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Treks in Manali
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40 kms. away from Kulu to the north, Manali is situated near the end of the valley on the National Highway leading to Leh. The landscape here is breath taking. One sees well-defined snow capped peaks, the Beas river with its clear water meanders through the town. On the other side are deodar and pine trees, tiny fields and fruit orchards. It is an excellent place for a holiday, a favorite resort for trekkers to Lahaul, Spiti, Kinnaur, Leh and Zanskar regions in Kashmir valley. It is known as the SWITZERLAND OF INDIA.

The Manali market is crowded with myriads of sinteresting shops selling Tibetan carpets and crafts and the appetizing aroma of steaming noodles hangs about the little restaurants. Manali, with its Mountaineering Institute, is a popular base for trekking and mountaineering in summer and skiing in winter. Interesting routes into the surrounding valleys, over the high passes, are provided with tourist huts and rest houses for trekking enthusiasts.

The British called Shimla the "Queen of Hill Stations." Situated in the north-West Himalayas, Shimla the summer capital of India before independence is now the capital of Himachal Pradesh. Shimla derives its name from "Shyamala";- the goddess Kali, whose temple existed in the dense forest that covered Jakhu Hill in the early 19th century. The English named it Simla. Shimla is well connected by air, road and rail with all parts of Himachal Pradesh, and the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashimir and the Union territory of Chandigarh. Covering the area of 18 sq. km. at a height of 7,238 ft. Shimla is surrounded by pine, deodar, oak and rhododendron forests. Its well developed facilities, easy accessibility and numerous attractions make it one of Indian's most popular and biggest hill-stations.

Shimla is the best market for the handicrafts of Himachal Pradesh. Woollen and pashmina shawls, decorative items, handmade shoes, dolls, woollen caps, carved wooden sticks, toys and other items made form wood are made in Shimla itself and are on sale in the Lakkar Bazar. Tibetan jewellery and trinkets are found in the small Tibetan shops near the Ridge.

 

Places of Interest in and Around Manali

Jagatsukh Temple - About 6 km from Manali is the famous Shiva Temple in "shikara" style and nearby is the old and interesting Devi Sharvali Temple.

Van Vihar: This is just off the Mall with pathways between towering deodhars and also leads to a boating pond.

Tibetan Market and Mall: The Tibetan Market is an interesting cluster of shops. Nice to browse around for knick knacks, handicrafts and imported goods. Located on the Mall. The Mall also has other shops selling local handicrafts and clothes. It also has some good restaurants. Buses, taxis and autos are easily available from the Mall for local sightseeing or excursions.

Manikaran: 85 km from Manali and 45 km from Kullu, lies in the Parvati Valley, the holy pilgrimage place of Manikaran. Here icy cold waters of the Parvati river co-exists with boiling water side-by-side. The hot water springs are reputed for their healing properties.

 

Places of Interest in and Around Shimla

The Mall: The Mall is the main shopping centre of Shimla. It also has many restaurants, clubs, banks, bars, Post Offices and tourist offices. The Gaiety Theatre is also situated there. People walk up and down the Mall slowly, stopping to gossip, as it is the main meeting place for everyone. The Ridge and Scandal point are the two main meeting points at the Mall.

Jakhu Hill: 2 kms. from Shimla, at a height of 8000 ft, Jakhu Hill is the highest peak and offers a beautiful view of the town and of the snow-covered Himalayas. At the top of the Hill, is an old temple of Hanuman, which is also the home of countless playful monkeys waiting to be fed by all visitors.

Tara Devi: 11kms. from the Shimla bus-stand. Tara Devi has a temple dedicated to the goddess of stars on top of the hill. There is a military Dairy Town here as well as the headquarters of Bharat Scouts and Guides. At a height of 6,070 ft. Tara Devi is an ideal place for a person wanting peace and some rest.

Chail: Chail is a little mountainous heaven 45 kms. from Shimla. It was the summer capital of the Maharaja of Patiala before Independence. The forests near Chail have many species of birds and deer. Chail is known for its cricket pitch, which is the highest cricket ground in the world.

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