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Old 12th December 2008, 00:06   #1
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Default Delhi - Manikaran - Manali - Delhi

Delhi-(Solan)-(Kasauli)-Manikaran-(Kullu)-Manali-Delhi

Well, at least, that's the plan until now! Also, the plan is not to rush but take it easy and relax while still seeing places of interest. Our two kids will be with us - there could be more if my relatives decide to join us.

The visit to places within parentheses depends on whether it is doable. We have Dec 20-21 to Dec 28 at our disposal (I can throw in a couple of extra days if I happen to meet any fellow Tbhpians ).

We intend to spend at least two nights in Manikaran and at least three nights in Manali.

The way I foresee this is like this: Start early (about 4am_ish) from Delhi, reach Manikaran (I don't know when), spend the night there, explore around the next day, spend that night at the same place, start early next morning for Manali, reach Manali same day, spend the next two full days at and around Manali, start early next morning for Solan/Kasauli (I'm still debating in my mind whether to do this part or not), spend the next full day at these places, start early next morning and reach Delhi by evening.

Questions:
1) Is the suggested route including ones in parentheses doable within the number of days that I have?
2) Any important turns/diversions to look out for?
3) Is Manikaran really worth spending one full day or can it be done in half day and then move on to Manali and reach there by evening?
4) Would you suggest the opposite route for whatever reasons, i.e., Delhi-Manali-(Kullu)-Manikaran-(Solan/Kasauli)-Delhi?
5) Any other pointers/suggestions pertaining to the route in mind?

Oh, did I mention this will the first ever (God willing) Safari highway/hill trip.
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Old 12th December 2008, 09:00   #2
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KK, 2 nights at Manikaran would be an overkill IMHO; you should stay the first night at Kullu, check out Manikaran the next day & then move on to Manali.

Also, not sure why you're planning via Kasauli - would have made sense if you were planning Shimla or Narkhanda. You should go via Swarghat-Bilaspur (you could halt at Bilaspur as well & do Manikaran & then Manali the next day).

Good luck & have fun - you'll enjoy this drive enormously on the truck
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Old 12th December 2008, 10:01   #3
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KK, since this will be the first trip in the beast, I would suggest you check up the braking problem reported by Tanveer before you embark on the drive. Best of luck and keep us updated.
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Old 12th December 2008, 15:00   #4
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I drove from Manali to Manikaran in one of my previous HP visits and this was one heart stopping drives of my life.

Really curvy,narrow, bad patch roads with moutains jutting out almost on to car roof in some turnings on this ghat road from one side and a deep ravine on the other.

Perfect receipe for disaster. Be careful when you drive on this road !
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Old 12th December 2008, 15:54   #5
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I had done a Delhi - Parwanoo - Shimla - Manali - Chandigarh - Delhi road trip some time back. It was a fantastic experience which my wifey & I still cherish very much. However I missed seeing Manikaran as the driver simply refused to go there because of bad roads & ultra dangerous curves.
I second with suman that Manikaran for 2 days would be too much. 1/2 a day should be more than enough.
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Old 12th December 2008, 18:03   #6
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Hi KK,

I have done Manali twice but never on self drive so things may vary for you.
My suggestion:

1. Take the regular route to Kullu (Via Swarghat, Bilaspur). Stay at Kullu/Naggar (Naggar is a small vilage on the old Kullu - Manali highway on the other side of the beas) see if you can book the HPTDC Castle at the edge of the Cliff. It is quite brilliant.
2. Do Manikaran as a day trip on day two. There is a turn off at Bhuntar (the town where the kullu - Manali airport is situated). It should take around three hours up to Manikaran. Narrow, broken, cliffhanging road youhave to be very cautious). There's a gurudwara there and hot springs. Great place but not one where you'd like to spend too much time). Don't know if Manikaran will be possible if it snows when you are there.
3. Day 3 spend in Naggar. Great views from the castle, good walks around. Roerich the russian painter who married Devika Rani used to stay in Naggar and his house has been converted into a small museum housing his paintings. You can trek up here. Good views from here as well.
4. Day 4: Do Manali (under an hour's drive from Naggar) Hadimba temple, Solang (on the road to Rohtang) and continue up the way to Rohtang till the point the road is closed. Come back to Manali/Naggar wherever you are staying.
5. Day 5: Travel Manali - Shimla via Mandi (Not sure if the route via Jalori pass would be open) take that if you can. O/N at Shimla/Narkanda/Kufri depending upon route.
6. Day 6: Check out Shimla
7. Day 7: If you have another day go around Shimla or go to Kasauli or Chail.
8. Day 8: Back to Delhi via Pinjore and Chandigarh.
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Old 13th December 2008, 00:07   #7
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What's all this about the dangerous roads leading to Manikaran? Would you suggest I avoid it altogether? By the way, I've driven on hill roads several times in the past, so hill-driving per se is not a problem at all. I've driven on narrow, curvy HP internal roads before (once even took the Santro through a shallow stream full of rocks), and have been on the rocky road leading up to Billing but had to return only because the rocks were beginning to get larger for the small tires of the hatch . So, 'danger' up to this level is okay, but if there are complete sections of the road missing (Manikaran side) or there is landslide expected where a vehicle is likely to get stranded, I'd rather avoid that route. So, please let me know.

Also, I included Manikaran because I thought there is raw, real nature to see, vast beautiful landscapes, touch the river and so on. Does Manikaran offer all of this? I'm now beginning to think a halt at Kullu, or Naggar as suggested by Nitin Mathur, might be a better idea, what say?

Quote:
Originally Posted by suman
Also, not sure why you're planning via Kasauli - would have made sense if you were planning Shimla or Narkhanda.
I am contemplating including Kasauli only because I feel that it is possible given the number of days that we have with us. And, I want to avoid Shimla at any cost. Have been there earlier and frankly I don't like the congestion and the high volume of traffic there - in fact if I can avoid even passing through the city, I'd welcome it. And, we haven't really explored Kasauli previously and I've heard it is not as crowded or commercialized (if that's the right word) as Shimla is. Again, as I said earlier, Kasauli is not final and is currently being mulled over. The real plan is Manali and Manikaran, and the surrounding areas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nitin Mathur
3. Day 3 spend in Naggar. Great views from the castle, good walks around. Roerich the russian painter who married Devika Rani used to stay in Naggar and his house has been converted into a small museum housing his paintings. You can trek up here. Good views from here as well.
Sounds interesting. How far is Naggar from the turn-off point (Bhuntar) on the Manali highway?

Quote:
...continue up the way to Rohtang till the point the road is closed.
How far will that be during winter? How're the roads?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SumitB
KK, since this will be the first trip in the beast, I would suggest you check up the braking problem reported by Tanveer before you embark on the drive.
Thanks for the heads up. Will do.
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Old 13th December 2008, 06:37   #8
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Manikaran road is fine. Nice and paved. Road to Billing is much worse so dont worry. As others have suggested, you can do Manikaran as a day trip. It has become quite dirty.
Not worth staying there.
Naggar is nice with good hotels either the HPTDC in the castle or two private ones and numerous smaller guest houses. Naggar (going by memory) is not more than 25km off the highway...Roads are good
If you are looking for something really off beat with valleys, mountains etc...check out Rewalsar which can be reached from Kulu (also known as Tso Pema)...small secluded...not much to do but visit monasteries, walk around the lake, and chill...but truly a magical place...
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Old 14th December 2008, 19:03   #9
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I've been just back from NOIDA- Simla- Narkanda- Jalori Pass/Shringi-Manali-NOIDA trip. Want to apprise you of of the following:-
1> Roads were good till 7th Dec, 08.
2> Go via shimla- tattapani-manali route and take it back too. The route is 100 Km longer but scenic, enjoyable and void of bad trafffic.
3> Manali-Mandi-Bilaspur-Anandpur -Chandigarh route would make you mad enough to jump in one of the deep khaddds with your mighty Safari.(Safari is an excellent vehicle to be in there, many people are taking it there and no complaints, my friend did it 2 weeks back with a 1.5 yr old child). The road is bad between Mandi-Anandpur Sahib and to take Satan's revenge the Hopping mad truckdrivers are overtaking eachother and the SUVs and the snail trailing trucks. In essence the holiday taken will be ruined if u take that route back - It took me 16 hours of drive fom Manali to NOIDA keeping in mind that I drove Qualis and it was my umpteenth trip from Manali side and I drive really well on hills since decades!!!
MY stroong advise - find a HPTDC place enroute and stay there after Simla while going up to Manali and do the same back.
4> Manikarn is an awsome drive but not for us who don't do really well on narrow, congested and extremely curvy hill roads with heavy traffic. I would want to park my self in Manali and take a taxi or bus for a day trip to Manikarn with my family safely taken there by experinced drivers of the area. Plus there is not much to do while staying in Manikarn and you would instead want more days in Manali, solang and up to Rohtang pass!!
Hope you would have a nice holiday. Wishing you a trafficless route.
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Old 15th December 2008, 11:01   #10
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Hi KK,

If you've driven on Single lane interior hill roads with limited protection on the 'khud' side of the road (i.e. no barricades etc), you won't have a problem driving to Manikaran. However, its higher elevation and in case it snows (given you will be there end Dec) I don't think they will clear that road as soon as they clear the main highways, best would be to check locally (example in Kullu) about road status. Also pls. note I went there a long time back so don't know if things have improved since.

Also following a convoy (taxis/pvt vehicles etc) may help in case you get stuck (landslides are quite common on this road). I don't recall exactly how far Naggar is from the Manikaran turn off, my guess is its about 20 odd km ahead on the old Kullu - Manali highway.

From what I recall its almost equidistant from both Kullu and Manali (about 25 km to either place).
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Old 18th December 2008, 20:36   #11
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hey kk
your post has set me thinking! I am getting 4-5 days off in jan and can manage another couple of days. pl do share your plans with us including a travelouge.
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Old 18th December 2008, 22:19   #12
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IFFF the road is open, you COULD try Bijli Mahadev, its an offroad diversion from naggar - the views are totally rewarding!
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Old 18th December 2008, 23:35   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
IFFF the road is open, you COULD try Bijli Mahadev, its an offroad diversion from naggar - the views are totally rewarding!
How far is it from Naggar? Would love to try anything for vast scenic views.

Harjeev, will fill you in on all info as soon as I'm back.
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Old 19th December 2008, 00:24   #14
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Drive to Manikaran will not be so tough. It is well paved and wide enough at most of the places (As on Sep 2007). But be very careful at curves as there could be crazy local drivers around. I had few surprises at some of the curves.

Stay at Manikaran is not worth at all, but is definitely worth for a day driving. There is nothing much to see around or do after reaching Manikaran. So spend time and enjoy the scenic spots on the way, especially the view of Parvathi river.

During my last two trips, I stayed at Manali, making it a base and traveled around from there.
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Old 19th December 2008, 00:34   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kkdelhi View Post
How far is it from Naggar? Would love to try anything for vast scenic views.
When you travel from Kullu to Manali, the main highway is on the one side of the beas river. You will actually be taking this highway to reach Manali initially.

You can travel from Manali to Manikaran or Kuulu through Naggar. This is an alternate route to reach Kullu from Manali and is on the other side of Beas river. There is a Castle at Naggar, which is worth visiting. If I remember correct, it is around 25km from Manali. Very scenic route indeed.
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