaged. It was found that Dalhousie is at seismic zone. And as such the idea of making it summer capital was dropped and Shimla was selected on its place for the summer capital of British. Dalhousie now is a very busy hill station in summer and during snow fall season. Otherwise it is a calm city and the scenery around is magnificent. There is mainly an army cantonment.

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Khajjiar

Khajjiar sits on a small plateau with a small stream-fed lake in the middle that has been covered over with weeds. It is surrounded by green meadows and dense forests. It is about 6500 ft. (1981m) above sea level in the foothills of the Dhauladhar ranges of the Western Himalayas and snowy peaks can be seen in the distance.

Khajjiar is often called the Mini Switzerland of Himachal Pradesh and was officially baptized thus by the Swiss Ambassador on July 7, 1992. It has a rare combination of three ecosystems: lake, pasture and forest, all in one place.

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Misty Dalhousie

This was shot at Dalhousie in 2007. The serene environment still moves soul for searching for that eternal peace and tranquility, nature challenges the basic existence of human beings and their endeavors….good food for thought.

Entertainment

Watch on as this group have fun in a huge transparent balloon ball.

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Places to visit at Dalhousie

Some of the best churches are found here in Dalhousie. Saint Patrick’s church at Balun, Saint John’s church at Gandhi Chowk, Saint Andrews church and Saint Francis’ church at Subash Chowk are perfect examples of the British jurisdiction in the days of the Raj.

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Saint Patrick’s church was built in 1909. The money to build this church was raised by donations from the officers of the British army. Saint John’s church was built in 1863. It is inspired by the Victorian style. Reverend John H Pratt was its first pastor. Saint Andrews church is more commonly known as the Church of Scotland. Saint Francis’ church is a Catholic church as opposed to the other churches, which are Protestant.

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If you are interested in shopping, you should head for the Tibetan Market, which sells mostly Chinese products.

You should also visit Khajjiar. It is known as the Switzerland of India. There is a spring in the center of a lush valley.

Within the precincts of this region, you will come across the Kalatop-Khajjiar and other national forests and wildlife sanctuaries. The ghoral and the black bear are found here.

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If you want the feeling of standing on top of the world you should proceed to Upper Bakrota. This is the highest place in Dalhousie. Here you will see the army barracks and numerous estates. Bakrota Walk surrounds the area. You could go on a trek here. Some of the mansions here are worth visiting, but unfortunately they are private and entry is restricted.

One of the hills here has no trees and it has the appearance of being bald, giving it the name Ganji Pahadi, which quite literally means bald hill. If you are looking for an enjoyable walk, this is the place to go.

For those who are interested in museums, they should head for Chamba.

There are several spots you can visit for a picnic. Panchpula is a charming spot, where you can take a picnic basket with you.

The people of the Chamba Valley look forward to the Minjal fair every year. This fair goes on for a week and it is celebrated in the month of August. Minjar is an offering of fruit, coconut, few sheaves of paddy and a coin enclosed in a piece of red cloth. The Minjar is offered to the river Ravi.