Surrounded by lofty mountains with snowy peaks, sparkling river meandering through the deep gorges into lush valleys and flowery meadows - Manali is a picturesque town in Himachal Pradesh. A favoured destination for backpackers, travellers, and adventurers, this high-altitude town is a perfect place for all kinds of holidays.
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Visited by travellers from around the globe and all through the year, Manali is one of the best places in India to experience snow. The valley gets a snow blanket around mid-December through January and attracts many tourists. Monsoons can get pretty hostile with sudden landslides which may prove highly disastrous. Only a few daredevils may consider travelling to Manali during this season.
Manali is a popular tourist place and which is why most visitors may only cover the major tourist attractions. They may miss out on other amazing places that are almost hidden under the glory of the other popular places. We bring you a list of ten such hidden places that every traveller must visit in Manali.
2) Hidimba Devi Temple
Perched on a hillock and almost concealed by thick cedar forests, the Hidimba (also called Hadimba) Devi Temple dates back to 1553. The temple is dedicated to Hidimba, an important character in the ancient Indian epic Mahabharata. The intricately designed wooden temple has a distinct architectural style and is built around a cave that is said to be her place of meditation.
Famous for its hot water springs, Kheerganga is located in the Parvati Valley, 95 km from Manali. To reach Kheerganga one has to trek for about 11 km. A motorable road up to a place called Barshaini is the starting point of the refreshing trek through a scenic terrain. The amazing trek with splendid views and natural hot water springs often makes many trekkers yearn for another visit.
4) Vashisht Kund
Vashisht village is situated across the Beas river at a distance of 5 km from Manali. It is famous for its sulphurous hot water springs. Separate bath houses are built for those who wish to take a dip. Apart from relaxing a weary body, sulphur water is said to have therapeutic values. Vashisht is also famous for its stone temple which is dedicated to one of the greatest Hindu sages, Vashisht.
5) Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa
Situated close to the bustling old Manali road, this pretty Tibetan monastery is unknown to many tourists. It is an ideal place to absorb some spiritual vibes or explore the history, architecture and Tibetan culture. Visitors can buy Tibetan handicrafts from the shops located in the premises. The place can be visited between 6 am and 6 pm on all days except Sunday.
6) Himalayan Nyingamapa Gompa
Another beautiful yet uncommon place is the Himalayan Nyingamapa Gompa, located close to the busy market streets of Manali. Unlike most monasteries, this one is small in structure. But just like other Gompas, this place too creates a divine and tranquil ambiance with the soothing sounds of prayers and chants, and the aroma of incense.
7) Arjun Gufa
Arjun Gufa (cave) is located on the bank of the beautiful Beas river, 5 km away from Manali. It is an extremely appealing place; its tranquility only being interrupted by the gushing Beas river. The place gets its name from the Mahabharata hero Arjun - who is said to have meditated here. Irrespective of the belief, it is a perfect place to savour the stunning views of snow-capped mountains and alpine forests.
Off the tourist map, about 12 km away from Manali, sits the hidden Hamta village. Secluded, tranquil and a perfect place to unwind. For a laid-back holiday wander off into the woods, swim in the river or enjoy the amazing view of the valley. For the adventurers, a trek to the famous Hamta Pass can be added to the itinerary.
9) Manu Temple
Manali gets its name from Manu - who is regarded as a creator of life after the world was swept away by the legendary deluge. An ancient temple dedicated to sage Manu is located in old Manali, 3 km away from the main market. It is also the only temple in India that is dedicated to him, hence, a must visit for many travellers.
10) Solang Valley
Located about 13 km from Manali, the sprawling Solang Valley offers magnificent views of glaciers and snow-clad peaks of the mighty Himalayas. Also known as ‘Snow Point', Solang Valley is a hotspot for exciting winter as well as summer adventure sports like skiing, parachute-flying, and paragliding.