Manali can be visited all through the year. However, it stays pleasant in December. Starting from October, Manali in December and onwards offers perfect environs to explore the outdoors.
The pleasant weather and natural bounties attract families, solo travellers and honeymooners alike. The wintertime is ideal to enjoy adventure sports like paragliding, trekking, and camping.
Here are the ten best places to visit in Manali in December.
1. Great Himalayan National Park
Touted as one of the best places to visit in Manali and its surrounding regions, the Great Himalayan National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The park is home to many rare species, including over 1000 plants, 209 bird species, and 31 mammal species. The elusive snow leopard is the apex predator here, and there are populations of the Himalayan tahr and brown bears. Photographers will relish capturing the wildflowers and glacial valleys that dot the entire terrain. You can also engage in some fun nature activities like hiking and camping in designated areas of the National Park. Permits to enter the park need to be obtained in advance and the park offers many simple yet decent accommodation options within it.
2. Beas River
The Beas River is a natural landmark in the region that will accompany you on most parts of your Manali trip. Vashisht village is considered to be one of the best places to enjoy excellent views of the river valley while a trip to Kothi will bring you up close to its clear blue waters. The Beas is a hub of water sports such as kayaking and rafting and the village of Pridi is considered to have some of the most exciting rapids.
Located on the iconic Spiti highway at an altitude of 2500 meters, Kothi is a charming hamlet in the mountains that is renowned for its scenic setting and the majestic views it offers of the snow-capped peaks and glaciers. It is at the foothills of Rohtang Pass and the terrain is sculpted by the Beas which flows through this part of the region. The village is also a perfect spot for camping, especially if you are planning to explore Rohtang Pass on foot. The village also has a temple dedicated to Goddess Shuwang Chandika.
4. Jogini Waterfalls
The rushing cascades of Jogini Falls are a short and invigorating trek away from the main town of Manali. The trail that leads to the waterfall is scenic and gives you a glimpse of the River Beas and the snow-capped peaks of Rohtang. Apart from the serene setting, Jogini is also an important place of pilgrimage and you can visit many old shrines around the pool at the bottom. An early start is recommended so that you can spend more time at this picturesque natural spot, which is one of the top trekking as well as picnic places in Manali.
5. Hampta Pass
Counted as one of the easy-to-medium-difficulty Himalayan treks, the Hampta Pass trek allows you to enjoy mesmerizing views of the Kullu Valley and Lahaul Valley. The Chandratal Lake located en route is another key attraction of the trek. The pass is located on the Pir Panjal Range at an elevation of over 4000 meters and the route includes fascinating river crossings. Many groups in Manali conduct Hampta Pass trekking tours and their charges vary based on the itinerary and the number of days.
6. Bhrigu Lake
Take a minute and think of a postcard-perfect elevated meadows and evergreen tree forests near a quiet high-altitude water body. Well, you have just pictured Bhrigu Lake, one of the best destinations in Manali. A bit of acclimatization is needed if you are going for the trek as the lake is located at an elevation of 4000 m above sea level. The landscape and picturesque views of the Pir Panjal Range are what attracts most tourists and travellers to this place.
7. Nehru Kund
A natural spring found on the Manali - Rohtang Pass Highway, Nehru Kund is a good retreat during summer. The spring is named so because Nehru, India's first prime minister, used to visit it during his stay in Manali and drink water from this natural spring. The clear waters and the calm Himalayan landscapes make this a good stop for those heading over to the Rohtang Pass. Nehru Kund makes for an ideal destination for shutterbugs and nature lovers.
8. Solang Valley
A mini valley located at about 2600 m above sea level, Solang Nala is a short drive away from Manali. It is a haven for adventure and sports lovers and while here, you can try your skills on a pair of skis or go for a snowmobile exploration. When the weather warms up, people flock here for zorbing and paragliding. You can also hop onto a cable car and enjoy mesmerizing views of the Himalayas. If you are looking for adventure sports, December the best time to visit Manali.
9. Manali Gompa
The ornate design and the quintessential Tibetan architecture make the Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa, more commonly referred to as the Manali Gompa, one of the finest landmarks in Manali. Built by Tibetan refugees in the 1960s, this monastery allows you to enjoy quiet settings and unmatched spiritual vibes. Some of the key highlights of the Manali Gompa include exquisite murals that depict important events of Buddhism in vivid colours and roofs built in the Pagoda style. The stalls in the complex are a good place to pick up some souvenirs and Tibetan handicraft items.
10. Vashisht Hot Water Springs and Temple
A place of great spiritual importance, Vashisht village is home to a beautiful temple set amidst the dramatic Himalayan topography. It is believed that the temple has a history of more than 4000 years and the interiors of the shrine feature wooden carvings, antique figures, and paintings. What makes this destination even more unique is the presence of hot springs that are believed to hold healing properties. What's more, the place also offers modern-day visitors a glimpse into the old history of Manali. You can also enjoy some shopping in. the surrounding area - the woollens here are very famous.