Planning a trip to the hills? Well, Shimla and Manali in Himachal Pradesh offer unparalleled landscapes of snowcapped mountains, enchanting lakes, rippling rivers and guaranteed no holds barred fun. Once a summer capital of British India, Shimla still retains the charm of that Colonial era. And the other Himachali town of Manali is set on the banks of Beas river in Kullu district and is a popular honeymoon and backpacking destination. You can also easily combine the two of them in an 8-9 days trip, in any order. First of all, let’s get down to the essentials of visiting these queens of hills. Click here to see 100+ Shimla Manali Trip itineraries.
Shimla, the European Aura
Getting around: Approximately 350 km from New Delhi, and 118 km from Chandigarh, the best way to reach Shimla is to catch any of the up teem private or state run buses plying from Delhi enroute Chandigarh or hire a car or self-drive (~10 hours from Delhi). Else, the world heritage narrow gauge railways connect Shimla to Kalka which is abundantly connected to all the major cities of India. Private or state run buses connect Shimla to nearby tourist places. Click here to register for the upcoming 26Jan weekend trips to 10+ wanderlust destinations nearby Delhi.
Best Time to Visit: Well, you will love the place no matter what time of year you choose to come. Click here to see the wide range of wanderlust destinations trips nearby Delhi.
What to do? The small bustling town of Shimla with its beautiful churches, mall road and buildings, reminiscent of British Raj draws you in its history and beauty. As you stroll through its streets, you find the traces of time past and are enchanted by the beautiful landscapes. The central part of the town can be best enjoyed on foot as vehicles are mostly barred here.
Must visit places: Must visit places in Shimla include the Ridge, Mall Road, Jakhoo, Christ Church and Green Valley. The walk through a canopy of pine trees to reach the ancient Jakhoo temple is reinvigorating and rewards with great views of the surrounding Shivalik Ranges. The 30 meter tall statue of Lord Hanuman at the temple is one of its kinds in the world. Kufri, located about 19 km from Shimla is a must visit for its enchanting vistas of snow clad hills and offers skiing, hiking and myriad other activities for the adventure enthusiasts. And as they say, the journey is more rewarding than the destination. Enroute to Kufri, make a pit stop at Green Valley for maybe the best photographs you will have of your vacation. It is not called green in vain. The valley is acres and acres of thick pine and deodar forests blanketed by verdant hills on all sides and distant snow-capped Himalayan ranges. The Viceregal Lodge, one of the most iconic and prettiest buildings is located some 2 km west of Shimla on the summit of Observatory Hill and makes a great excursion. One can also visit Manjathal Sanctuary, Chadwick Waterfall, Shaily Peak, Shimla State Museum and Annandale.
Don’t miss to Grab a Bite: You can choose from a number of cafes and restaurants on the mall road for savory bites and live music. Wake and Bake café and Highroad cafe are quite popular. And, the locals swear by the hot salami burgers from Beekays. Also, how can you but not indulge in shopping on the Mall Road. Roam around in the Lakkar bazaar to take back a souvenir with you. Click here to see 100+ Shimla Manali Trip itineraries.
Now, what about Manali?
Getting around: Almost 250 km from Shimla or a 6 hours’ drive, lies the surreal town of Manali. The nearest airport is Kullu-Manali Airport (KUU) at Bhuntar, about 50 km away from Manali. Regular flights connect the airport to Delhi and Chandigarh. Also, Manali is very well-connected to important tourist destinations like Shimla, Kullu, Dharamshala and New Delhi by state-run /private buses. Road/self-drive remains a popular option and offer all the time you want to take in the breathtaking views.
Best Time to Visit: The summer months of March to June offer pleasant climate in bounty to enjoy outdoor activities like river rafting, paragliding, trekking and other adventures. Cold starts to set in from October with snow showers in late December and January (if you are looking for snowfall, not miss Manali in the winter months). The monsoon months of July and August witness heavy rainfalls and landslides and could be avoided. Also, roads to Rohtang Pass are closed from January to April. Click here to register for the upcoming 26Jan weekend trips to 10+ wanderlust destinations nearby Delhi.
What to do? The picture perfect landscapes and crisp air will have you swooning over this paradise. On your way from Shimla to Manali, seek blessings at Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara, a major pilgrimage centre and also famous for its natural hot water springs. Indulge in sightseeing of all the popular spots of the beautiful Kullu valley.
Must visit places: Manali has a lot of other amazing places to visit such as Hidimba Devi Temple, Vashisht and Manu temples, Clubhouse, local market and mall Road. For the nature and wildlife enthusiasts, Great Himalayan National Park and Manali Sanctuary are close by to explore. The famous Tibetan monastery is beautiful and infuses happiness and serenity. The Vashisht Temple, about 3 km away from Manali is well-known for its natural hot water springs. Popular for its mythological significance, Arjuna Gufa is located about 20 kms near Prini Village. Devotees come to visit the place where Arjuna meditated to earn the powers of Pashupati Astra from Lord Indra. You can also enjoy the Manali winter carnival if you are planning to go in first week of January and enjoy some great band performances, food festivals, plays, folk dances, adventure sports and much more.
The beautiful Solang valley is Utopia for any adventure lover with Zorbing, paragliding, snowboarding, skiing, parachuting, horse riding and lots more to indulge in. And the snow covered Rohtang Pass is always a sight to behold. Make a snowman or indulge in snow fights. Do not forget to get your pictures clicked with the snow clad cliffs and amazing snow graffiti done by the locals. and coffee at the snow point. Indulge in some souvenir shopping in the local markets.
Don’t miss to Grab a Bite: Walk on the snow and treat yourself to steaming hot noodles and momos or sip on warm tea. If you are fond of non-vegetarian foods, “Trout Fish” is a must try. Head to Chopstick at Manali Mall Road for delicious chinese cuisines. Click here to see 100+ Shimla Manali Trip itineraries.
Do visit soon. The hills are always calling to the heart!
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