One day, Varvasvata, the seventh incarnation of Manu found a tiny fish in his bathing water. The fish told him to look after it with devotion as one day it would do him a great service. The seventh Manu cared for the fish till the day it grew so huge that he released it into the sea. Before departing, the fish warned Manu of an impending deluge when the entire world would be submerged and bade him to build a sea worthy ark. When the flood came, Varvasvata and seven sages were towed to safety by Matsya, the fish which is regarded as first avatar of Lord Vishnu. As the water subsided the seventh Manu's ark came to the rest on a hill side and the place was named Manali (2050 m) after him.
As the flood slowly dried, here arose a place of breath- taking natural beauty which was only appropriate at Manali that life began again. Today this legendary cradle of all human kind is a prime holiday destination. There are high mountains surrounded by snow and deep boulder strewn gorges. There are thick forests full of cool breeze and bird songs. There are fields of wild flowers, small picturesque hamlets and fruit laden orchards.
ACCESS : The airport at Bhunter is 50 km from Manali where taxis and buses are available. The closest narrow gauge railhead is at Joginder Nagar, 165 km away. The closest broad gauge rail heads are Chandigarh (310 km) and Ambala (355 km). By road the distance from Delhi is 570 km and from Shimla the distance is 280 km. From Delhi, there is a regular HPTDC Luxury and Volvo Coach to Manali. HPTDC runs Luxury coach from Shimla to Manali in tourist season.
CLIMATE : In winter, the temperature can drop to below freezing point when heavy woolens are required. Summer temperature are mild and light woolens / cottons are recommended.
PLACES OF INTEREST
HADIMBA TEMPLE (1 km) : Built in 1553 with a superbly crafted four tiered pagoda roof, it is famous for its exquisitely carved doorway.
MANU TEMPLE (2 km) : This is dedicated to the sage Manu situated at old Manali.
VASHISTH (3 km) : Well known for its hot springs. There are old temples dedicated to the sage Vashisth and to Lord Rama.
MONASTERIES : There are three recently built Tibetan monasteries at Manali.
JAGATSUKH (6 km) : The one time capital of Kullu. Here are old temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and to Sandhya Gayatri. The Arjun caves are just ahead.
SOLANG VALLEY(14 km) : In a picturesque setting this has good ski slopes and picnic spots.
ROHTANG PASS : On the road to Keylong is the Nehru Kund (6km) which is a clear water spring scenic spot named after the Late Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. Kothi (12km) is a picturesque village and has a thrilling view of the deep gorge through which the Beas swiftly races. The beautiful Rahalla falls (16km) are at at altitude of 2500m. A crucial link on the old trade route and still the gateway to trans Himalayan Lahaul, the Rohtang Pass is at height of 3978 m.