Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Kullu - Manali

The Kullu valley has an ancient town in its lap called Manali. Surrounded by towering peaks at an arm length, Manali's major asset is its proximity to the snowline. It is a flourishing orchard industry, a popular honeymoon destination and trailhead for numerous treks as well as a great countryside ideal for adventure sport lovers.

Manali literally means the 'Home of Manu'. Manu is the mythological character who is supposed to have survived when the world was drowned in Flood. He then came to Manali and recreated human life. Thus, the area of Manali is sacred and Hindus treat the temples over here as pilgrimage.

The valley of gods, as the Kullu valley has come to be known, is perhaps the most delightful region in the western Himalayas. The ancient Hindus regarded it as the furthest limit of human habitation - Kulantapitha, and its original name finds mention in the epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata as well as Vishnu Purana.

Like a slender delicate-hued fern glistening in the morning dew, the valley spreads out its charm on either side of the upper reaches of the river Beas. Running north to south, the main river valley is only 80 km long and 2 km at its broadest, yet a fairly wide area is open to the visitors to enjoy the spectacle of variegated mountain scenery.

In the spring Kullu is at its most colorful with pink blossoms and white flowers while the higher slopes are aglow with gorgeous rhododendrons. With autumn, clear blue skies return and fields and forests alike show wonderful tints of crimson and ochre. By December, there is no greenery except the majestic pines and cedars in the forests. In winter the hillsides are flanked in white.

Situated on the banks of the Beas, Kullu, the headquarters of the district, serves as a nerve centre of the valley and is the starting place for a number of treks. The deodar-fringed grassy maidan, Dhalpur, is a stage for many colorful fairs.

Places to see in Manali

Kothi

A quiet but picturesque spot. The Rest House overlooks the narrow valley and commands views of the mountains. Below Kothi, for more than a kilometer the river Beas flows through a deep gorge, almost a subterranean passage, 30 meters or more in depth, and the cliffs which flank both sides of the canyon are a favorite haunt for rock pigeons. The site of the bridge provides an interesting historical episode in the early annals of Kullu.

                                                                                     Solang Valley

A splendid valley between Manali and Kothi which offers views of the glaciers and snow-capped mountain peaks. The plateau is frequently used for holding camps by the trekking parties. Good skiing slopes of the Mountaineering Institute. Venue of annual winter carnival from February 10-14. Bus service up to Palchan village (10 km) and then by jeep or on foot.

Rahla Falls




Two km from Kothi. Here the river Beas hurtles down from a height of about 50 meters. Charming spot for picnics.






                                                                                                                                      Manali Sanctuary
A bridle path from the Manali log huts goes past the Dhoongri Temple and wanders into the dense deodar, kail, horse chestnut, walnut and maple forest which is a part of this sanctuary. Camping overnight in tents at Lambadug or Galiani Thatch is possible.

Lush green alpine pastures and glaciers lie beyond Galiani Thatch. Musk deer, monal and brown bear are often spotted. For those who venture still further into the glacier zone in summer, there are herds of ibex.

Hadimba Temple


Hadimba or Dhungiri temple in Manali is one of the most important temples in the region. This four-story wooden temple is located in the middle of a forest called the Dhungiri Van Vihar.


                                                                                                                  Gadhan Thekchoking Gompa

This Gompa dominates the Tibetan area around the bottom of the Mall in Manali. The Tibetan refugees built the Gompa in the late 1960's. The Gompa is covered with brightly colored frescoes and a mid size Buddhist statute. It also carries a list of the martyrs killed in occupation of Tibet of 1987 to 1989.

Old Manali


The old Manali area is located some 3-km from the present day Manali. The old Manali is covered with guesthouses, which look ancient now, and orchards where the livestock move at will.




                                                                                                                                Temple of Manu


Slippery stones paths lead through the old village houses up to the temple of Manu. Manali is named after the sage Manu who meditated when he came in this area.




Tibetan Temple




Tibetans have a base in Manali too. There is a large modern Tibetan temple to the South of the bus stand and also a small handicrafts center.




                                                                                                                               Arjun Gufa



On the left bank of the Beas, 5-km from Manali near the village of Prini, is the 'Arjun Gufa' or the cave of Arjuna. In here Arjuna practiced austerities to get Pashupata Ashtra or weapon from Lord Indra.



Around Manali



                                                        Rohtang Pass

51 km. At an altitude of 4,112 metres on the highway to Keylong, the pass affords a wide-spread panorama of mountain scenery. In place of the pinnacled hills, sheltered valleys and cultivated tracts, the eye meets a range of precipitous cliffs, huge glaciers and piled Moraine, and deep ravines. Almost directly opposite is the well defined Sonepani glacier, slightly to the left are the twin peaks of the Geypang, jagged pyramids of rock, snow streaked and snow crowned.

The Beas river rises near the crest of Rohtang from a block of Mica-Schist. The pass normally opens for traffic after mid-June and officially closes in November. To its left, 200 metres higher, is the little lake of Sarkund (Dashair) visited by a number of people, the general belief being that a bath in these waters effects a cure of all bodily ailments-real or imaginary. 10 km before Rohtang is the barren-landscape of Marhi which hums with activity during summer and autumn months because almost everyone stops here for refreshments.

                                                                Keylong

117 km. A fair sized village amidst green fields of barley and buckwheat, Keylong is the headquarters of the Lahaul and Spiti district, surrounded with brown hills and snowy heights. Karding Monastery overlooks Keylong and is 3.5 km across the Chandra river while Shashur Monastery is about 1 km. HPTDC Tourist Bungalow.

                                                   Triloknath and Udeypur

These are two important places of pilgrimage in Pattan Valley. At Triloknath is a six armed image in white marble of Avalokiteshvara, Bodhisattava. Visitors will enjoy crossing the Chandra-Bhaga river and the trek of 3 km to reach the destination. The temple of Marikula at Udeypur is highly remarkable for its wood carvings. Udeypur is 166 km from Manali.

6 comments:

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