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An Insider’s Travel Guide to Manali

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From being a tourist’s paradise to a chic hill station, Manali has got an upgrade over all these years. The town which was earlier visited by penny-pinching young foreigners and honeymooning couples has now got a new breed of savvy travellers. Backpackers come here to hang out in the hippie villages and live like a local at homestays; adventure seekers prefer trekking, canyoning, rafting, paragliding and skiing; and families come here for the peace and cool mountain air and prefer staying at cottages. If you are planning a trip to Manali and would rather spend your holiday soaking in the scenic views and experiencing Manali from a local’s perspective, here’s an insider’s guide to Manali.

1. Take a walk through Old Manali

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If you are cool, Old Manali is the coolest! The vintage & funky cafes, street food stalls, shops selling junk jewellery & woolen wear, and the mesmerising views make Old Manali class apart. You can go sit in a cafe, enjoy the live music with the river flowing alongside and get transported to a different world altogether.

2. Stay with the locals

The Orchard House By Aamod

You will be spoilt for choices when it comes to choosing homestays in Manali. Tucked away in the forested mountains offering panoramic views of the valleys and river, homestays are ideal accommodations to get an insight into the local’s life. The host families will make you familiar with their traditions, cultures, cuisines and a lot more things.

Book homestays in Manali

3. How about a dip in the hot water springs

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Vashisht village located near the Beas River is a hidden gem of Manali. The hot water springs here are believed to possess healing powers, and bathing in the water is said to be a magical experience. Visit the village in the months of May and June and indulge in a mysterious yet mesmerising dip in the hot water Sulphur springs.

4. A bullet ride to Rohtang Pass

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The thrill of riding a bike through the treacherous route of Rohtang Pass can be compared to none. The scenic glimpses of the mountains and valleys that are thrown up at every turn you take on the twisty uphill road are worth experiencing. You can rent a Royal Enfield at INR 700-800 a day and build your own trails in Himachal.

5. Put on your trekking shoes

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If you are ready to take on the jagged hills, consider trekking in Manali. There are numerous trekking trails which are ideal for beginners as well as advanced trekkers. The trekking season kick-starts in April and continues till October. Some of the popular trekking trails in and near Manali are Beas Kund, Prashar Lake and Hampta Pass.

P.S. Try yoga-trekking to get in peace with the adventure and spirituality seeker in you.

6. Learn the art of shawl manufacturing

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Kullu shawls are famous across the country; and if you want to learn the art of manufacturing these shawls, don’t shy away from hopping into the factories on the Kullu-Manali highway. You can see the artisans in action and creating beautiful masterpieces with wool.


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Srishti is a writer by profession and a dreamer by choice. She loves experimenting with her space and her looks. Being an avid animal lover, she plans on being a part of Black Jaguar White Tiger Foundation in near future.

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