7 Reasons Why You Must Visit Manali in Winter

If there is one place in India everyone wants to visit as soon as possible, it’s undoubtedly Manali. A hill station with a perfect natural canvas all around, Manali never fails to win the hearts of travelers. People do rush to this destination without thinking for a very long time, it’s getting more and more popular. But Manali in Winter is magical and one should once experience it in their lifetime. There are many reasons behind the popularity of Manali as from the day travelers found this hamlet, there has been no retrospective journey of its progress as a backpacker’s paradise.

Manali, being a resort town located in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh, is one of the most popular travel destinations in India. The list is very long if we consider what Manali has to offer to one wanderlust soul. When you open the window of your room and find glittering mountain peaks standing next to your stay, you find no other thing valuable in your life. But apart from the mountains and dense forest of pine, deodar, and oaks, Manali is keeping so many gifts in its street.  How about a walk on the famous “mall road” to treat your shopping warm or foody side?  What about exploring the nooks and corners to witness different cultures and life? What if a walk through the streets presents you with the cafes which have touchy décor from inside out to mesmerize you totally? Want to experience snow-playing, trekking, paragliding, or skiing? You’re just one decision away to do all of these things in one go.

things to do in manali in winter

Old Manali is all about the typical backpacking culture. Once you set out to explore Manali, you will always end up feeling like you’re having very few days in your hands. Manali never recedes when it comes to making you happy. There are so many historical landmarks and their stories too which keep Manali always grand from the ancient view. Hidimba temple, Manu temple, Vashisht, and Naggar are the best example. You can go for a day hike, you can go for adventures like paragliding, skiing or rappelling. If you need peace or if you want to party, if you need a good family time or if you want to indulge in any adventure, Manali is a perfect destination to start with. But let’s see why you should visit Manali during winters, putting it on a top priority and why it is considered as one of the Best Places to Visit in Winter in India. If you haven’t been to Manali in Winter, here are 7 Reasons to Visit Manali in Winter.

Manali in Winter: Snow in Manali & Snowy Vistas Around

Manali in other seasons and Manali in winters, both of them are completely different phenomena. As soon as snow-fall becomes frequent, the surrounded world goes into hibernation. The carpets of snow cover the uneven and diverse landscapes of Manali. Entire towns wear a white-sheath of snow, and you just can’t keep calm. It just becomes beautiful, a typical winter-wonderland we all want to be in.

Many people haven’t seen live snow-fall in their entire life yet. But witnessing live snow-fall for the first time and that too in Manali becomes special. The reason being, it has vivid landscapes to welcome the snow and beautify the surroundings. All of the mountain slopes treasure this snow for a long time so it keeps you rejuvenating with different views every day. Have you ever stood in the mid of tall pine trees and looked up to the sky when snow-flakes make their way through?  

Manali in winter activities

The snowy streets become the playground for children. Your eyes just need a catch to see children welcoming the snow with their adventurous side. There are many destinations close to Manali, like Sethan, where you can do skiing, snow-gliding, snow-boarding, and enjoy the igloo stay. The little villages located on the hills around Manali are perfect spots to catch the bird-eye-view of Manali.  Solang valley is another destination to give a treat to your adventure side. A snowy panorama of Manali could give you a different vision forever if you’re such an observer who believes in beholding things affectingly. Manali Snow season typically runs from November- February OR Mid March, so you can plan your trip accordingly.

Explore the CAFÉ-CULTURE

Manali is the origin of café-culture in India which is widespread across the country now. Way back, backpackers across the world demanded such a culture that celebrates music, food, and cozy corners. Old Manali is bustling with countless cafes which have different identity according to their set-up, food, and views. Once you’re in the small streets of Old Manali, you see a surprising street-graffiti everywhere. Colorful streets become more vibrant with live-music in any café nearby. Music, touchy décor, food, and drink, you have covered everything if you just find any good corner of café.

But the plus-point of visiting cafes there in winter is that there is not much crowd. Your corner tells you to stay longer and enjoy the moment.  You, along with your drink or food, can sit at one place while getting lost in trippy décor or awe-inspiring views. You feel like not going an inch away from your spot next to any local tandoor. While keeping yourself warm, you don’t even know when the song, which is being played in live music, takes you back to those nostalgic days of yours. It becomes a lifetime memory when visited such cafes with loved ones. From views, ambiance, music to the fragrance of food, everything stays in your heart forever.

Below is the list of cafes you must visit while you’re in Old Manali.

  • Café Evergreen
  • People’s café
  • Sky Garden Manali
  • Sunshine
  • Renaissance
  • The Lazy Dog
  • Rocky’s café
  • Johnson’s café

Also Read: Offbeat Things to do in Manali

Manali in Winter: Day Hikes from Manali

Manali is a resort town nestled on the hills. Being scattered on the hilly curves all around, there are endless forest trails to follow. All you need to do is waking up to sun rays and following your heart. You can either wander around the streets of old villages or take it up to the higher points. Snow-dotted forests allure you from all around when you set out for a walk.  The little alleys bring you to spots from where you can see the world with aerial views. Never-ending forest trails originating from anywhere have that tendency to boost you up in a typical Manali cold.

Manali in winter hikes

It takes just a few minutes to reach any such venue.  Just imagine, you’re on a tiny trail, going through sky-touching pine forest. The patches of snow beautify the landscapes, and you’re going on while facing a chilled breeze from the opposite side. You’re alone and here comes a spot from where the entire world seems tiny, yet beautiful.  Don’t you want to yell to your other side? A cup of tea with Maggi at any Dhaba or eatery on the way is all that we need after a hike.

You can hike to Jogini waterfall via Vashisht village, which is another nest of backpackers. Hike to Nasogi, Prini, Naggar villages is easy and equally wonderful. They will take you through a variety of different landscapes. For longer and tougher treks, you can consider Lamadug, Ranisui, Beas Kund, and Brighu lake. Though the availability of this trekking destination depends on the amount of snow-fall that place receives. Otherwise, a morning walk anywhere in the locality of Manali is pure bliss. This is another wonderful experience that can be felt well in winters.

Colorful Winter Shopping

To the other side of the story, Manali is a shopping hub that treasures a variety of winter essentials. The Mall Road of Manali, being a popular landmark, is otherwise a perfect destination for your shopping-lust. The environment and weather make it more wonderful when you set out for shopping either in the morning or evening time.

Not only winter essentials but once you stroll down any lane of Manali, you find a lot of new stuff to hop on. The market is vast and diversity keeps it alive all the time. Be it colorful jackets, woolen clothes, or unbelievable designs, you’re just one step away. From local cheaper clothes to branded stuff, the market around the Mall road has everything. Winter shopping is always fun, and when it’s done in Manali, it lingers in your heart forever. Manali has that kind of life that needs to be supplied by this diverse winter-stuff, and that’s the reason why these markets are vibrant.

 The best landmarks to treat your shopping side are below:

  • The Mall Road
  • Old Manali
  • Vashisht market

Also Read : Perfect One week Kashmir Itinerary

Manali in Winter : Have More and More Adventures in Snow

Winter is a gateway to all the famous adventures that stud stars in the journey of Manali. Just because the world becomes snowy, it opens many ways for adventure lovers. Rafting becomes easy in the winters due to the steady flow of water, which remains heavy and unsteady in summer or monsoon. Kullu and Manali both are famous for rafting, and you can do it anywhere during winter month especially during December month. Rafting and Snow activities are some of the best things to do in Manali in December.

Manali in winter  activities to do

All the snow activities only become available when there is a decent amount of snow around especially in December. Paragliding over the white-snowy vistas is a rejuvenating experience as it gives you a different kind of kick. Skiing, snow-gliding, snow playing, or your wild wish of making snow-man, it’s all about the matter of Manali in winter. Be it staying in Igloo or Ice-walk, you can fulfill your dreams at one place during winter. Rappelling and river crossing can also be done at multiple points because there are so many streams, rivers, and rivulets. The hot-air balloon ride is also available nearby Kalath, Manali. Vashisht and Kalath villages have hot-water springs, which are basically sources of Sulfur mixed water. Can you imagine the feelings of having a bath in natural hot water while facing this cold?

But it’s just winter that adds spices to whatever adventure activity you’re going to opt for. Solang valley serves the purpose of an ideal adventure spot in Manali. The list of adventure activities that can be done there is very long. So you just need to be present there during winters. You can take it to Atal tunnel or Rohtang side if it’s possible.

Manali in Winter : Experience Slow Life and Local Culture

Winter allows the mountains to go back with a slower pace of life. It is just a matter of time. But you can witness the changes in all aspects when you’re present there. Pahadi people are a bit lazy as they believe to celebrate their momentary life. But when you visit them in winters, you see a vast change from their daily life. People tend to sit around the tandoor for hours just to get warm. This way, villagers set out for meeting at someone’s house for one day, and it’s going on.

The beauty of waking up late with the arrival of sunlight in the room can be felt at that moment.  Just after waking up lazily, people don’t have tasks to do. They just take a cup of tea and soak themselves in the pleasant sunlight of the morning. The sunbathing experience in Manali during winters become therapeutic. The women get together at one point where sunlight remains constant. Sitting on the plinths or wooden planks, they enjoy their long storytelling sessions while knitting any woolen cap or gloves.  The children play with snow. Some of them enjoy snow-sliding while some of them can be seen enjoying with dogs. The entire world seems to be enjoying the moment while not racing or running behind anything.

These typical winter scenes of Manali can teach you a lot of things about life. Just day-hikes around, and you’re done with the day.  The rituals of bringing Mata home and other religious celebrations are more often in winters. So you have got a big reason to visit Manali in winters now.

Also Read : The Ultimate Rishikesh Travel Guide

Roads Remains Always Open

The biggest reason to choose Manali as your next winter destination is this. No matter how much snow-fall it receives, the road to Manali never gets blocked. This is a drawback to visiting other places in winter as most of them suffer from road connectivity. Four-lane up to Manali, this road remains open even just after heavy snow-fall. Being a part of the busiest road and national highway, the cost of letting it closed is unrepayable.

So that means, you can reach Manali anytime in the winters. Then why are you thinking about it? We have given you the reasons for which you just can’t keep calm this winter. Pack your bags and leave for a journey that is meant to be taken by you.

Conclusion: When you are visiting Manali, almost nothing can go wrong even if you visit in the Winters.  If you are planning a trip to Manali, be it a solo trip, your honeymoon, or just an adventure with friends, this destination will not disappoint you!

How to Reach Manali

Manali is situated in North India in the state of Himachal Pradesh. It is 536 Kms from Delhi and 246 Kms from Popular Hill Station Shimla. The Nearest airport is Bhuntur, located 50 km away. You can reach Manali via HRSTC Buses or Private Volva Buses from Delhi. If you want comfortable travel, you can hire a car for the entire duration of the trip from Delhi. It is a 10-12 hours journey from Delhi to Manali.

manali visit in january winter season

Where to Stay in Manali

Manali Offers a range of stay options from Luxury and budget travelers to backpackers. Here are the best options for your trip to Manali in winter. Resorts in Manali offer some scintillating views of the surroundings from the comfort of your bedroom. Old Manali area is more famous with backpackers while Mall Road is famous among travelers with families.

Shivadya Resort, Manali: This Boutique hotel located near Karjan in Manali is located at a serene location, surrounded by apple orchards. The views are mesmerizing from the property. You can Book it here.

Broadways Inn: This budget hotel is located in the center of Manali yet walking distance from Mall Road, this hotel is perfect for visiting all the sightseeing places of Manali. The location is excellent with the Best Views. Check out the latest rates here.

Kalista Resort: Surrounded by snow-clad mountains, this boutique hotel is located on the way to Solang valley. If you are looking for the best hotel to stay in with views and amazing service, it will not disappoint you. Check out the prices here.

If you are backpacker, you can try Gostops, Yolo Backpackers, Moustache, Madpackers Hostels, and Zostel in Manali.

General Manali in Winter FAQs

Is it Safe to Visit Manali in December?

Yes, Manali is very safe to Visit in the Winter Months. December is a good time to visit Manali. The Rohtang Pass remains closed in December but you will get Plenty of Snow at Solang Valley. Solang Valley remains open in December.

Which Month Does it Snow in Manali?

Usually just after Monsoon from Sept end to February is Winter season and the Best time to visit Manali. But If you love Snow then November end to February is the best time to enjoy the snow and snowy vistas. December and January receive the highest snowfall in Manali. The temperature drops down below zero degrees Celsius in December-January! December is right time to visit Manali.

Which are the Best Things to Buy in Manali?

Manali has a vibrant ad Colorful Market in the center of Town at Mall Road. You can Purchase Himalayan & Tibetan Handicrafts, Colorful Sweaters, Kullu Shawls, Thangkas, Prayer Wheels, Tibetan Flags, Woolen Tops, Woolen Scarfs, Woolen Caps, and Jackets at a reasonable price. Don’t forget to buy Himachali Cap!

What Clothes to Wear in Manali in December??

Manali in December can be crazy as you will freeze in Minus temperature. Here is your quick guide on what to pack for the Manali trip- You need to carry thermals, warm socks, Sweaters, a down jacket, and a long overcoat. Cover yourself in Layers. If possible carry extra pairs of socks in your day pack if the socks get wet in Snow. When you are traveling to Manali in Summer, carry light woolens as nights can be chilly.

Best Time to Visit Manali: Which Month is Good for Manali?

If you love a pleasant atmosphere along with crisp air, Visit Manali in Summer Months from March to June. You can see the blooming flowers of apple orchards. The monsoon season in Manali runs from June end- September, receives heavy rainfall in the region. Avoid Monsoon season as roadblocks and landslides are common on the route to Manali. After the Monsoon in October Month, you can see the pretty fall colors till November. This is the best time to see the fall colors in Manali. November end to February is the winter season of Manali and you can enjoy the snow time. So decide, which season of Manali you want to rejoice!

What is the Famous Food to try in Manali?

Manali is a popular Hill Station in India and you can try local food and at the same time, you can experience the café culture of the town. You can try locally grown Red Rice, Trout fish from fresh river water, Masala Omelette, and famous Mutton Based Sidhu. The ultimate famous comfort food- Kadhi Chawal, Noodles and momos are also famous among travelers.

Which Places to Visit in Manali in Winter?

Manali has so many places to visit and nearby small vibrant towns to explore. During the winter months take a stroll around Mall Road, Visit Hidimba Devi Temple, Solang Valley, Tibetan Monastery, Nehru Kund, Jogni Waterfall, Manali Wildlife Sanctuary, etc during your Manali Winter trip. You can also visit Vashisth, Kothi, Manikaran, and other nearby villages.

What are the Top Things to do in Manali in Winter?

Manali is famous for its winter adventure activities. You can try Skiing, Snowboarding, Sledging down the slopes, Paragliding, etc during the Winter. Snow adventures are the most exciting fun activities to do during your visit to Manali in winter.

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Mayuri PATEL

Engineer by Profession and Travel Blogger by heart who shares her experiences through this journal of blog.

2 thoughts on “7 Reasons Why You Must Visit Manali in Winter

  • at
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    Honestly, I never thought of visiting Manali. I mean I was never excited to visit Shimla and Manali though I have been to Shimla once in Dec 2019. Manali is yet to be visited.

    Reply
  • at
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    I visited Manali long back…in 2006 or 2007 I guess. To be honest, I did not enjoy it because of commercialization and pollution caused by vehicles. It was only when we moved towards the farms and fields that I liked it. Yes, I remember we also explored quite a few nice cafes and restaurants. But I guess the cafe scene must be better now.

    I hope to revisit Manali and stay in a secluded homestay or a boutique hotel.

    Reply

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