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Kullu-Manali : A refreshing Himalayan tourist destination

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manali-rafting-beas-river-feature

manali-rafting-beas-river
Photo:RupamRoy

Who amongst all is unaware of the breathtaking scenic beauty of Himachal Pradesh. Besides Shimla-The queen of Hills there are lot many tourist destinations worth a visit. People residing in plains keep looking for smart options to beat the summer heat and have a refreshing break. Not only the hilly regions attract the people in summers, there are many people who plan out their winter breaks in places where they can witness snow covered mountains and enjoy the chilly winter nights.

We, as a Himachal Watcher team have set our goals high and plan to expand our horizon, With the aim to make our readers know about various tourist destinations in Himachal Pradesh we plan to write about them not all in a go but one by one.So, if you are the one who is keen enough to know more about Himachal, its culture, tourism then you got to stay tuned in.

Here, I have chosen one of my favorite travel destination-Manali. Situated at an altitude of 2,050 m which is 6,726 feet in the Beas River Valley, Manali is one tourist destination that witness snow covered mountains (in winters) and superb weather (in summers). It’s a place worth visiting!

Location

Manali is 40 kms away from Kullu to the north, and is situated near the end of the valley on the National Highway that leads to Leh.

Climate :

Minimum temperature in Manali is below -05 C from Oct till March. December, January and February are coldest months but summers make Manali one of the best hill spot worth visiting to beat the scotching heat in plains. The minimum temperature is between 15 to 20 C during this time of the year.

manali-climate

Places that are worth visiting:

Hadimba Temple: Built in 1553, Hadimba is magnificently crafted temple with four tiered pagoda roof and beautifully carved doorway.

Hadimba Temple
Manu Temple: dedicated to the sage Manu is in old Manali and worth visiting.

Manu-Temple--manali

Vashisht: is Well known for hot springs with old temples dedicated to the sage Vashisth and Lord Ram.
Vashisht-manali

Jagatsukh: is one time capital of Kullu with few old temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and Sandhya Gayatri. Also, you can check out the Arjun caves nearby.
Jagatsukh-manali

Solang Valley: is one picturesque setting that has good ski slopes and picnic spots.
Solang-Valley

Rohtang pass: is situated at the height of 3978 m and is one place that won’t want to miss out.
rohtang-pass-manali

The Club House: is all set to appeal you with comprehensive facilities like roller skating rink, an auditorium, billiards rooms, library, bar and restaurant.
Also, there are many Tibetan monasteries that can’ be missed out.

How to reach Manali:

As obvious there are three ways to reach Manali. You can opt for road, rail or by air depending upon the best feasible option from the place you are putting up.

By Train

You can board a train from Chandigarh or Ambala a these are the nearest Broad Gauge Rail Head from Manali. Though Jogindernagar and kalka are not much preferred rail heads but can be chosen if these are feasible.

By Road

Manali is around 540 km from Delhi. So if you are residing somewhere near Delhi, you can opt for bus or hire a private taxi. Manali is easily approachable from Shimla, Leh, Dhramshala.

By Air

The airport nearest to Manali is Bhuntar which is in Kullu, about 50 km from Manali. Indian Airlines and Kingfisher airlines operate flights to Kullu from Delhi and Chandigarh. If you are ready to shell out good amount, then traveling by plane can be a good option.

Stay :
Being a tourist spot, Manali has innumerable hotels and resort. Hotels can be booked online through makemytrip, Expedia and like wise.

Suggestions :

It is suggested that you plan your trip well and book your hotel and other tickets well in advance so that you don’t have to face problem. If you are planning your trip to Manali in winters then don’t forget to carry warm clothes. Plan well in advance to avoid last minute rush and enjoy!

ECO-Tourism

Himachal seeks Rs. 300 crore from Centre to promote religious tourism circuit and eco-adventure tourism

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Religious Tourism in Himachal PRadesh

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh Government has urged the Union Minister for Tourism, K.J. Alphons to sanction three schemes worth Rs. 300 crore to promote religious tourism circuit and eco-adventure tourism in the state.

The Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, during a meeting in New Delhi, apprised the Minister that Himachal was also a major centre of religious tourism and religious tourism circuits will be developed here to provide devotees more facilities.

The Chief Minister also invited Union Minister to Himachal and said that he himself will take him to the tourist destinations of the State. K.J. Alphons whole-heartedly accepted the invitation.

Chief Minister also urged the Centre to provide funds generously for widespread publicity of tourism sites in the state.

The Union Minister of State for Tourism assured the Chief Minister that the Union Government will extend all possible support to this hill state for exploitation and expansion of its tourism potential.

The Chief Minister said that the focus should be on tourism in the state, which was not given before. However, now the state government is giving special emphasis to strengthening infrastructure in virgin natural places, he said.

Himachal has immense potential for adventure tourism and adventure sports like mountaineering, biking, river rafting, and paragliding and the state is considered as a paradise for these adventure sports.

However, it is true that the governments have done very little to polish and maintain the tourism sector.

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ECO-Tourism

Amidst wild animals, without electricity, phone or clock, an old woman lives alone in Great Himalayan National Park

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Great-Himalayan-National-Park

SHIMLA- Have you ever thought of living your entire life in wild, without electricity and electronics, and even a clock? How about the Great National Himalayan Park that is recognized by UNESCO for its incredibly rich bio-diversity? The 754 square kilometer National Park houses 31 mammal species including leopards, the Himalayan black and brown bear, and the ghost cat – snow leopards. There are over 300 bird species, reptiles, hundreds of insect species amid rich Himalayan flora and fauna.  It sounds more like a Hollywood adventure movie. Is it possible to live in such a harmony with nature?  

Indian woman Living in forest alone

Photo: GHNP

There is no habitation for miles as all natives were removed to a separate buffer –zone when the area was declared as a National Park. However, there was a woman, who refused to depart from the nature. She has been sharing the forest with wild animals for decades now. 

Woman lives in himalayan national park

Photo: IANS

So it’s not entirely true that there is no habitation inside the park. An 83-years-old lady, Chatri Devi, still lives in her clay-house, all alone.

Woman lives along in forestPhoto: Xerxespa
She doesn’t have electricity or a phone. She doesn’t even possess a clock and calculate time by following sun. This seclusion, complete isolation and wild animals do not scare her at all.

Leopards and black bears do come near to my house, even with their cubs, but they never attacked me as I am not their prey. Why should I be afraid of them? They go on their way (pointing towards a thick forest adjoining her house),

Chatri Devi says.

chatri devi GHNP

Clay House of Chatri Devi in GHNP/ Photo: Gaurav Chaudhary

It’s not that she doesn’t have a family or is bound to live here. Rather, she has a big family comprising of three married sons, their wives, and nine grandchildren, who live in a village outside the park. It takes about one and half hour walk uphill to reach her from their place.

Great Himalayan National Park

Photo: GHNP

The only reason for her to choose this life in the park is that she loves it as she has a strong emotional attachment to the house she had build with her husband decades ago and small-piece of farmland where the couple grew wheat, barely, potato, corn and rajmah. She is the only one person who refused to relocate when the the area was declared as the GHNP in 1999. 

chatri devi in great himalayan national park

Xerxespa.Blogspot

Her death is the only way to separate her from the house, she said.

When asked if she ever gets bored, she replies,

These birds and animals are also part of my family. Every winter ‘jujuranas’ or western tragopans and gorals descend here. So I ejoy watching them.

These days, as she is very old now, one of the family members come to visit her everyday after taking that hours long uphill walk to ensure she is doing fine and returns by evening. 

She makes a remarkable example of complete harmony with nature and its creature, away from modernised and way far complex, stressful urban life. 

About The Himalayan National Park

Top Image: IANS

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ECO-Tourism

India’s first Igloo hotel in Manali is the fresh tourist attraction in Himachal

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Manali Igloo Stay 4

SHIMLA- Manali Igloo Stay is the fresh tourist attraction not only in Himachal Pradesh, but in entire India. First-of-its- kind, made entirely of snow, the Igloo houses are owned by Kelinga Himalyan Adventures, a winter-sports and travel company that offers ski courses and treks. The company, that comprises of local youth Tashi and Vikas, had been looking for good snowfall to give the concept a try.  It’s eco-friendly, as it used no non-biodegradable material (snow), there would be no waste after it’ll meltdown.

Himachal Igloo hotel

This year, it snowed heavy and temperature was also favorable to build Igloo houses at Sethan village, near Prini. Each structure is made of compressed snow and measures 8×9 foot in width and 6.5 feet in height. The Igloos were opened at the end of the January, 2017. 

The igloos are built by Tashi and Vikas with their friends.

When we discussed this concept with our friends, they were so excited that they spent hours with us and even helped us build them,

the duo told to an English daily.

Igloo hotel himachal

The visitors are provided with bedding, table and lights. Accommodation is available only on a twin-sharing basis as there are only two structures. For sleeping, the visitors are given warm feather sleeping bags and a hot water bottle.
Manali Igloo Stay 2

The temperature is chilling outside, but apparently inside is comparatively warmer. The Igloos can sure save visitors from cold winds outside. So, the idea is quite practical.

Igloo Manali

The company hopes that the Igloos will stand for another month before it begins to meltdown with change in season. The rates vary from 4,500 to 7,000 depending upon different packages.
Manali Igloo Stay 3

Igloos are mainly found in colder parts of the world like Switzerland, Canada, Finland etc. Definitely, it would be entirely a unique experience to find out what it feels to live in an Igaloo. No need to say, these Igloos would be available only in winters, hardly for a couple of months.

That’s not all; visitor can try to build their own Igloo houses at a height of about 9,000 feet, somewhere near Hampta pass.

This year, we have introduced two igloos on a trial basis and it has been successful. Lower areas of Manali, including the town, are warmer than Sethan. We plan to to get this concept registered with the tourism department so that they (officials) can also help us promote it, especially in rural areas,

they said.

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