Manali has become like a crowded city of Himachal Pradesh. The people from almost the whole of country head to this place, especially in summers. And most of the visitors find it a dirty, noisy and jampacked place where you don’t even have a place to walk freely. Moreover, the loud music and parties in most places might deprive you of the real charm of the Mountains. And I am sure you would like to escape to some of the best offbeat places near Manali. This list has been curated after my 3 months of stay in Manali.
For all those who go to Manali to relish the fresh snow, you can expect the cottony soft snow here and can take some superb shots without the crazy crowds around. The places are also perfect for honeymoon planners 😉
Jagatsukh for its Secluded Hot Water Spring
The mesmerizing views of the hills and the orchards, home stays tucked in the mountain edges, open hot water spring and its vicinity to the nearby attractions puts Jagatsukh at the top of my list of offbeat places near Manali. The little town is bustling with the vehicles on its main road and with the birds and butterflies in its hills. It is also an ideal place to rent out a small hut and stay all together for a month.
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Kothi for Adventure Sports
Adventure lovers’ paradise, this place is the gateway to the famous Rohtang Pass. If you aim to visit Rohtang then Kothi is the place for you. This offbeat place gives a majestic view of the valley and snowfall can also be best enjoyed here. Kothi is a little detached from the main town of Manali and you must opt for this place only if you are looking for such solitude.
Naggar for its amazing castle with a view
The ancient capital of Kullu is now a royal hamlet nestled at the top of the hills. Staying at the castle and visiting the ancient temples around can be interesting even if you are traveling solo. The forest area and the colourful pictures of the Roerich art gallery would give you a glimpse of the whole of Himachal. Radha Krishna Temple and Tripura Sundari temple architecture can even beat the popularity of the famous Hidimba temple.
Roaming around this ancient capital will take you back to the time when people lived in tiny wooden houses adorned with flower plants on the balconies and windows. The town literally looks like a little Romantic village.
Sajla – Dhamsu, for a Walk in the Forest
The stretch between Sajla is Dhamsu looks straight out of some movie location. Located right at the boundary of the Himalayan Forest, this place fulfills your need to be in the wild and still near the civilization. You can also go for a short hike to Sajla Waterfall. You can also roam around the apple orchards of Mansari, Dhamsu, and Haripur. The route is flanked with luxurious villas and traditional home stays. You can enjoy the leisurely mornings of the Himachali villages while being here.
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Soyal for its Ravishing Culture
Soyal is a small habitat of a few houses among the cedar trees. It is one of the least frequented places. You won’t even be hearing any noise during your stay. The village is studded with bright yellow and red flowers during summers. Not to mention the abundance of plums, raspberries, apples, and pears. While you take a morning walk you enjoy the ripe pears and apples straight from the trees.
The village also has an ancient temple where goddess Parvati is worshipped as a daughter of the Himalayas. She is not worshipped as a wife of Lord Shiva. The Valley is also naturally blessed with the giant rock-cuts resembling a Shivling and another one to Lord Ganesha.
Soyal is a blessing to a couple and a traveler looking to escape the crowd.
Traveler Footloose Dev recommends Sethan as a perfect offbeat escape for the mountain lovers who really wish to be in the lap of nature. Located approximately an hour’s drive from Manali, Sethan is definitely a place for slow travelers – at least during winters, when snow claims the ground and any movement beyond the tiny Buddhist town of Sethan becomes impossible unless you have decided to conquer glaciers. In summer, on the other hand, the town becomes the starting point of Hampta Pass trekking route and a perfect place for those interested in camping near Manali. With less than a dozen households, the inhabitants of Sethan, do not originally belong here but migrated from Tibet a few decades ago. They represent a Buddhist community and share their roots being horse herders in their past.
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You can also go for a solo trek: Trekking through the Majestic Kingdom of Duryodhan
Check the beautiful pictures of my journey on my Instagram.