Manali, Old Manali, Vashisth & Kullu
The Kullu Valley is another backpacker destination in the Himalayas, not known just for its treks, but also its unique beauty which combines civilisation and nature at extremely high and dangerous altitudes. Here, you will find the highest motor-able road in India, stunning cement highways running by frozen rivers (during winter), a smattering of mountain-sides cut into massive steps for terrace farming and a roar of high altitude river sports including white water rafting and river canoeing.
Manali, among many other things, is the starting point for the trip to the roadie’s revered destination, Leh Ladakh. The challenging Manali-Ladakh motorway is the highest motor-able road in the world, and many do the 48 hour route on Bullet motorcycles.
Manali is a big city. Arguably, one of the most developed as it is a transit point with a national highway going through it. So, make your repairs, browse the internet and finish all your shopping here, before you start of into the enchanting wilderness of the Himalayas once more.
Old Manali is where backpackers head to escape it all. A 20 minute drive or a 45 minute walk up from the short drive up from the metropolis of New Manali, Old Manali is a village built along a single, winding mountain road. Packed with a number of guest houses, cafes and restaurants, Old Manali is a quiet backpacker retreat Manali. A place to lay low and relax, Old Manali has a few small treks. My favorite one is an hour long walk up from the main street leads to the top of the small mountain of Old Manali. After you pass through small streams, large rocks and lots of trees, you come to an opening that can only be described as a pasture. A vast, open field carpeted with velvety green grass stretches far before you. It is a perfect place for a day picnic. Carry a bottle of water, a sandwich and a book.
Vashisth is a 30 minute drive/one hour walk from New Manali. Vashisth is another getaway from the hustle and bustle of the Manali metropolis below. Vashisth is a perfect chill spot. It houses a temple with hot springs to sit and soak away all your troubles, yoga classes and an abundant backpacker population.
Best time to Visit: April to October
In and Around
The Rotang pass trek: (starting from Manali) is popular among adventure enthusiasts.
Hadimba Devi Temple: A much revered, unique Himachali temple.