Rohtang Pass
Rohtang Pass by Balaji.B Photography

Manali India – Top-10 Most Thrilling Things to Do

Manali is a place one has to see to believe. Stunningly beautiful, peaceful and with people who are very friendly and helpful, the true beauty of Manali can only be experienced first-hand. When you do go to Manali, we are sure you will be back again soon as there are so many wonderful things to do here. We have compiled a list of our favourite activities to do while in Manali.

1. Rohtang Pass

Located just 51 km from Manali, Rohtang Pass is one of the highest mountain passes in the world. It sits at an elevation of 3978 metres and connects the Kullu valley to the Spiti Valley. Travelling to the pass requires a special permit which costs INR 500 per head. The pass offers a taste of nature in its rawest form. It is covered with snow almost throughout the year and a lot of visitors come here to experience the snow and the awe-inducing sight of the mountains. It is also possible make a trek to the pass. The route passes through several picturesque locations like the Bhrigu Lake and Rozy falls. The pass is open from June to October and is a definite must do activity in Manali.

2. Museum of Himachal Culture and Folk Art

Folk arts are something which excites us a lot – and it is actually the reason why we rushed to the Museum of Himachal Culture and Folk Art. The museum is located opposite the Hadimba temple, and is a great place to learn more about the arts of Himachal. From religious relics, household objects, instruments, weapons, wood carvings and scale models of famous Himachal temples, the museum gives you a sneak peek into the culture of Himachal. The displays are well organized and kept in good order. The entry fee is INR 10 and the museum stays open from 10 am to 6 pm.

3. Yak Ride

Yak-yak-yak! Yaks are fascinating creatures to look at. They resemble a cow slightly and have long shaggy hair. In Himalayas they are used a means of transport, a source of meat and skins and they also provide fuel for warming the houses of locals – well, actually their dung is used as fuel. Get closer to these stunning animals in Manali and try riding a yak.

There are many places in and around Manali where you can experience a yak ride. While the cost varies from vendor to vendor, INR 200 sounds like a decent rate. The ride is deceptively tricky, as it looks pretty easy but it is not. Anyway, it is a lot of fun.

4. Paragliding at Solang

Located quite close to Manali, the Solang valley is a place of stunning natural beauty. The valley is surrounded by high mountain peaks. Their slopes offer perhaps the best paragliding experience in India. There are 3 options for experiencing a flight amid tall mountains. The ride is an absolute thrill and as you take off from the slope into the wind you get an absolutely stunning view of the gorgeous scenery below. A short flight costs INR 600 and longer ones cost between INR 1500 and INR 3000. Paragliding is possible from 9 am to 5 pm daily the weather permitting. There is a weight restriction though, so if you are over 100 kilos, we advise you not to get your hopes high.

5. White Water Rafting

Who can ever say ‘no’ to the white water rafting adventure? Manali is the ideal place to get initiated if you have not yet tried it – there are several easy routes sutable for beginners. There is a 20 km stretch on the Beas River which offers a great opportunity for white water rafting. In fact, the river flow is so good that rafting is possible almost throughout the year with the exception of extreme winter months and heavy rainfall. There are many operators in Manaly who offer similar programs with prices flucuating within INR 500-INR 1000 range.

6. Trekking

Manali is a trekker’s heaven. Situated in the middle of the hills with stunning scenery all around, the trekking opportunities galore in the area and vary in length and level of difficulty. One of the most impressive treks is the Deo Tibba trek and we absolutely enjoyed it. It is a 75 km route and you normally need about a week to complete it. Your efforts will be rewarded with expansive views of the mountains, glaciers and beautiful terrain along the route. The trek also takes you through some very pretty villages like Setan, Pandupora and Jogidugh. The best time to go is from June to October and there are many operators including Whitemagic and Adventure Nation who can arrange it for you. It costs about INR 11,000. Apart from multiday programs you can opt for shorter one day routes.

7. Adventurous Tour of Manali

This special package which is organised by Thrillophilia is a 4 day 3 night experience which starts from Dharamshala. The tour takes you to Bhagsu temple and its nearby waterfall, Norbulinga, Tsuklagkhang temple, McLeodganj, Rohtang Pass and gives you an insight into the life in Himachal. The tour operates on a twin sharing basis with breakfast and dinner and you need to be in a group of at least 4 to make the booking. It costs INR 10,500 per person and is a good way to experience the joys of Manali and Himachal.

8. Rahala Waterfall

This picturesque waterfall is located on the way to Rohtang Pass from Manali and is a popular destination for the locals and tourists. The waterfall is surrounded by deodar and birch trees which make for a beautiful picture against the striking backdrop of the snow clad mountains. The Rahala Waterfall is formed by the melting glaciers and water cascading down looks striking. The best time to visit the waterfall is from May to October.

9. Camping in Kothi

Nature is best enjoyed when you are close to it. And there is no better way to do that than staying in a camp. One of the highly recommended destinations for camping located on the road to Lahaul-Spiti from Manali is Kothi. Lush alpine forests and majestic mountain peaks form jaw-dropping scenery here. The main activity in the area is hiking – it can either come as a part of your package tour or as a self-guided activity. There are many tour agencies selling a variety of tours in Kothi – we chose Adventure Nation and it was a really memorable experience.

10. Losar Festival

Losar, the Buddhist festival, is one of the most colourful celebrations in Manali. It usually falls in January or February. The festival is a good opportunity to learn more about local rituals and customs and a real splash of colour. Preparations start a month prior to the festival which last about 15 days culminating in a huge procession called Methi.

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These are just some of the activities that you can take part in to experience Manali and we are very certain that once you do get a taste of Manali and the activities that you can do here, you will long for more.