Both Kullu and Manali, top tourist destinations of Himachal Pradesh, seem to outdo the other in their scenic magnificence and opportunities for sightseeing & adventure. Kullu, the town believed to be apt for the gods, pleasantly surprises the visitor with the diversity it offers. In Manali, what you see is what you get, raw beauty with serenity, the likes of which you may have only dreamt about.
There are many things to see in Kullu, like the Great Himalayan National Park. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which houses a rich variety of wildlife. Several of these are classified as endangered, including Himalayan Brown Bear, Blue Sheep and Snow Leopard. Spotting of Monal and Western Tragopan is not uncommon. Trekking and outdoor camping are also pursued enthusiastically in the park.
Manikaran is another place to see in Kullu which is most famous for its gurudwara. Here, the hot sulphur springs are believed to contain therapeutic properties. Kasol, fondly referred to as mini-Israel for attracting Israelis in large numbers, allures more than its fair share of honeymooners, while the village of Malana has that ancient look to it. Banjar, located almost 2 hours away from Kullu, affords a lot of opportunities in angling, thanks to River Tirthan and its pure as crystal waters. At about the same distance lies Shoja, a valley wrapped in contemplative silence and undisturbed beauty, and truly meditator’s paradise. Another place which you should visit during your trip to Kullu is Jalori Pass. From here, you can take a day hike to Serolsar Lake.
Adventure enthusiasts also find a lot to celebrate in Kullu. Battling the rapids while white water rafting on River Beas is fun, as is camping in Raison, surrounded by peach, plum and apple orchards. Hike towards the Bijli Mahadev Temple though, where lovely views of the Kullu Valley await you. Inside the temple is a Shiva Linga, which, besides being pillar shaped, is held together with butter. Every year, fiery bolts of lightning destroy this pillar, until it is rebuilt by the priests with butter.
Manali is another top tourist destination in Himachal Pradesh, popular both among honeymooners and vacationers. This quaint town shows you how to have a good time. It is hugged by the valley, which itself is covered with pine forests, streams and perpetually snow-covered peaks. There are as many opportunities for adventure as sightseeing, besides a third one, which is enjoying the lovely landscape and doing nothing.
The greatest tourist attraction though, is Rohtang Pass. About 51 km from Manali, it is the gateway to Lahaul and Spiti, and offers a chance to enjoy activities like paragliding, skiing and trekking. Along the way, you are treated to views of waterfalls, pastures and streams. The tired eyes and the fatigued mind rejoice at such beautiful sights.
However, it should be remembered that you will have to obtain a special permit for visiting Rohtang Pass. During the winters, it wears a white coat, with fir trees acting as its embroidery. During the summers, it discards it, and replaces it with an easily flowing green garment. That’s Solang Valley for you, located about 13 km from Manali and a magnificent place to see in Himachal Pradesh. A variety of adventure activities can be enjoyed, from zorbing to a ropeway ride. Come winters, and skiing is all the rage, with state and national level ski championships being held regularly.
Another tourist attraction in Manali is the Hadimba Devi Temple, a four tier pagoda style wood and stone structure which is believed to contain the imprints of Hadimba Devi. You could also head to Naggar, located about 22 km from Manali. It served as the capital of the principality before it was shifted to Kullu in 1660 AD. There are many monuments here that remind you of its glorious past, including a 500 year old castle. Nowadays, it functions as a museum and heritage hotel. Vashisht Village is famous, as is the Bhrigu Lake, which is believed to be the meditation spot of Sage Bhrigu.
Other places to see during your Kullu Manali tour are Nehru Kund, Jagat Sukh Village, Manali Wildlife Sanctuary and Mountaineering Institute. If a little bit of sightseeing is all that you need, there are other ways to enjoy yourself. You can hang around at The Mall, explore the bazaar for some travel souvenirs, woolens and Himachali handloom products or head towards Old Manali, which is much more quieter than New Manali. Oh, and you can also enjoy various types of Mexican, Italian and Israeli dishes from a restaurant’s rooftop.
There are some exciting Kullu Manali holiday packages that you can check out before planning your trip. These come with the best deals and offers and ensure that you have a great time filled with loads of fun and adventure.