July 8, 2015 The Gypsy Diary 0Comment

Starting off as an small town at the head of an ancient trading route that lead to Ladakh and onwards across the Karakoram Ranges to the Tarim Basim, Manali today is the hotbed of adventure tourism in Himachal Pradesh. From trekking to rafting to skiing and paragliding- Manali has it all. This coupled with the spectacular scenery that has everything from towering mountains, snowy passes, sparkling rivers and apple orchards, draws lakhs of tourists and travelers, both from the country and abroad, every year.

In this article, we list our favorite day treks around Manali. Take a break from the over crowded streets and the regular sight-seeing and explore this picturesque town. Please note that unless you are a seasoned explorer, we recommend taking a guide.

Drop us a line and we will plan any of these treks for you!

#1. Lamadugh Trek

Perhaps the most popular in the upper Beas Valley, the Lamadugh Trek is a pleasant 6 km trek through forests of oak, fir and deodar. The trek starts from the Hadimba Temple, 2.5 km from Manali, and goes along the Manaslu Nala. The initial climb is steep and soon you will reach a huge rock called Bara Pathar, above which there is a small meadow before a steep 400 m ascent through thick woods till we reach the open glade (2950 m) hemmed by maple, spruce and oak. Enroute, you will be treated to fabulous vistas of snow-clad peaks and the Manali town below. The meadows of Lamadugh are used as grazing grounds by shepherds. In summer, the green grass is lost behind dollops of wild blue primrose. Lamadugh offers stunning views of the Indrasen, Deo Tibba and Hanuman Tibba Peaks. Monal pheasants and Tragopans can be spotted here.

Duration: 4-5 hrs
Highest Altitude:  2950 m
Trekking distance: 6 km one-way
Best Season: April to November

On the way to Lamadugh

The way to Lamadugh

#2. Bijli Mahadev Trek

The Bijli Mahadev Temple has a 60 ft high staff that is said to attract divine blessings in the form of lightening and each time, the Shiva Lingam inside shatters and the priest has to restore it using butter and sattoo. The trek begins from the village of Chanseri, 12 km ahead of Kullu. From here, a 3 km trail has been lead out by the Forest Department until Bijli Mahadev. The incline is steep and goes through apple orchards and quaint villages before opening out on the meadows of the temple. Spectacular views of the Kullu Valley as well as the Beas-Parvati confluence can be had from here. The wood and stone temple is built in typical hill architecture with a 1.5 ft tall Shiva Lingam in the inner sanctum. It is believed to have been established by Shankaracharya to revive Hinduism. For the interested, you can add another day and descend down to Naggar through the dense forests of the Kais Wildlife Sanctuary.

Duration: 2-3 hrs
Highest Altitude:  2460 m
Trekking distance: 3 km one-way
Best Season: May to November 

Bijli Mahadev in winter

Bijli Mahadev in winter (Photo Courtesy: Touchtalent.com)

#3. Dashaur Lake Trek

Appearing straight like a scene from Frozen, the Dashaur Lake is an overdose of beauty! Located at an altitude of 4408 m near the Rohtang Pass, it remains frozen for most of the year- imagine an impossibly blue, icy saucer in the midst of all the whiteness! In August/September, it draws a number of pilgrims who consider it sacred. Geographically, it is a glacial lake snug in a saddle of the Pir Panjal Range. There are two routes to the lake- one starts from the top of the Rohtang Pass and the other branches off at Rani Nallah, approximately 2 km before Rohtang Top from Manali. From here, it is an almost constant gradient to the lake. The lake is ringed by several cliffs and snow peaks, the most well known of which is Mount Ghepan, the abode of Lord Ghepan, the presiding deity of Lahaul. Note that the trail is not well marked except for cairns at some of the bends.

Duration: 5-6 hrs
Highest Altitude:  4408 m
Trekking distance: 6 km one-way
Best Season: May to October


Dashaur Lake

Dashaur Lake (Photo Courtesy: Tarun Goel)

#4. Jogini Falls Trek

The Jogini Falls is one of Manali's best-kept secrets. The route leads out of the town, crosses the main bridge over Beas and heads out towards the Vashist Temple. There are numerous shops on the way- some with exquisite Tibetan jewellery glittering in the windows- and cafes. In early summer, the hillside comes alive with fragrant wild roses in white and red. Stop at the Vashist Temple and gawk at the splendid woodcarving on the facade. Despite the crowds, you can take a dip in the hot sulphur spring inside. From here, it is a gradual incline to the Jogini Falls. Often there is a rainbow accentuating its beauty. The temple of Goddess Jogini here is considered as a Shakti Peetha. Take a dip in the small pool or climb to the top of the falls and admire the scenery- towering snowy peaks against blue skies- before retracing your steps towards town.

Duration: 2-3 hrs
Highest Altitude:  4250 m
Trekking distance: 5 km one-way
Best Season: April to November


Jogini Falls

Jogini Falls (Photo Courtesy: Flickr) 

#5. Patalsu Peak Trek

The Patalsu Peak towers at the head of the Kullu Valley. Though most trekking agencies include a night of camping on the meadows of Shagadugh, the ascent, albeit strenuous, can be done in a day. The trek starts a few metres down the road from Solang Nala. You cross the Beas over a small wooden bridge and follow a winding trail upwards through a forest of pine and oak that is replaced by deodar trees as you go higher. The climb to the top of the 3965 m Patalsu Peak is worth the hard work. You will be mesmerised by the surrounding snow peaks that shimmer against brilliant blue skies. Hanuman Tibba and the Seven Sisters peaks can be seen from here. It is recommended that you start early. Also, beware of the poisonous Cobra plant that has black leaves with green stripes resembling a Cobra's head.

Duration: 5-6 hrs
Highest Altitude:  3965 m
Best Season: April to June

View from the Patalsu Peak

View from the Patalsu Peak (Photo Courtesy: Flickr) 

The area around Manali is a treasure trove, with secrets waiting to be discovered. Tell us if you have discovered a seldom trodden trail or about your favourite day trek around Manali.

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