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Ten facts about Old Manali

  • Manali is actually a collection of three adjacent hills. Each hill has a village and an old temple dominating it: Old Manali (Manu Temple), Vashishtha (Vashishtha Temple) and Dhungri (Hadimba Temple).
  • Manali is named after Manu, the revered Hindu sage who codified Hindu laws in the Manusmriti. According to folklore, Sage Manu saved several species of animals during a terrible flood and led them to this beautiful mountain.
  • Manali’s snowy peaks offer an unbeatable arena for paragliding at Solang Valley. The two minute ride will either scare you out of your wits or whet your appetite for the longer 10 to 15 minutes rides.
  • The Beas river flows with full force and rafting in Manali on it requires nerves and stamina. The rafting season is on from May to mid-June and from end-September to mid-October. The trip starts at Pirdi and terminates after a 16-km lurch-and-toss ride at Jhiri.
  • A long time ago, European tourists discovered this picturesque region. Following this discovery, Europeans of varying nationalities started visiting this beautiful town. They stayed on, discovered yoga, married locals and started their own cafés.
  • Manali has the feel of a global village, which has lead to the establishment of several riverside cafés like River Music, Moondance. You can choose from a wide variety of soups, pastas, momos, pancakes and teas at these establishments at very reasonable prices.
  • The prefix ‘old’ distinguishes the original Manali from its two sister hills, Hadimba and Vashistha. More importantly it distinguishes rustic Manali from New Manali or Model Town. The geographical divide between the two is the Manalsu, a tributary of the Beas, which cuts the town horizontally.
  • Locally revered widely, Goddess Hadimba is interesting for defying the usual norms by being a demon. Hadimba was Bhima’s wife when he was exiled in the forest, and bore him a demon son, Ghatotkacha. Hadimba Temple, framed by towering deodars, is worth seeing as it has been left pretty much untouched in all its 400-year-old wooden glory.
  • One must stop at the German Bakery to buy a wheel of excellent yak cheese. Right opposite are a couple of shops stocking dry fruits, nuts, saffron and churan. Buy different grades of tasty dried apples, dried apricots and chilgoza nuts.
  • Every season offers a reason to visit Manali. The weather is best in spring and summer, and the latter is also when you should come here to go trekking. During the monsoons, everybody heading to Lahaul-Spiti and Ladakh passes through Manali to cross the Rohtang Pass, which opens between June and October.

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