Manali is a resort town nestled in the mountains of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh near the northern end of the Kullu Valley in the Beas River Valley. It is located in the Kullu district, about 270 km (168 mi) north of the state capital, Shimla 309 km (192 miles) north east of Chandigarh and 544 km (338 miles) northeast of Delhi, the national capital. The small town, with a population of 8,096, is the beginning of an ancient trade route to Ladakh and from there over the Karakoram Pass on to Yarkand and Khotan in the Tarim Basin. It is a popular tourist destination and serves as the gateway to Lahaul and Spiti district as well as Leh.
Manali is a cosmopolitan place where Tibetans, Ladakhi, Kashmiri, Kullvi and Lahuli people reside. These people often came to do business at this place and slowly settled here. The main occupation of the local people is Tourism, Farming, Horticulture, handloom industry. The official language of Manali is Hindibut due to its development in tourism, the locals also understand the English language very well. In common parlance, the locals here use the Kullvi dialect also known as Kullu language.
Culture and history info
Manali is named after the Sanatan Hindu lawgiver Manu. The name Manali is regarded as the derivative of 'Manu-Alaya' which literally means 'the abode of Manu'. Legend has it that sage Manu stepped off his ark in Manali to recreate human life after a great flood had deluged the world. Manali lies in the North of Kullu Valley. The valley is often referred to as the 'Valley of the Gods'. Old Manali village has an ancient temple dedicated to sage Manu. According to the epic Manusmriti, the Sage Manu took the water of the river in his hands to take a bath, and he found that a small fish with water also came into his hands. This small fish sought protection from the Sage Manu. Sage Manu took this fish to the Ashram, but in whatever vessel he used to put it, suddenly it grew in size and the pot was inadequate. When Sage Manu put it in the river again, the size of the river also became smaller. Finally, Manu Rishi dumped it in the sea and he came to know that this fish is the Fish Incarnation (Matsya Avatar) of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu took this incarnation to warn Manu Rishi from the great flood. Manu Rishi preserved all the creatures of the earth during the water age by collecting it in the mouth of this Fish Incarnation.
The British introduced apple trees in the area. The first apple orchard was set up by the British near Patlikuhal, before this, no apple trees grew in the area. To this day, apple along with plum and pear remain the best source of income for the majority of inhabitants. Both Rainbow and Brown Trout was also introduced into the rivers and streams of the area by the colonisers. Apple cultivation in Manali was started in 1870 by Captain RC Lee, who was an officer in the British Army. He bought 33 acres of land in a village called Bandrol, about 18 km from Manali, near Patlikuhal. After this, his father sent apple, plum, pear and cherry plants from England and Captain RC Lee planted these plants on his farm.
With the increase in disposable incomes and somewhat owing to the rise of disturbances in Kahmir in the late 1980s, Manali witnessed a surge in tourist traffic. Manali is a safe paradise for tourists than Kashmir, where every beautiful view of nature is present which is often expected in Kashmir. This once quiet village was transformed into a bustling town with numerous homestays as well as the occasional boutique hotel. During the warmer summer months, cafes and restaurants can be seen doing brisk business.