Himachal Pradesh has its own unique way of greeting the New Year: Himachal Winter Carnival. Celebrating its cultural heritage and traditions, every year in the month of January and February the state organizes a carnival in the majestic city of Manali. What a great way to kick start the New Year than by being thankful for what you have! Isn’t it? Let us learn more about this extravagant festival in Himachal Pradesh.
Himachal started organizing the Winter Carnival back in 1977 and now after almost three decades the festival has become bigger and better! The number of activities has increased and the festival has gained in popularity amongst foreign tourists as well. The dates for the Himachal Winter Carnival 2019 have been fixed as 2nd Jan to 6th Jan.
Manali has been the host for the grand Himachal Winter Carnival ever since the festival was initiated. I Guess that the popularity of this tourist destination and ease of accessibility is what makes Manali a perfect venue for the carnival.
By Air: The nearest airport, Bhuntar Airport (IATA code KUU), is at Bhuntar town, situated on NH21 about 50 km from Manali. The airport is also known as Kullu-Manali airport.
By Road: Manali can be reached from Delhi by national highway NH 1 tillChandigarh and from there by national highway NH 21. The total distance from Delhi to Manali is 533 km. Buses ply on large numbers on this route.
By Rail: The nearest broad gauge railheads from Manali are at Chandigarh (275 km), Pathankot (325 km) and Kalka (310 km). The nearest narrow gauge railhead is at Joginder Nagar (135 kilometres).
Since Manali is a popular tourist destination in Himachal Pradesh, a large number of domestic and international tourists throng the city round the year. Therefore, there have been a rapid the growth of hotels and lodges in Manali that range from budget hotel to luxury resorts. One can choose from these hotels as per their budget and preference. There is HPTDC lodges in Manali as well; however, one has to book well in advance.
Himachal Winter Carnival has got better with time, initially the promoted the the culture of the state by means of folk dances and music, however, with passing time many other activities have also been added to the list. Back in 2010 efforts were made to facilitate the direct participation of tourists in the Carnival by converting the entire 250 metre stretch of the Manali Mall Road from the Ram Bagh Chowk to the Ibex Chowk into an area where activities of the Carnival can take place. Now, one can enjoy and even participate in Skiing Championship, Himachali Food Festival, Craft Bazaar, Local Band Competition, Folk Dances, Street Plays, and Adventure Sports.
Other than enjoying Himachal Winter Carnival in Manali, one has the opportunity to visit Hadimba Temple, Rahalla Falls, The Manacle Gompa, Vashisht Springs, Jagatsukh and Manu Temple. Apart from this, one can also visit three recently built Tibetan monasteries at Manali. The Tibetans living around these Monasteries offers a wide range of Tibetan Handicrafts and Carpets. Other than this Solang Valley, Naggar (a beautiful town near Manali) and Kothi (situated on the foothills of Rohtang Pass) are worth visiting in Manali