Prime Attractions of Manali
Hidimba Devi Temple
Hadimba or Dhungiri temple in Manali is one of the most important temples in the region. This four story wooden temple is located in the middle of a forest called the Dhungiri Van Vihar.
Situated about 51 kms from Manali town at an altitude of 4,111 metres (13,400 ft) on the highway to Keylong, is Rohtang Pass. Now regular bus service plies over it from Manali to Keylong in Lahaul district. Here one sees the majesty of the mountains at its height and splendour. At the top of the Pass the air seems to glitter against the snow as you look down over herringboned ridges into the Lahaul Valley. There is a beautiful Dashohar Lake left to the pass, where pilgrims go every year on the auspicious day of 20th Bhadon. This is the only access to Lahaul valley. The pass is open from June to September each year although trekkers can cross the pass a little earlier.
Gurudwara Manikaran Sahib
The Manikaran Gurudwara or Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji Gurudwara is commemorated to the visit of Guru Nanak Dev to this place. It is mentioned in the Janam Sakhi or the 'Twarikh Guru Khalsa' by Giani Gian Singh. It has been mentioned that accompanied by his disciple Bhai Mardana, the Guru reached Jwalamukhi temple after visiting Kalanaur, Gurdaspur, Dasuya, Triloknath, Palampur and Kangra. The Guru then proceeded towards Mandi and after visiting Chamba and Kulu, he came to Bijli Mahadev. After preaching at all these places Guru Nanak Dev came to Mani Karan. The Janam Sakhi or the "Autobiography of Bhai Mardana" mentions the miracles did by the Guru. The Guru came to Mani Karan along with his Five 'Piaras' or followers.
The Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji Gurudwara provides some extraordinary sights. One can enjoy a dip in the hot waters from the springs. There are altogether three baths, one is located under the Gurudwara itself. By taking bath here and by drinking water of this place, people go to Heaven, this is said of the Manikaran tract since the times immemorial. It is understood that the Manikaran hot spring is said to have got Uranium and other radio active minerals.
Across River Beas, about three kilometres from Manali at an altitude of 2,100 metres is the village Vashisht. It has a 4,000-year-old temple dedicated to sage Vashisht. Legend has it that Rishi Vashisht felt most hurt and sad when he learnt that all his sons were killed by Viswamitra.
One day, tied with ropes, he flung himself down into the river. But the divine river did not allow him to get drowned. The Rishi resumed his meditation at a place where village Vashisht stands today. The river assumed the name of Vipasha meaning liberator from the bondage. Vipasha, later came to be called Beas.
The temple is also famous for its hot sulphur springs. According to legend, Lakshmana who visited this ashram of Vashisht found that his guru had to go far off for his bath.
He shot an arrow at this place and water sprang out. Shower-fitted Turkish style bathrooms have made the spring a popular spot. It is believed to have been built by King Janamejaya, in memory of Raja Parikshit, his father.
Inside the temple there is a black stone image of the Rishi, clad in dhoti. On the left side of the spring, there is a Rama temple in which the idols of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana have been installed. Dussehra is celebrated for seven days. The village was the centre of Vaishnava cult for a long time.
Dharamsala popularly known as the Scotland of India, is one of the 80 hill stations established by the British between 1815 and 1847 and has one of the most spectacular settings for a hill station is closest to the perennial snow-line and is built along a spur of the Dhaula Dhar range. Dharamsala is surrounded by deodar forests and provides a superb view of the great granite mountains that almost cover the town.
Dharamsala, where the Dalai Lama has settled in exile, is a marvelous Tibetan township where an entire cultural tradition is being nurtured. It is a centre that attracts scholars, pilgrims and tourists. The snow line is perhaps more easily accessible at Dharamshala than at any other hill resort and it is possible to trek to snow point after an early morning's start.