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Walking along the narrow stone alleyways of Old Manali and Vashisht, you might be forgiven for thinking that the 1960s were still in full swing. Hippies and stoners have been coming to this laid-back Himalayan hill station for decades to take advantage of the marijuana that grows prolifically in the surrounding hills. That’s one side of Manali. The other side of this popular hill resort is the lure of adventurous, outdoorsy activities. The rugged country around Manali is a natural playground for trekking, rafting, rock-climbing, mountain-biking, paragliding and skiing, attracting plenty of adrenaline junkies. Conversely, Indian tourists come ...

Walking along the narrow stone alleyways of Old Manali and Vashisht, you might be forgiven for thinking that the 1960s were still in full swing. Hippies and stoners have been coming to this laid-back Himalayan hill station for decades to take advantage of the marijuana that grows prolifically in the surrounding hills. That’s one side of Manali. The other side of this popular hill resort is the lure of adventurous, outdoorsy activities. The rugged country around Manali is a natural playground for trekking, rafting, rock-climbing, mountain-biking, paragliding and skiing, attracting plenty of adrenaline junkies. Conversely, Indian tourists come here for the peaceful setting, the ancient temples, the grand country lodge hotels, and the chance to play in the snow in winter. Manali also marks the gateway to the high Himalaya — from July to October, jeeps and buses run north on the rugged dirt road to Leh in Ladakh, a grueling two-day journey that passes through some of the most dramatic landscapes on earth.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Located in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh, India, in the north of the Kullu Valley.
  • Language: English, Hindi, Himachali
  • Currency: Indian Rupee
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    September to December and March to June for trekking and adventure sports; July to October for buses to Ladakh