Nithin Chandran recommends Manali, India
Cradled by the Himalayas, Himachal Pradesh a state in North India is well known for its mountain passes, beautiful valleys and twisty roads. However, in its grips is Manali, a hill station that is sometimes overlooked by tourists visiting the region.
Proudly displaying its culture and heritage, the hill station is named after the ancient Hindu lawgiver Manu, and is still regarded as his abode. Early teachings say that Manu stepped off his ark in Manali to recreate human life after a huge flood had submerged the world. Thus, the hill station is referred to as the “Valley of the Gods”.
The post-1950 flux of Tibetan refugees also means Buddhism is widely practised in the region. The resulting inter-cultural mix makes way for a harmonious living experience for the small town, which consists of about 8,000 people. The hill station is also home to some of the best apples and trout in the country. Introduced to the town by the British centuries ago, the first orchard was set up near Patlikuhal. It is also said that the first apple trees that were planted were so plentiful that often branches, unable to bear the weight, would collapse. To this day, apples – along with plums and pears – remain the best source of income for most inhabitants.
My favourite place
Without a doubt, the Solang Valley is the most sought-after spot in Manali by tourists. If you’re left wondering why, then head out there. The snow-cladded valley has become one of my all-time favourite spots. In the summer, the valley comes alive with green trees.
Manali has become a destination for soul-searching tourists as the hill station offers a historical take on the origins of Hinduism. The temples of Hidimba and Manu, the Manikaran Gurudwara and the Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa Monastery are some of the more renowned places for pilgrims. Manali is also coated with snow for the better part of the year; so recreational activities such as snowboarding, paragliding, backpacking and skiing are offered.
The only thing more brutal than the climate in Manali is the stay. There’s a multitude of hotels around the hill station but there are also huge numbers of tourists. Book your hotels prior to your travel or you run the risk hypothermia.
Buddha, Buddhist prayer beads and Buddhist singing bowls. I still haven’t mastered my bowl, but I’m trying.
Where to stay
To avoid disappointment, book your tickets online. Makemytrip.com has packages for tourists all over the world. Victory Resorts is known to be one of the best hotels to stay. However, early bookings are necessary.