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How To Reach Manali
The picturesque hill station of Manali is located at an altitude of 2050 m at the northern end of the Kullu valley in Himachal Pradesh. Nestled amidst the snow-capped mountain ranges, this serene hill station attracts tourists from all over India and abroad throughout the year. Here we have listed the various travel options available to help you decide on how to reach Manali.
This is one of the least popular ways to reach Manali, owing to the high altitude and adverse weather conditions. The nearest airport is the Bhuntar (Kullu) Airport which is located about 50 km from Manali and 10 km from Kullu. Domestic flights connect Bhuntar to Delhi and Chandigarh. Air India Regional and Himalayan Bulls are the two carriers that operate flights to Bhuntar. However the services can be irregular and the air fare exorbitant. From the airport, the best way to reach Manali is by a pre-paid taxi.
Manali is not directly approachable by rail. The nearest major railway stations are at Chandigarh (289 km), Kalka (285 km) and Ambala Cantonment (339 km). Some of the most popular train routes are: Kolkata – Jammu Tawi Express, Howrah – Amritsar Express, New Delhi – Amritsar Shatabadi Express, Howrah - Kalka Mail, New Delhi – Kalka Shatabdi Express etc. Being such popular routes, it is advisable to make the reservations well in advance. From these stations, travellers can proceed towards Manali by road. Travel options include both private and state-run buses; taxis can also be rented.
Red Bus is a popular choice for online ticket reservation for private bus services from all the major railway stations mentioned above. You can also check the Himachal Pradesh Tourism's online ticketing facility for Delhi – Manali bus travel and also for sightseeing in and around Manali. From Chandigarh it takes about 8-9 hours by bus to reach Manali. Regular bus services are also available from Kalka to Manali, which takes about 9-10 hours. The preferred mode of travel from Ambala is to reach Chandigarh by a taxi, and then avail one of the city’s multiple bus services, both private and government-run. The AC Volvo coaches are the best option for a luxurious journey!
You can also drive from Delhi up to Manali, first by taking the national highway NH 1 up to Chandigarh. From there by national highway NH21 which passes through the towns of Bilaspur, Sundernagar, Mandi and Kullu. The distance by road from Delhi to Chandigarh is 260 km and from Chandigarh to Manali is a further 273 km. It’s a mesmerizing drive up to Manali, with wonderful views of snowcapped mountains and green valleys. However, one must be extremely cautious while negotiating the tricky bends of mountain roads.
Thus, possibly the best solution to the question how to reach Manali is to travel by train to these major railway stations and then board a bus or rent a taxi for the onward journey up to Manali.
Getting Around In Manali
There are various ways of getting around in and around Manali. You can hire a taxi or a motorbike for local sightseeing. Public transport is the cheapest way, though the bus service can be irregular and infrequent. Hence it is advisable to enquire at the local bus terminal for bus timings. The public bus routes are: - Kullu - Manali, Manali - Naggar and Manali - Solang. The Himachal Pradesh Tourism also runs a fleet of luxury buses for local tours of Manali along a couple of routes - Manali-Kothi-Rohtang Pass and Manali-Vaishno Devi-Manikaran.