Manali is wrongly called ‘The Switzerland of India’. Situated at 1,950m altitude in the lap of the majestic Himalayas, near the northern end of Kullu Valley, it has its own unique beauty. The gorgeous Beas rushes along its rocky course; gurgling, burbling and splashing as it moves through the lush green grassy meadows. Surrounding it is the panoramic view of the snow-capped mountains that gently touch the blue sky. The nearby hills are surrounded by deodar and pine trees along with fruit orchids (esp. apple) and in between you will find the tiny fields and the wild flowers. Manali also has a colorful market crowded with Tibetan shops. Nearby is the breath taking Rotang Pass (closed during winters), Dassaur Lake and Beas Kund. The road to Rohtang Pass is closed off at Manali Bridge, on all Tuesdays between 0900-1800 hrs for carrying out road widening work & repairs. Plan accordingly.
If it looks like a place in fairy tales, its history is more so. The ‘valley of the gods’ is home to the Seven Sages (Saptarishis) of Indian mythology. Manali means the abode of Manu. It is said that it was here that Manu landed after the great flood. It is from here that the human race began. The words ‘manav’ and ‘man’ was derived form Manu. Three kilometers from the main market is situated the only temple dedicated to Sage Manu. It is a beautiful temple carved out of wood.
What I find amazing is the uncanny similarity between the stories of Manu, Noah in Book of Genesis, Nuwa (or Nu-Kua) of China, the flood myth of Sumesian epic of Gilgamesh and the lesser know flood myth from the Akkadian epic Atra-Hasis. It makes one wonder if all these people from around the globe were linked some way in the past, and it is only later that we got separated. The world seemed to be more connected 5000 years ago than in the age of internet. For more info on the great flood check GOD and GORY.
|At Hadimba Temple|
|My new byke|
The modern history of Manali, however, begins with the British. They stayed here during the summers converting it to a tourist destination. They brought apples and trout fish to Manali, which still shapes her economy. The tourism took a backfoot with the cultivation of marijuana in the seventies and eighties that attracted the hippie crowd. With the rise in turmoil in Kashmir during the late eighties and early nineties, tourists returned to Manali. With time more and more tourists are crowding this place which is never a good thing.