Shimla to Manali Road Trip – Things to do in Manali (Part – 3)
After spending a couple of days in Shimla, exploring Naldehra, enjoying Kufri and roaming the Mall Road I can say for sure, if you visit Shimla once, you are bound to visit here again and again. We were now ready for another exciting leg of our road trip to our Next Destination Manali. Traveling from Shimla to Manali is certainly one of the most popular routes for a road trip in the country. It is bliss to add the beautiful Manali as a part of your mountain vacation across Shimla-Kullu-Manali.
Day 3 – Early morning start for Shimla to Manali
We woke up early in the morning. And, we decided to skip breakfast at our hotel to explore Shimla Manali Road Trip on time without any hassle. We packed our bags and got ready to leave with loads of sweet unforgettable Shimla memories. There was a chill in the air, as we checked out of our hotel in Shimla at 6.30 am. Manali is located 265 Kilometer from Shimla as it takes 8 to 9 hours to get in Manali covering this distance that including stops for breakfast and lunch. The journey from Shimla to Manali road trip is extremely scenic and delightful as the place is composed of the fresh air and majestic mountains on one side and the lush green, deep valley on the other side of the road greeted us with its mesmerizing attractions. After 2 hours of travel, we felt hungry so we parked our car on the roadside and stepped out for breakfast. We enjoyed eating Veg Chowmein and aloo roti in one of the small roadside dhabas which is the must-try for the taste of authentic North Indian food. After a break, we again started our way towards Manali.
From here, after some time, we quickly reached a place called Mandi and here we met the river, Beas. The road starts running beside the river Beas as the river would give us company for the rest of the journey all the way from here till our destination, Manali. You can literally enjoy the turquoise water and the gush of the river amidst the trees offers a scene beautiful enough to inspire any artist and excite any traveler. Enjoy taking photos with a perfect photographic backdrop at these best spots all through the way to Manali.
Once the drive along the river bank starts, the whole route is filled with many restaurants. We stopped at a local dhaba for lunch and had rice and delicious Indian curries sitting along the bank of the river. After some rest at the dhaba we resumed our journey. We wound our way across some really dangerous and thrilling curves to reach a dark tunnel which was 2.8 kilometers long, the tunnel looked excited and scary. Tunnel led us to Aut which is a small village on the banks of the Beas River. We admired the beautiful views and enjoyed our time driving through the long, tunneled roads, and we had a cup of tea along the way for relaxing.
We drove steadily to Kullu and the climate had changed as we reached the beautiful mountains, the sun was nowhere to be seen and a light mist covered the entire place which is absolutely stunning. Our Driver recommended a shop for shopping on the best deals and we bought a couple of shawls and sweaters. From there we were taken to the river rafting which is one of the most popular and exciting water sports one can experience in Kullu.
River Rafting in Kullu
Located at approximately 1279 meters, Kullu offers a variety of sightseeing opportunities and adventure activities. River Rafting in Kullu is one of the most popular sports among water sports lovers and adventure enthusiasts. Visitors and tourists from all over the world are attracted to several breathtaking and amazing rafting areas to be explored in Kullu.
Our First River Rafting Experience in Kullu
Starting at Banjara in Kullu district, the Kullu-Manali White Water Rafting Tour includes three options-a long trips (12 km), medium trip (6 km), and short ride (4 km) surrounded by beautiful snow-capped mountains. The distance, cost, and duration vary depending on the type of ride you choose. The white water rafting occurs along the stretch where the two rivers, Bias and Parvati, merge and become one.
We paid 7000 INR for 12 km for a separate raft along with a certified rafter. Also, you will be charged separately for the photos and videos taken by the guide. We are provided with life jackets and also safety measures were informed clearly for our security purpose. You are not allowed to carry your mobile, camera, and any other extra luggage at the start of your rafting at the campus. We were very excited and scary but at the same time, the sound of waves crashing at the shore is quite a stress buster. With life jackets on and paddles in our hands, we were ready for the rendezvous with dangerous rapids. We both were seated opposite side of the raft along with the guide.
Our raft guide instructed us to sail forward, and we began to paddle our raft. Paddling looked quite easier until the first rapid came across. The rapid, the violent waves, the roar of water, and the stones in between altogether threatening us to go back. Yet our adventurer’s spirits took us right in the middle of the rapid, and soon we found ourselves battling the heavy current by rowing together and paddling as fast as we could. “The next rapid is going to be tough” Guide uttered that frightened me a bit. It was really a scary moment and the water roar was louder than usual and the waves looked untamable. Nevertheless, we entered the rapid, and guess what? The raft almost stood on its nose. Drenching both of us, oodles of water came in and the sudden adrenaline hit made us paddle harder and harder and harder. From UP to Down to LEFT to RIGHT, the raft was going out of control and there seemed no way out of the rapid. We were on the verge of falling, waiting for our guide to give some instruction. We were asked to jump inside the raft from the edge. We did exactly the same and it worked. We came out of the rapid. That was the best feeling ever.
Both of us were drenched by the chilling water in the spine and we were shivering badly. Yet we never stopped paddling. The rising and falling on the surface of the water with the support of a raft offers an amazing lifetime experience. We completely enjoyed the passing prettiness of nature surrounded by mesmerizing the Snowy Mountains.
After a few Kilometers of rafting, the guide told us to jump into the water if we want to but asked us to keep holding the rope that drapes the raft. We looked at each other and silently agreed upon not jumping into the water J we again firmed the grips on our paddles and started making our way to the rapid. After a few minutes, the raft was effortlessly going forward without paddling that moment our guide asked us to stand up with one foot on the edge and another inside the raft for taking photos and videos. We were completely indulged in the lovely views put forth by green hills on one flank and sandy beaches on the other. Getting fully splashed with cold water our rafting ends. River rafting definitely gives an extraordinarily wonderful and memorable experience that you can cherish for a lifetime.
Those 7 rapids gave us enough memories and stories that were full of excitement, thrill, adventure and laughs to take back and share with our friends. We came to Kullu to have few bites of adventure, but that rafting expedition gave us much more than that.
We soon quickly left Kulu behind as the weather was getting a bit inclement and we wanted to get to our destination before nightfall. As we drove towards Manali, soon we were able to sight the magnificent scenery characterized by forests, valleys, streams, rivers, and orchards. Finally, we headed straight to Manali. Once reached Manali town, Driver asked the directions for our resort and we headed straight to the resort. As we arrived at the resort, it was almost 7 pm. We settled down in a room and our eyes were glued to the windows to get that first glimpse of snow. Though it was not snowing near us, we saw it was snowing higher up in the mountain ranges as the snow is blanketing the mountain.
Just in front of the resort, the mountain peaks were covered with snow and the whole scene was very beautiful. Overall, it was a drive of almost 12 hours for us, but it all worth it visiting this wonderful tourist spot.
The day after reaching Manali, we started our drive towards Solang Valley. The view of the mountain peaks on the way towards Solang Valley was stunningly beautiful. The higher ranges were completely covered with fresh snow from the day before. Soon we arrived at Solang Valley, local vendors will stop your vehicle to offer heavy woolen dresses, and pony rides as you can hire snow clothes, ski dress, and boots from many vendors. We paid 3200 INR for the complete snowsuit and for all the exciting fun rides available at Solang Valley.
Our first experience of Snow was a magical moment and also a dream come true and a cross mark to my bucket list to finally experience snow! The valley was beckoning us to walk and explore. So, we started to roam around, and trek a little on the slants of the valley to the extent we could. It was a dream come true and a cross mark to my bucket list to finally experience snow! She enjoyed feeling the snow and playing with it as much as we did. We chose to sit on some of the rocks and enjoyed eating Maggie and indulged in the scenic beauty around.
After some time we were excited, geared up, and ready to experience some adventurous sports we paid for. The place has a fine ski slope that is a perfect place for skiing. The valley becomes a skiing paradise with tourists of all ages slipping and sliding over the fresh white snow. One of the most popular sports we experienced is skiing for which we were guided by the trainer to perform. The instructor helped us to wear my skis and gave us basic instructions and a little push to move forward. After a certain point, it felt I had no control over my body and I was slipping down. My heart raced very fast and I screamed “HELP!!!” My expressions were so funny that my wife couldn’t stop laughing. He asked us to walk and showed us how to wear and remove our skis. I tried three more times and fell twice during those three tries! But it was worth it!
We enjoyed Yak ride, Tube slide ride, Snow Scooter, and Zipline but Paragliding was not available at that moment. Sip a cup of piping hot tea and savor the tasty snacks served at the local tea stalls. Dress up in the traditional Himachali attire and click pictures with loved ones, before you end the trip. If you are new to Manali, you should definitely indulge yourself in these sports. It is challenging, fun, exhausting but truly worth a shot, something you will remember for a lifetime.
Himvalley Manali Amusement & Culture Park
After spending a couple of hours at Solang Valley my driver took us to Himvalley Manali Amusement & Culture Park. It is located on the Leh-Manali highway which is the best place to bring your kids and family. This Amusement Park is surrounded by mountains offering simple rides, cultural performances & a food court. You are charged for the dining and few rides separately available inside the park. We paid 500 INR for a combo ride that definitely worth paying. The Food Court of this park serving about 20 varieties that you can choose according to your choice. We literally enjoyed the Himachal Folk Dance, Punjabi Dance, and a special magic performance along with the breath-taking view of snow-covered hills.
Vashisht Temple & Hot Water Springs
On the way from Himvalley Manali Amusement & Culture Park, we explored Vashisht Hot Water Springs which is the best spot to beat the cold of Manali and spend some time in this beautiful and pristine water. The Vashisht temple is believed to be more than 4000 years old and is decorated with excellent and beautiful traditional carvings on the wood. Inside the temple, there is a black stone image of the Rishi wearing dhoti. The Vashisht Hot Water Spring is believed to have medicinal value as it is believed to cure many skin diseases. Many people go to the Vashisht baths to take a dip and rid themselves of skin infections and diseases. There are also separate bathrooms for both men and women. This enchanting hot water spring has no entry fee and it is very famous for springs, scenic views, and photography. Everybody gets tired of the chills after spending awesome time at Solang Valley and what more do you want than to indulge in a hot water tub soothing your nerves? Vashisht Hot Water Springs is definitely a must-visit place in Manali.
This spot is lined with many shops where you can find out the most popular SParu blankets. We bought leather jackets, handbag, souvenirs, and the most famous Sparu blankets. After finishing our shopping we reached our room.
After having our breakfast provided in the hotel, we started to Manali National Park, Van Vihar National Park which is composed of sky touching deodar trees and a beautiful eye-catching dense carpet of green. The favorite attraction of this park is a sparkling man-made lake that rests in the middle of the lush green landscape that will instill a beautiful sense of calm within you. We had a gala time exploring the rich flora and fauna of the mountains.
Later we got ready to experience one of the famous energizing sports called River Crossing on the Beas River. River Crossing can be a dangerous activity if a professional trainer is not with you so you will be guided by the trainer to perform this sport. We paid 150 per head for this activity for this amazing sport that definitely offers a breathtaking experience altogether with the wild river below, bountiful nature around, dazzling mountains, and beautiful greeneries.
Then we headed to Hadimba Temple which is the best place to visit in Manali. This temple is located in the Dhungri Forest which is very famous for its religious value. Hadimba Temple is surrounded by pine trees. Yak rides and huge fluffy angora rabbits ready to pose for photos are added attractions there.
We had our lunch at the famous Mall Road that has been dotted with many family restaurants and sweet shops for that craving tasty food. Mall Road is an unavoidable place and a busy part of the city to visit. We enjoyed ice cream and a plate of sizzling momos there. You can also find many wooden handicraft shops and woolen shops that offer a variety of things to buy.
After lunch, we started to Himalayan Nyinmapa Tibetan Buddhist Monastery that represent the rich history and the culture of the Tibetian people settled over there. The beautiful paintings inside these buildings depict events from Lord Buddha’s life and the Kalchakra, i.e., the wheel of life fixed on the wall of the monastery shows the human life cycle. The Buddhists believe that rotating these wheels gives you salvation.
Finally we returned back to hotel for overnight stay.
On the next day, we left Manali and reverted our journey back to Delhi with wonderful lifetime memories and said bye to the mountains. This was the journey of our honeymoon trip as we would like to thank our trip organizer for this wonderful Honeymoon Vacation.
My Overall Experience:
Manali has now evolved into a hub of outdoor adventures, parties, and all things that define fun, thrill, or excitement even more. When we were driving along the bank of the river, almost at the same level with the river bed, it felt so awesome, we wished the journey would never come to an end :)It’s sort of like when you travel to a place that you’ve always dreamed of traveling. A place that you’ve seen in the movies or shows ever since you could remember. It stirs up a feeling of joy and appreciation inside of you. This road trip is recommended for honeymoon, couples wanting a vacation, family, youth seeking adventure and also for solo travelers.