The mystical places in Manali and their breathtaking views. It is a land that is never short of the calmness it can bring to one’s heart. It is a world of adventures that can send an adrenaline rush down your spine.
Lastly, it is the land that has preserved our rich heritage for decades. Manali gets its name after Lord Manu, the Hindu lawgiver who is known for the recreation of mankind in the world. After a mighty flood destroyed the rest of the world, Lord Manu made this town his abode.
Manali is filled with history at every corner. This article shall look into the 10 historical places in Manali you cannot miss in 2021!
1. Hidimba Devi Temple
The 15th century Hidimba Devi Temple is one of the must-visit tourist places in Manali. Hidimba was the wife of Bheem, the Pandava and this temple was dedicated to her rigorous tapasya. Hidimba was blessed with supernatural powers as a fruit of this tapasya during her later life. It was then that the demoness turned into a goddess and became the saviour of the region.
- Architecture: It carries a unique architecture with a cone-shaped roof with wooden doors and walls. It was built by Maharaja Bahadur Singh in 1553. The shrine of this pagoda-style temple distinguishes it from India’s other religious outlets.
- Entry Fee: Entry is free to all devotees here.
- Opening Hours: It is open every day from 8 am to 6 pm.
- Distance from the city: The temple is located at a 10-minute drive distance while a 20-minute walking distance from Manali. You can take a local autorickshaw from the city as well.
- Things to do: You can indulge yourself in photography and nature walk surrounded by the snow-clad mountains. You can also set up a small camping arena around this area and discover trekking activities.
2. Arjun Gufa
Another epic tourist place in Manali which is associated with Mahabharata is the Arjun Gufa. This cave is named after Arjuna, the Pandava brother who was blessed with the Pashupata Astra by Lord Shiva after he pleased him with his tapasya for years.
- Opening Hours: The cave is open 24 hours every day. However, you must visit it during the day to explore the cave better.
- Picnic Spot: Located alongside River Beas, this cave is surrounded by a scenic view of mountains. You can spend your day adoring the wonders of nature here
- Adventure Activities: It has a unique interior formation without any light inside. Travellers explore their way out of the cave using flashlights through its uneven passage.
3. Vashishtha Baths
When we talk about the historical places in Manali, we cannot miss out on the magic Vashishtha Baths carry. Vashishtha Baths is a hot spring in Manali which is known for its holy water.
- History: This hot spring is situated in the Vashishtha temple, a religious place named after Sage Vashishtha. Sage Vashishtha was one of the Seven Saptarishis associated with the Hindu mythology Ramayana.
- How to reach: The temple is located around 4 to 6 kilometres away from Manali. You may take a walk to the temple or rent a car from the city.
- Architecture: It is a 4000 years old architecture in Manali. The wooden carvings on the temple walls reflect the creative architectures and stories of that decade.
- Things to do: Vashishtha Baths is visited by a large number of tourists who take a dip in the holy water to get rid of their sins and bad karmas. The holy water in this place is also known for curing skin diseases and infections.
4. Nehru Kund
Named after the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, Nehru Kund is another tourist spot to stop by on your search of historical places in Manali. It comes with a fascinating story where Pandit Nehru used to drink water from this natural spring during his stay in Manali.
- How to reach: Nehru Kund falls on the Manali – Rohtang Pass Highway and is located around 5 kilometres away from Manali.
- Things to do: It is known to originate from Bhrigu Lake and has a marvellous view of snow-capped mountains around it. This tourist place mostly attracts photographers and nature lovers to capture some great shots with the natural lights.
- Best time to visit: May to October
5. Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa Monastery
Famous as a Buddhist Religious Centre, the Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa Monastery is a well-known tourist attraction in Manali. This place invites people from all walks of life and religions to soak themselves in the divinity of the monastery.
- History: Built in the 1960s, this monastery was created by the Tibetian Refugees of that time and is still visited by Buddhists from neighbouring regions.
- Opening Hours: The monastery is open 24*7 every day.
- Entry Fee: There is no entry fee for visiting the gompa.
- Architecture: The monastery is commonly known as the Manali Gompa. The roof of the monastery is a yellow-coloured pagoda architecture that reflects the royal facade of the building. The exquisite murals depict the preachings of Lord Buddha on humanity and non-violence.
- Things to do: You will find different stalls and small shops in this place where you can pick up Tibetan handicraft items and souvenirs.
6. Naggar Castle
A medieval mansion in the Beas Valley, the Naggar Castle is a 15th Century-old tourist place in Manali. It was built by Raja Sidh Singh of Kullu in 1460 A.D. which was later converted into a heritage hotel currently managed by the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation.
- Opening Hours: The castle is open every day from 9 am to 6 pm.
- Entry Fee: It has a minimal entry fee of Rs 30.
- Things to do: It showcases a beautiful blend of Himalayan and Western architecture. One can grasp a scenic view of the town and the adjacent forests from this castle.
- Tourist Attractions: One of the main attractions of this place in Manali is the paintings of Russian artist Nicholas Roerich in its art gallery. You will recognize the interiors of this castle from the famous Bollywood song ‘Yeh Ishq Haaye’ from Jab We Met.
7. Manu Temple
While you visit the Beas River Valley for tourist places in Manali, you must visit the great Manu Temple and dive into its mesmerizing tranquillity. The temple was built in honour of King Manu, who was later profoundly known as the Sage Manu of India.
- How to Reach: The temple is situated 53.5 kilometres away from the Kullu Manali Airport. You can take a private vehicle or rent a cab. You can also avail of state transport busses for reaching the temple.
- Opening Hours: The temple is open from 5 am to 9 pm every day for visitors.
- Things to do: It invites trekkers and hikers through the only narrow passage which leads to the shrine. The shrine offers spectacular views of places in Manali nearby. You can click the best shots of nature from this shrine.
8. Museum of Himachal Culture and Folk Art
If you want a sneak peek of the ancient culture that Manali has preserved for us, you must visit the Museum of Himachal Culture and Folk Art. It is a testament to the ancient lifestyle in Himachal. This small yet culturally rich museum was constructed in 1998 to give the tourists a glimpse of the rich heritage of Manali.
- Opening Hours: The museum is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm.
- Entry Fee: The minimal fee is Rs 10 per person.
- Tourist Attractions: The museum consists of a fascinating collection of vintage accessories and items used by the ancient Himachal residents for their everyday activities. It also has models of old buildings and temples displaying the ancient architecture of various places in Manali.
9. Old Manali
Before Manali was flooded by trekkers and backpackers exploring the beauty of the tourist places, it used to be a quiet pilgrimage town. Old Manali is that sleepy part of the town where you can experience serenity away from the city’s hustle. The Malansu River divides Manali into Old Manali and New Manali.
- Things to do: Old Manali is a perfect getaway for people looking for a gentle calmness away from the rat race of the city. You can rent a scooter and ride along the barren roads under the soothing sun.
- Cafes to visit: It consists of some unique ancient cafes namely Cafe 1947, Born Free, Evergreen, and Sunshine. You can enjoy a hot cup of coffee amidst the mild cool breeze and enjoy the light rays of the Sun here.
10. Gauri Shankar Temple
One of the main tourist places in Manali in the Gauri Shakar Temple is its architecture and rich wall carvings. The Gauri Shankar Temple was built in the 12th Century dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is the last structure built in the Gurjara-Pratihara traditions.
- How to Reach: Located 50 meters away from Naggar Castle, you can go for a day’s trip to the temple and explore the unmatched heritage of Manali. You can take a bus from the Kullu Bus Stand to the temple.
- Opening Hours: 8 am to 7 pm every day
- Architecture: The Shikara style of the temple along with the unique wall art is a treat to the eyes of all history buffs and architects.
Manali is a lot more than scenic beauty and adventure. It can be a home for those history buffs who wander places in search of rich heritage and Indian culture. Every tourist place in Manali comes with a historical significance that can leave you stunned. Manali has always celebrated our ancient history and rich art through its stunning architecture and places.
We hope this article gave you an insight into the different historical places you can visit on your next trip to historical places in Manali. Keep reading! Keep exploring!