Manali

Manali

MANALI, HIMACHAL

Manali in the Beas River valley, is an important hill station in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh, India, near the northern end of the Kullu Valley.

Manali is administratively a part of the Kullu district, with population of approx. 30,000. The small town was the beginning of an ancient trade route to Ladakh and, from there, over the Karakoram Pass on to Yarkand and Khotan in the Tarim Basin.

Manali and the surrounding area is of great significance to Indian culture and heritage as it is said to be the home of the Saptarshi, or Seven Sages.

Manali
Climate
The climate in Manali is predominantly cold during winters, and moderately cool during summers. The temperatures range from 4 °C (39 °F) to 30 °C (86 °F) over the year. The average temperature during summer is between 14 °C (57 °F) and 20 °C (68 °F), and between −7 °C (19.4 °F) and 10 °C (50 °F) in the winter.

Monthly precipitation varies between 24 mm (0.94 in) in November to 415 mm (16.3 in) in July. In average, some 45 mm (1.8 in) of precipitation is received during winter and spring months, increasing to some 115 mm (4.5 in) in summer as the monsoon approaches. The average total annual precipitation is 1,520 mm (60 in). Snowfall in the region, which usually took place in the month of December, has been delayed over the last fifteen years to January or early February.

Manali
History
In ancient times, the valley was sparsely populated by nomadic hunters known as 'rakshas'. The next arrivals were the shepherds who arrived from the Kangra Valley and settled to take up agriculture. Some of the earliest inhabitants of the region are the 'naur' or 'nar', which is a caste unique to the Kullu valley. Only a few naur families are known to exist now. A naur family in the village Soyal near Haripur on the west bank of Manali was famous for the vast land they owned and their practice of having 'rakshas' as their labourers.

The British introduced apple trees and trout, which were not native to Manali flora and fauna. It is said that when apple trees were first planted the fruits were so plentiful that often branches, unable to bear the weight, would collapse. To this day, apple—along with plum and pear—remains the best source of income for the majority of its inhabitants.

Manali Tourism received a boost after the rise of militancy in Kashmir in the late 1980s. This once quiet village was transformed into a bustling town with many hotels and restaurants.

Manali
Tourism
Manali is a popular Himalayan tourist destination and accounts for nearly a quarter of all tourist arrivals in Himachal Pradesh. Manali's cool atmosphere provides a contrast to hot Indian summers.

Manali is famous for adventure sports in manali like skiing, hiking, mountaineering, paragliding, rafting, trekking, kayaking, and mountain biking. Yak skiing is a sport unique to this area. Manali also featured in Time magazine's "Best of Asia" for its "Extreme Yak Sports". Manali also offers hot springs, religious shrines and Tibetan Buddhist temples.

Manali has become a favorite destination for honeymooners since the last few years. Statistics show that around 550 couples reach Manali daily for honeymoon in season (May, June, December, January) and around 350 couples reaches Manali daily in rest time.

Manali is known for its shiny gompas or Buddhist monasteries. With the highest concentration of Tibetan refugees in the entire Kullu valley, it is famous for its Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa, built in 1969. The monastery is maintained by donations from the local community and through the sale of hand-woven carpets in the temple workshop. The smaller and more modern Himalayan Nyingamapa Gompa stands nearer the bazaar, in a garden blooming with sunflowers.