Resting on the eastern banks of the Beas River, is Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh’s capital town. Sprawling like a garden of flowers, snow, temples, apple orchards, and majestic deodar forests sheltering tall pine trees, Kullu Valley is a trekker’s dream come true. From Yak rides to Trout delights, Kullu Manali is so much more than its original title as India’s Hippie’s Valley or Mini Israel. Kullu is separated by Manali and Largi by Beas and Sarvari Rivers.
Which also makes it a perfect spot for White Water River rafting. Even though, Himachal’s closeness to the Great Himalayan Ranges and the Pir Panjal, is what makes it a great location, for hiking, trekking, camping, adventure sports, and bike riding. Or Musical festivals for party blazers!
5 Best Things To Do in Kullu Manali, the Valley of Hippies
To be able to explore the best of both Kullu & Manali, you should stay in Kullu for a day then move forward to Manali. Either way, Himachal will surprise you with its endless opportunities. From all that I have experienced in last 25 years, here’s a rundown of 5 best things for you to do, in Kullu and Manali.
1. Take a trip to View-Point and Rohtang Pass
While visiting Kullu & Manali, the first thing you should do is take a trip to the glorious Snow-View-Point and Rohtang Pass. As a child, I first discovered this route 25 years back and even now, it holds a certain charm that you can’t miss. On this course of forest laden path, you can cover Jogni falls, Rohtang Pass, Freezing Point, Maharishi Ved Vyas temple, and the final viewpoint. As you drive towards the viewpoint, which is much colder than the heart of Kullu-Manali city centres, you will cross small stores renting overcoats and boots. If you are planning to spend some time in the snow, I highly recommend you rent out this snow sheltering equipment. Keep aside 2 hours one-way-travel from Manali to get to the starting point of this trip.
2. Dine at a local Kullu Manali Restaurant
From rooftop dining to restaurants serving global bites, Kullu & Manali has it all laid out for you. Whether you are planning a romantic honeymoon or a family getaway, Himachali food will give you that great start. After all, good food is good mood! Right? For instance, take ‘Greenfields’ famed for its Rooftop Dining or ‘Cafe 1947’ for its Italian specialities in Kullu, and then there is also ‘The Lazy Dog Lounge’ and ‘The Himalayan’ in Old Manali.
Once you are in the city, you will come across restaurants every now and then. From Salads, full multi-cuisine meals, to local bakery specialities, Kullu Manali is nothing but, love on a plate.
3. Plan Hillside Paragliding
One way to explore Kullu & Manali is by riding a bike or driving a car through its steep narrow roads. The other way is to opt for hillside paragliding, which shows you the best aerial views of Kullu Valley and majestic Manali in a matter of 30-minutes. Besides, the cost of paragliding in Manali is as low as 25% as compared to what operators charge anywhere else in India. Solang Valley, they say is the best Paragliding spot in this region. Try booking Bir-Billing, The Adventure Roar, Magic & Wonder of flying, or Catching Air to enjoy a safe flying experience. We guarantee that the breathless views of the hillside forests will move a part of your soul.
4. Trek it up to Tosh
Located at a 3-hour driving distance, from Kullu Valley, is a beautiful Himachali village called Tosh. To get here on a bike or by car is the easiest way to go about it. However, if you are ready to pump your adrenaline like the NRIs, then you better gear up for the trek of your life. It’s an 18-hour walk, if you choose not to stop in middle, however, I would recommend a 5-day trek for you to cover everything comfortably.
Read Here: Trekking Guide from Manali to Tosh
5. Chill like a Real Hippie
Kullu & Manali is not called the Valley of Hippies just like that. Smoking up is the real deal all along Himachal Pradesh. Not endorsing what’s not legal, however, if you do spot a local smoking, you can always borrow a few drags to get the real feel.
Other than that, spend hours lounging at the local coffee shops where not only, will you get introduced to some wonderful tourists, but also, unusual hippie music. The trance tunes of Kullu & Manali can compel just about anyone to groove hopelessly. Whether you have two left feet or a happy feet disorder, the hippie dance in this magical valley will ensure you forget all your worldly problems.
Oh! and don’t forget to wear the colourful ‘stand-out’ clothing, weaved by the locals, to add that little extra glamour to your hippie vacation.
The fastest way to get to Kullu or Manali is by catching a flight to the Bhuntar airport, situated 10Kms from the city centre. Or catch a Bus, trailing on the Delhi-Chandigarh route to arrive in Manali. Get off at the “Dhalpur” Bus stop, home to the tourist office, taxi stand, restaurants, and accommodation.