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What to See and Do in Manali – a guide to notable attractions and landmarks

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High-up in Himachal Pradesh, surrounded by snowy mountains, pine tree-filled woodland and fruit-laden orchards, this refreshing Indian hill town is a honeymooner’s oasis, with plenty of Indian newlyweds seeking romance in the mountains. Of course, it’s every bit as popular with outdoor enthusiasts as it is with weary travellers seeking some cooling respite from India’s sticky lowlands, with attractions ranging from hiking trails and ski spots to sleepy hillside villages and thermal springs.
Vashisht

 

 

Old Manali isn't the only throwback village which will charm you around these parts. There's also Vashisht, which is slower paced to the point where some visitors end up staying for week after week. It's a great destination to buddy up with fellow explorers, and the nearby Vashisht Springs offer exhilarating refreshment courtesy of Mother Nature. There are separate pools for guys and gals to bask in the hot thermal waters.

 

Manu and Hadimba Temples

 

 

If you fancy something cultural, Manali’s old temples are the perfect places to explore. The ancient carved wooden building of Manu Temple – one of the oldest in the area – is highly decorative, while Hadimba Temple has an unusual, tiered 16th century pagoda-style structure. Despite the four levels, its pointy roof still sits below the tree line in a tranquil pine forest setting.

 

Gadhan Thekchoking Gompa

 

 

The burgeoning Tibetan community is a testament to Manali’s location high-up in the Himalayas. There are a number of monasteries to see during your stay, including Gadhan Thekchoking Gompa. It's conveniently located by the Mall Road, so you can check it out while shopping and admire the vibrant frescoes and carpets, not to mention the impressive Buddha statue.

 

Rohtang Pass

 

 

Part of an ancient trade route across the Pir Panjal range, this mountain pass is open for vehicles in the summer, though braver trekkers can normally cross from May. It's a picture-postcard slice of the Himalayas, and even in the warmer months you can expect thick swathes of gleaming white snow. Adventures on offer include snowmobile rides and skiing.

 

River Beas

 

 

The frothy River Beas passes through Manali, and one look at its surging waters will bring out the rafting enthusiast in anyone. Well, almost anyone: it can be a bit daunting, but braving the river is well worth it for the adrenalin rush. Even if you don't want to take to the water, the sheer beauty of the scenery makes it a memorable outing.

 

Solang Valley

 

Just a 20-minute drive out of Manali town centre you’ll find this popular adventure and winter sports area. Whether you fancy zorbing, paragliding, or hiking when the snow’s melted, or skiing and ice skating during the cold months, the wide open area of this valley provides plenty of space for outdoor thrills and spills.