A pretty, alpine hill station in Himachal Pradesh, Manali is about 32 kilometers from Kullu Valley, 280 kilometers from the state capital Shimla, and 108 kilometers from Mandi. Manali is at a height of 2050 meters and spreads along the banks of the gurgling Beas River. Named after sage Manu who is believed to be the creator of human race according to Hindu mythology and the writer of Manusmriti, Manali has a temple dedicated to this great sage. Besides, it is steeped in legend and folklore, making Hadimba Temple a popularly visited landmark. A string of brilliant waterfalls, sulphur springs and monasteries only add to the ambiance of this hill station. The glacial paradise of Rohtang Pass is a popular skiing destination, where you can enjoy snow activities
even in peak summer.>
The region�s rich tradition of handicraft and handlooms make shopping a pleasant experience in Manali. Due to the presence of vast forestland producing huge timber, wood has traditionally been a favorite medium for handicrafts. Key chains, name plates, etc with customized messages are worth a buy as mementos. Also, you can get your name carved/written on a single grain of rice.
Stroll the market to shop for some colorful woolen stuff such as sweaters, pullovers, shawls and quilts among others. Don�t forget to pick up some beautifully hand-embroidered woolen shawl in Manali. This includes some heavily hand-embroidered rugs. The shops on the Mall are full with Tibetan handicraft which includes some one-off curios, antiques and knick-knacks for home d�cor. You could also include the very exquisite inlaid silver jewelry in turquoise and coral in your shopping cart. For all kinds of shopping, The Mall is the hub, and you will get an amazing variety here. You will come across numerous private outlets alongside government-run emporiums.
The village of Vashisht has a gem store (nullowned by a gentleman named Shafi) that has on offer an impressive assortment of semi-precious jewelry, unset stones, silver ornaments, rugs and shawls. This small corner shop just below the main square in the village is a treasure trove of ethnic junk. For hippie clothes and jewelry, look no beyond Old Manali.
Remember to always bargain. Hand-embroidered woolen shawls are best bought from the Mall. But do take a look around the Mall and the road off Hadimba Temple, you might find some exclusive creations and souvenirs. The main shopping zone in the Mall comprises Hong Kong Market, Thai Market, Tibetan Market, Dragon Shopping Complex, Lama Underground, Shangri La Shopping Complex, New NAC Market and Snow Lion Underground Market. If you are looking forward to shopping for something ethnic, explore the Tibetan market famous for rugs, Kullu caps, shawls, local tweeds, woolen blankets, footwear, one-off Buddhist paintings, silver jewelry, bamboo souvenirs, metal craft and natural oil among others. For authentic Kashmiri hand-woven shawls, try the Kullu-Kashmir Shawl Emporium, a cooperative run by local women.
Before rounding off your shopping excursion in Manali, don�t forget to pick up fresh fruit juice concentrates, jams, jellies and pickles; the flavors are authentic and make a nice souvenir.
Indian - Caf� Amigos on Circuit House Road, Chopsticks in The Mall, Khyber in the city centre, Kwality Sher-e-Punjab in The Mall, Manali Sweets in The Mall, Mayur on Mission Road, Mom�s Kitchen on Circuit House Road, Original Sher-e-Punjab in The Mall, Pizza Olive in Old Manali, Tibet Kitchen on the road to Club House, Toasted & Roasted in Old Manali, Zing Zing Bar & Restaurant in city centre, Mount View Restaurant in The Mall, Dragon in Old Manali, Green Forest Caf� in Log Huts area, Cozy Restaurant on the The Mall Road, Great Punjab on Gompa Road, Chandigarh Chicken House in Manu Market.
Begin your Manali excursion with a trip to the famous Manu Temple, about 3 kilometers from the main bazaar in the old Manali region. A slippery pebbled trail leads you to the temple premise amidst lush surroundings on the bank of river Beas. This ancient temple is dedicated to sage Manu who is believed to be the creator of human race and the writer of Manusmriti. The only temple of Manu in India, legend has it that he saved the Vedas and the seven sages from a great flood. It is assumed that subsequent to the inundation, Manu meditated at this site in Manali after stepping on earth.
Located at 32.16� N 77.10� E, at an average elevation of 2625 meters (null feet) above mean sea level, Manali is very close to the Himalayan snowline. Even then it has a largely pleasant climate through the year and is a major producer of apples and other fruits, as well as a very popular destination for trekkers.
Sited on the banks of the Beas River, summer in Manali can best be described as mild. The day temperature stayed between 20 to 25� C. Snow is winter is frequent and the mercury frequently goes well below zero. Manali is fast become a hub for winter sports. Monsoons hit Manali by late June, when showers are frequent and fierce.
Surface - Manali is about 550 kilometers (null miles) from India�s capital city, New Delhi, and there is a decent bus service connecting Manali with Delhi, Shimla, Dharamsala and Leh. For a bus service from Delhi to Manali, tickets and reservations can be made at the Inter State Bus Terminus as well as at the Himachal Tourism Office on Safdar Hashmi Marg near Mandi House in New Delhi. The approximate travel time from the capital to Manali is 18 hours, from Ambala to Manali 10 hours, and from Kullu to Manali 1.5 to 2 hours. Luxurious Volvo buses are available from Delhi, but you would need to book them at least two to five days prior to your journey. If hiring a private taxi, ensure that the driver has experience of driving in hilly terrain.
Train - The nearest broad gauge railhead to Manali is Ambala Cantt.(null kilometers/125 miles), and then Chandigarh (null kilometers/156 miles) from Indian capital New Delhi. Ambala Cantt. is on the Delhi - Amritsar and Delhi - Jammu main lines, and is well served by rail. But you will have to first travel to Ambala, and follow it up with an approx. 10 hour bus ride to Manali. Jogindernagar and Kalka are other, though less preferable, railheads for the Himalayan hill station.
Air - The nearest airport is Bhuntar Airport, about 50 kilometers (null.25 miles) from Manali, and 10 kilometers (null.25 miles) from Kullu. Indian Airlines, Kingfisher Airlines, MDLR Airlines and Jagson Airlines operate flights to Kullu from New Delhi and Chandigarh.
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