Set among snow-covered mountains and thick forests, Manali is located at the northern end of the scenic Kullu Valley. The Himalayan hill town lies more than 6,000 feet (1,800 meters) above sea level and attracts nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts year-round. Ski down mountain slopes, ride river rapids, unwind in warm thermal waters and explore a cave temple.
The wilderness around Manali lends itself to a variety of outdoor activities. If you are feeling adventurous, hike through the Rohtang Pass. Positioned at 13,050 feet (4,000 meters) above sea level, the high mountain pass rewards you with fantastic views of the surrounding ranges. For the less intrepid, rent a car to drive through the elevated landscape.
Go rafting over the rapids of the Beas River and paraglide above Himalayan peaks. Mountain bike across the rough terrain and scale the cliffs of Solang Valley. If you are visiting during the winter, strap on your skis and slalom down the valley's slopes.
After all that physical exertion, unwind with a long soak in the hot, sulphurous springs of Kalath and Vashisht. Some people believe that the natural spring water has medicinal properties that can alleviate skin and joint-related conditions.
Experience more moments of tranquillity at the Hadimba Temple, an ancient cave temple that dates back to the middle of the 16th century. The ancient shrine at the foot of the Himalayas is dedicated to Hidimbi Devi, a character in the Indian epic Mahabharata.
Another must-see destination is Old Manali, situated about 1.8 miles (3 kilometers) outside of Manali. The main attractions here are the apple orchards, riverside cafés, Manu Temple and the ruins of Manaligarh Fort.
Manali is about 342 miles (550 kilometers) from New Delhi, the capital of India. The town does not have its own airport or train station, but there are bus services from several cities, including the capital. Manali is a popular spot for backpackers who rest here for a few days before embarking on a trek into the mountains towards Ladakh, Spiti and Lahaul.