Manali () at altitude of 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. It is located about north of state capital, Shimla.
Manali with population of approx. 30,000 is administratively a part of the Kullu district. 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 Saptarishi, or Seven Sages.
Manali is located at 32.2396 N, 77.1887 E, about north of Kullu town. The town ranges in elevation from to in the uppermost "Old Manali" section.
Manali is a small town. People from different parts of India have settled here. India census, Manali had a population of 6265. Males constituted 64% of the population and females 36%. Manali had an average literacy rate of 74%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy was 80%, and female literacy was 63%. In Manali, 9% of the population was under 6 years of age.
The 2011 census data for Manali town have not become available as on 2012-01-01.
The climate in Manali is predominantly cold during winters, and moderately cool during summers. The temperatures range from to over the year. The average temperature during summer is between and , and between and in the winter.
Monthly precipitation varies between in November to in July. In average, some of precipitation is received during winter and spring months, increasing to some in summer as the monsoon approaches. The average total annual precipitation is . 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 is named after the Hindu lawgiver Manu. The word Manali is regarded as the changed name of "Manu-Alaya" which literally means "the abode of Manu". Legend has it that sage Manu stepped off his ark in Manali to recreate human life after a great flood had deluged the world. Manali is also often referred to as the "Valley of the Gods". The Old Manali village has an ancient temple dedicated to sage Manu.
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.
Tourism in Manali 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.
The nearest airport (IATA code KUU) is at Bhuntar town, situated on NH21 about south of Manali and south of Kullu town. The airport is also known as Kullu-Manali airport and has more than a kilometre long runway. Indian Airlines and some private airlines have regular flights to the airport.
Chandigarh airport is the nearest large airport.
Manali can be reached from Delhi by national highway NH 1 up to Chandigarh and from there by national highway NH21 that passes through Bilaspur, Sundernagar, Mandi and Kullu towns. The road distance from Delhi to Chandigarh is 248 km and from Chandigarh to Manali is 273 km. The total distance from Delhi to Manali thus is .
Manali is not easily approachable by rail. The nearest broad gauge railheads are at Chandigarh (), Pathankot () and Kalka (). The nearest narrow gauge railhead is at Joginder Nagar ().
Places to visit
Hadimba mandir, Museum of Himachal Culture & Folk Arts, Manali Gompa, Vashist hot springs, ABVIMAS (mountaineering institute), Rohtang pass, Solang Nala, Manu temple, Naggar.
See Bilaspur-Mandi-Leh Railway for the proposed railway line through this area.
- Verma, V. 1996. Gaddis of Dhauladhar: A Transhumant Tribe of the Himalayas. Indus Publishing Co., New Delhi.
- Handa, O. C. 1987. Buddhist Monasteries in Himachel Pradesh. Indus Publishing Co., New Delhi. ISBN 81-85182-03-5.
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