The Indian mountains are surely a destination for travel lovers to visit again and again. People also like to visit the hill stations of India with family, friends, and their loved ones. India also has a variety of famous hill stations all of which provide a different experience when visiting them. Among the most famous hill stations of India that one can easily reach are Shimla and Manali. These are the two primary hill stations that come to our mind when planning a trip to the mountains. But sometimes, the main problem that occurs while planning a trip is whether you should cover these hill stations together in a single trip or two different trips. If it is on two different trips, which one should you consider visiting first?
To guide you with all this information, we are here. In this blog, we will elaborate on all the major experiences you can have at both places so that you can decide which place is best suited for you. The blog will consist of every minute detail of Shimla and Manali including the cost, famous places, time is taken, snowfall, and every big and small detail. So without any further ado, let us get started.
How to reach Shimla & Manali?
Shimla: Reaching Shimla is quite easy from almost all the states of India. Although you can reach here by car or bike as well if you are planning a road trip. The other options to reach Shimla include a bus service which is easily available from Delhi and other major cities of India.
A major attraction that most people opt to reach Shimla is the Kalka to Shimla toy train experience. This toy train runs from the Kalka railway station to Shimla and covers this journey in around 5 hours taking you between the mountains, and allowing you to witness the amazing view of the mountains covered with snow.
If you want to reach Shimla by flight, then you can land at the Shimla Airport which is situated in Jabarhatti about 22 km from the main city of Shimla. Although this is a costly way to travel like flights always are.
Manali: Although reaching Manali is quite easy, it depends on the season you are traveling. Sometimes due to snowfall, the bus drops you off before the main city and then you have to hire a taxi or a gypsy to reach the hotel which cost nearly 500 rupees per person but you can bargain it if you are in a group. The cost of a Volvo bus from Delhi to Manali is 1300 to 1500 rupees per person but if you are buying a package it costs around 700 to 900 rupees per person.
The taxi or the gypsy which you hire drops you at a private bus stand and from there you have to walk to your hotel. The range of taxis starts from 500 rupees per person but if you have good bargaining skills you can make it affordable. This happens only in January and February due to heavy snowfall.
Hotels, Lodging, and Transport In Shimla & Manali
Shimla: Shimla is quite cheaper when compared to Manali. While Shimla is a natural tourist destination, Manali is a place that has recently known for tourist attractions and visitors. So, if you are visiting Shimla, you can easily find hotels near Mall road which is the prime location to stay. The cost of hotels in Shimla can range from Rs 800 to Rs 1200 per night depending on the season you visit.
Talking about transportation, the city bus service is a quite cheap option in Shimla and you can prefer trying it out if comfortable. The rates of taxis are genuine although you can bargain as per your skills. No auto rickshaws are running in Shimla. The most used method to reach the mountains is the “Lift” facility of Shimla which is another cheap and good option. The cost of the lift is just Rs 10.
Manali: The cost of hotel rates in Manali ranges from 800 to 1600 rupees per night which keeps on differing as per the season you visit here. Booking a hotel near the Hidimba Devi temple or Mall road is great as you don’t have to spend much time traveling and can have a side-seeking view from your hotel.
You can travel to Manali by car or a gypsy but during the time of snowfall, you have to walk to the destination as the roads are covered with snow. If you are traveling in a season when roads are free from snow then you can even hire a bike or scooter. The rent of a scooter starts from 600 rupees per day and for bikes ranges between 1000 to 1500 rupees per day exclusive of the petrol required. It is even recommended to wear shoes during the snowfall as the path becomes very slippery to walk.
Snowfall In Manali
Shimla: Shimla is a well-known place where you can find a lot of snow. Although it is not at an altitude where you would find snow in all 12 months of the year. The snowfall can be enjoyed in Shimla starting from the end of November to February. This is when the snowfall is at its peak, although the weather at this time of the year is very cold to travel.
Manali: Manali is known for its spectacular view of mountains and roads covered with a white sheet. Although this view cannot be enjoyed throughout the year. The winters in Manali start from October to early March but if you want to witness snowfall the best time is January to February. Manali witnesses a heavy crowd during the snowfall season although old age people are not preferred to travel to Manali in this season as the road becomes slippery to walk.
Famous Places to visit in Shimla
Shimla is a major tourist attraction of Himachal Pradesh and people from all over India and even foreigners visit this hill station to enjoy the eye-soothing views of this lovely valley. When visiting Shimla mentioned below are some of the places you cannot miss out on visiting.
Jakhu Temple: The highest peak of Shimla and a worth experiencing place the Jakhu Temple is the temple of Lord Hanuman which is situated on the peak of the Jakhu mountain. The view from the peak of this mountain is just unimaginable. You can witness the entire city of Shimla from here. Moreover, the weather at the peak of Jakhu mountain is much colder than in the rest of the city.
The Mall Road: Known for its famous marketplace, the mall road is the major attraction of Shimla. Here you can take a walk to look around the famous shops of Shimla and shop and enjoy street foods in the Lower Bazaar as well.
The Ridge: Ridge is an open space just near the mall road from where you can witness the beautiful valley of Shimla. If the weather is clean, you can even witness the great Himalayan ranges from this place.
Kufri: At about 15 km from Shimla is situated Kufri which is a famous tourist attraction. Here you can do adventure sports including Zip lining, Burma bridge, bungee jumping, and many others. You can also witness the famous apple gardens of Shimla and enjoy the unending views of the mountains.
The other famous places of Shimla include the Kali Bari Temple, Scandal point, Green Valley, Middle Bazaar, Church, and others. Moreover, the best experience can be to take a walk around mall road and scandal point to enjoy the local experience of the city.
Famous Places to visit in Manali
Manali is famous for its sightseeing views and its perfect blend of mountains and rivers into a natural beauty that attracts tourists. Not only this in the winter season many adventurous sports like hiking, skiing, snowboarding, etc. can be enjoyed whereas in the summer season sports like paragliding, river rafting, camping, and trekking are also loved by tourists.
Hadimba Devi Temple: The Hidimba Devi Temple has two paths to reach but during the time of snowfall, it is preferred to reach the temple by the backward path as it is more beautiful and the rate of food items available are at a cheaper rate. Not only this you can even get your pictures clicked with rabbits and yaks here.
Mall Road: Like the Mall road of Shimla, the Mall Road of Manali is a peak tourist attraction. This road has many eating outlets and other shops from where you can shop for items.
Rohtang Pass: about 50 km away from Manali is the Rohtang pass which is a risky Road but if you are a person who loves adventure you will surely enjoy this place. With a mind-blowing view, this pass is covered with a thick layer of ice which attracts tourists. This place is open for about 6 to 7 months a year from April, May to October.
Jogini falls: if you are a person who loves adventure and trekking Jogini falls is the best place for you. This is the best waterfall in Manali and it seems like water is emerging from the snow-covered mountains with a divine beauty which makes it a perfect place to meditate. Not only this, the waterfalls have a natural beauty with proper cleanliness.
Nehru Kund: At a distance of about 5 km from the Manali bus stand located on the Manali Rohtang pass highway is a natural spring with crystal clear water which is even fit for drinking. With the sound of flowing water and a calm environment, this place is perfect to absorb the natural beauty of the environment.
Apart from this, you can even visit the nearby places of Manali like Kullu, Nagara, and Solang Valley.
Total Cost and Expense For Shimla & Manali
When compared to Manali, Shimla is quite cheaper, and thus visiting this place will cost you much less than Manali. You can even cover Shimla and Manali in one single trip but it would be a long one then. To visit Shimla, you only need 2 to 3 days maximum and the total cost of living here for 3 days can be approximately Rs 5000 per person. Other expenses that can increase your budget can be doing adventure sports in Kufri, shopping, and other such expenses are not included.
Visiting Manali at your own expense can be a bit expensive so it is preferred to buy a package that is comparatively much cheaper. The package for Manali includes accommodation in a 3-star hotel for 2 nights, breakfast and dinner, visiting Manali from Delhi by Volvo bus and returning, Manali sightseeing, Manali to Solang valley, Kullu sightseeing and transportation in Manali if it is not a snowfall season. The total package of Manali costs 6000 per person for 2 days and 2 nights. The trip to Manali is short if you are not including Kullu and Solang Valley as a part of the trip.
Shimla V/S Manali?
To conclude, you can surely cover Shimla and Manali in a single trip if your budget fits in well. The benefit of it can be that you will be able to witness both places in a single go. If you want a long vacation, covering both places will be a wise thing to opt for. If you are traveling to Shimla or Manali during winter, don’t forget to keep essential stuff like gloves, a cap, comfortable boots or shoes, sunglasses, and a bottle to keep your water warm.
While the downside can include overbudgeting, in both places you will witness mountains and rivers only. You can cover one place at once and spare the next one for another trip sometime later. A long journey to both places might be hectic for some people. Although visiting the beautiful hill stations of India can never be boring and is full of joy along with a lot of fun.
Thus, we hope to have provided you with every detail needed to visit Shimla and Manali and that this blog will help you to plan your upcoming trip in a major way. With this, we hope for your safe and enjoyable journey to the mountains. We will find you in another blog with another exciting place to visit.