India, Manali: A Week at the Hippie Town of Himachal

Situated in between the Dhauladhar ranges and the snow-covered slopes of the Pir Panjal, Manali is undoubtedly one of the most visited hill stations in India. With jaw-dropping surroundings, green forests, meadows covered with flowers, blue streams, and a constant fragrance of pines, The Valley of Gods -Manali is blessed with scenic beauty. From old museums to temples, hippie villages to upscale streets, trekking trails to waterfalls, Manali has every reason for the tourists to be at. With a lot of planning, curiosity, and excitement in mind, we decided to visit Manali. And guess what, we were blown away as soon as we reached. The city, covered with snowfall was still blessed with vibrant colors and lively tourists.

Accommodation at Surabhi Hotel

We stayed at Surabhi Hotel, Vashisht village, which is approximately 6 km away from Manali, located at the banks of the Beas River. You can reach Vashisht village by Auto by paying Rs.50. With clean roads, tall eucalyptus trees, small food joints, local market, and local cafes serving delicious food, Vashisht Village in Manali is a peaceful place to be. That’s the reason why most of the foreign tourists favored staying here. To my observation, Old Manali is also preferred by the foreign tourists, the backpackers and solo travelers than the downtown Manali. Thanks to the constant snowfall (all night) for two days, we could witness The Switzerland of India. A bonfire at the terrace of the hotel was icing on the cake for us. The next morning, I walked down from the Vashisht temple to the main road covering the local market. I could hear the Beas River water flowing at the background. The road was slippery and scenic with a thick layer of ice all around. The village had a soothing effect. The houses, shops and even the smallest hotels in Vashista still carry the traditional architecture of Manali. Tourists were overwhelmed with the snowfall and were enjoying their stroll in the village itself. So were we!   When in Manali, Vashisht is a must visit place for the tourists. It offers everything that a backpacker would ask for.

India: Best Time to Visit Manali

Weather in Manali plays an important role as it rises or decreases the level of emotions in tourists. One can anyways pack their bags and visit Manali but you should be aware of the best time to visit Manali and also about the off-season. Weather in Manali behaves crazy and even changes at a fraction of time. Here in Manali, the mountains carry their own charisma. The monsoon season in Manali, between July and August, attracts only some adventurers; however, they are advised to travel at their own risk of facing an accidental landslide. In summers, Manali is jam-packed with tourists from all countries; the backpackers, leisure travelers, solo travelers, the honeymooners and also the trekkers. Having said that, the best time to visit Manali is immediately after the receding monsoon! Weather in Manali during September and October is mild as the temperature moves between a minimum of 10 degrees and a maximum of 20 degrees. After the monsoon, many new destinations become wide open for the trekkers. Just after the winters, the period between March and June offers a soothing climate, when tourists spread their wings of romance, love, and lust. During March and April, the temperature in Manali stays between 7 and 15 degrees. However, the temperature during May and June rises between 15 and 25 degrees.

India, Manali: Most Visited Places

Solang Valley

Solang Valley is one of the most visited places in Manali. The upward drive towards Solang is as picturesque as the surrounding mountains. Not only are the surrounding mountains of Solang Valley breathtaking and picturesque, but the slopes too are popular for skiing spots, particularly during the winters. Ah! This place turns into heaven in summers for the gliders. If you are an adventurer, Solang Valley is a must visit place in Manali as it offers heart-pumping activities such as horse-riding and zorbing.

Rohtang Pass

With approximately more than 25 lakh visitors each year, Rohtang Pass undoubtedly becomes one of the most visited places in Manali. With twisting turning roads that would keep you at the edge of your seat, Rohtang Pass stands out as one of the most scenic places to visit in Manali. Rohtang Pass connects the Kullu and Lahaul valleys and is famous among trekkers, backpackers, nature lovers, adventurers, and photographers. Rohtang Pass is an ideal destination for skiing or mountain biking as it is surrounded by snow-capped peaks.

Hadimba Temple

Hadimba Temple is an example of art, beautifully crafted in wood, located between the snow-covered forest hills of Manali. Dedicated to Hidimba Devi, the mother of Ghatothkach and wife of Bhima, this temple is surrounded by Ceder forests. With cone-shaped roofs, crafted walls and wooden doorways, the architecture of Hadimba temple is different than any other temples in Manali.

Naggar Castle

Manali is home to a small piece of history in the form of the Naggar castle. Situated amidst the breathtaking forests, the Naggar Castle is clearly a stunning historical creation. Earlier, it was the residence of Raja Sidh Singh of Kullu. The Naggar castle is a combination of European and traditional Himalayan architecture. With royal fireplaces, beautifully articulated staircases and picturesque wood and stone art, this castle is a must-visit place for those who want to explore the history in Manali.

India, Manali: Top Places to Eat

Johnson’s Café

Located near the Mall road, Johnson’s Café is well-known for its seating and the wood oven-baked trout fish. The feeling of being happy will always strike when you are at this café.

Café 1947

Situated on the banks of river Manaslu and surrounded by tall pine trees, Café 1947 is the first ever music café in Manali. Trout fish and pizzas are the dishes to try at this café. Definitely, one of the top places to eat in Manali!

Honey Hut

Located near the Mall road, Honey Hut is the place to be if you want to end your meal with a dessert with honey as a sweetener.


Again, located near Mall Road, Chopsticks serves finger-licking-good Tibetan cuisine, which is impossible to miss. This reasonably priced hotel also serves beers and fruit wines that can be enjoyed in chilly evenings. Amidst charming streams, mountain slopes, the freshness of pine trees and the banks of the Beas River, Manali welcomes thousands of visitors every year. Drawing thousands of wanderers from across the world, Manali has also become a business route to Ladakh. One of the most scenic hill stations in India, Manali, should always be there in your diary as a travel destination!

Manas Wakharkar

Writer, Traveller, Marathoner