Monday, June 13, 2011

INCREDIBLE INDIA - Manali...Where it all began...

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.

Panoramic view

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.
Manu Temple

 In the ancient time, Manali was said to be populated by nomadic hunters and gatherers known as "rākshas". Later more civilized shepherds called ‘naurs’ came and started agriculture. As per Mahabharata the Pāndavas stayed in Himachal during their exile. A powerful "rākshas" named Hidimb attacked them when Bhima, the strongest Pandav, killed him. Later Bhima married Hidimb’s sister Hadimba. When Bhima and his brothers returned from exile, Hidimba did not accompany them, but stayed back and did tapasyā and eventually attain the status of a goddess. In her memory the Hadimba temple was build in 1553. Later in 17th century this area was ruled by Raja Jagat Singh who brought the idol of Raghunathji (Ram) from Ayodha and installed it in Kulu, near Manali.

Hadimba Temple
At Hadimba Temple

My new byke

Apple Orchid

Towards Rotang

 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.

You React:


  1. lovely pics. liked to read the history abt manali.

  2.  Agree with does not snow in shimla now just because of the pollution...I hope same does not happen with Manali...

  3. Thanks for your comments Rajesh... its a wonderful place...visit before the crowd spoils it...

  4. sudarshan varadhanJune 21, 2011 at 6:34 PM

    i just came back from manali. i had been there for a vacation recently. agree with you, its a beautiful place but the rate of commercialization and the quantum of tourists thronging the area is doing no good to the natural beauty that one usually associates with the place. the presence of activists protesting against the use of plastics doesn't seem to be working. seriously hope the government does something about it. the pollution near the bridge on the way to rohtang is alarming. too much of smoke and believe me or not, i was sweating due to the torrid temperture in spite of snow all around me and choking due to the amount of smoke!

  5. Gorgeous shots of the place, I liked your new bike.
    This place is in my wish list for a long time now.

  6. Thanks Sanjana...yes, it has a divine beauty...

  7. thanks Arti.....bon voyage!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. thanks for your comments took that ride when u were 5...I was probably the oldest guy taking that;-)

  9. I have been to manali when I was i think around 5 and I don't remember much except that it was cold. And yes I too had a trip on your bike ;)

  10. Superb... Wonderful captures, I especially loved your new bike :D! Great post, Makes me wanna pack my bags and leave for Manali right now :)

  11. Sanjana SrivastavaJune 21, 2011 at 6:34 PM

    Wow...Manali seems to be so divine :)
    Nice one :)

  12. Very interesting post... equally interesting photos

  13. That's good to know....I thought there was only 1 temple build for to know about that

    thanks Jyoti

  14. an amazing place...thanks for your comments Prateek

  15. I have been to Manali and it is one of the most wonderful places I have been to. Reading this post reminded me every inch of Manali.
    Hotel adjacent to gushing Beas river, boating in lake, temples, market, Rohtang Pass, last minute snowfall. 
    Nice post Sub.

  16. I will call  this an idea travel post...
    history-present all summed up well.

    yeah u connected it so right that Manu, Noah, Nuwa, flood myth are in some way entwined and share something in common.

    We have a Manu-Satrupa temple in Nemisharanya, Uttar Pradesh, India. I have visited this place last month. Its an awesome place and full of mythology.


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