Monday, May 14, 2012

A Small Town Beginning of an Ancient Trade

As 21st Century living becomes increasingly urbanized, competitive and fast-paced it can be difficult for families to find time to enjoy leisure time together and this makes the annual holiday even more important.

It is a time to relax and recharge, for parents to reconnect with the children, and perhaps to spend time in peaceful, natural surroundings away from the noise and chaos of the urban environment.

Good, healthy food, gentle exercise and perhaps a relaxing spa treatment may also all be on the holiday list and all are available in the best hotels in Manali, a lovely small town in the Kullu Valley of Himachal Pradesh.

Legend has it that Manali was the home of Manu, the first king of the earth, who found refuge in the town and made it his home and that it was from Manu that the town derives its name.

The small town was the beginning of an ancient trade route to Ladakh and from there over the Karakoram Pass on to Yarkand and Khotan. The area was originally populated by nomadic hunters known as 'rakshas'. The next arrivals were the shepherds who settled to take up agriculture.

The area is now famed for its fruit orchards, apples introduced by the British, but also pears and plums, and for its tranquil forest walks and rich and ancient cultural history.

Use your five star hotel in Manali as a base for exploration of the many ancient monasteries and temples within easy reach.

One of the most famous is the 17th century Raghunath Temple built by Raja Jagat Singh of Kullu, and containing a statue of Lord Raghunath, Lord Rama, specially acquired from Ayodhya. The Kullu valley is also famous for its seven day festival of Dussehra which falls in October or November, depending upon the Hindu calendar.

For those who want more activity, the valley is the starting point for several trek routes. Some of which go over the Chanderkhani Pass to Malana, or over the Jalori Pass or Bashleo Pass to Shimla. There are also opportunities for white water rafting on the Beas river and for trout fishing for the keen angler.
Top hotels in Manali also offer ayurvedic spa treatments, swimming and gym facilities.

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