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Best Hill Station in North India: Manali or Shimla?

Travelling, hill stations, Manali, Shimla

Being a travel enthusiast is very fascinating. You get to visit different places and explore diverse cultures. India is a land of beauty. It has many beautiful destinations with such diverse cultures and lifestyles, that you can never get enough of it. Hill stations are quite favourite when you plan a trip. Thus, India has many beautiful and peaceful hill stations that attract tourism on a large scale. Himachal Pradesh is home to many such places. Manali and Shimla are two such famous hill stations. But, it is quite difficult to say where would you like to visit. Both the destinations have their own unique experiences. Also, they are the same in some of the criteria. One must know all the bases at which you can compare both the places. This will help you out in choosing your destination according to your preference.

Manali is a tourist town nestled in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh near the northern end of the Kullu Valley in the Beas River Valley. It is famous for its mall road, Hidimba Temple, Manikaran, and beautiful scenic view of snow-capped mountains. Also, Manali offers a great atmosphere for trekking in the summers.

On the other hand, Shimla is the capital of Himachal Pradesh. It is the largest city in Himachal Pradesh. Shimla is home to many colonial architecture, churches and temples. As the city is in the northern region of the country, the beauty of the mountains never fails to attract tourism. This place is famous for its Shri Hanuman Jakhu (statue), Jakhu temple, Christ Church, Mall Road.

Let’s see some other points on which we can compare these hill stations for a perfect exotic vacation.

Also Read: What to see in Ganpatipule?

How to Reach

MANALI: Manali is directly in contact with the country’s capital Delhi. One of the easiest ways to reach Manali is by bus. HPTDC and HRTC buses (government buses) are available from Delhi to Manali and vise-versa. Also, many private bus companies are there to help you reach Manali. Taking a Train can be a little complicated as firstly you have to go to Chandigarh and then you take a bus to Manali. Though there is no airport in Manali, you can take a flight to the Bhuntar Airport, which is about 50 kilometres away from Manali. If you have your own vehicle, taking a road trip to Manali is the best option. Also, going from own vehicle can be helpful as many attractions in Manali are far away from each other.

SHIMLA: Shimla is easy to reach when compared to Manali. It is directly connected to many states of the country. Even government-based and private company-owned buses go Delhi to Shimla directly and vice versa. There are many direct trains to Shimla from many states. So, a train journey can be more convenient and will also offer you some incredibly beautiful scenery. Shimla also owns a Jabarhatti Airport which is just 30 minutes drive away from the city centre.

Tourists Attractions.

MANALI: In the city centre, you can visit Hidimba Temple and the Vashisht Temple. If you move ahead a bit from the city centre, you can find some more religious attractions like Basheshwar Mahadev Temple and the Bijli Mahadev Temple. Manikaran Sahib is a very popular gurudwara and offers a natural hot spring for bathing. Manali is home to many waterfalls to the Jogini Waterfalls, Rahala Waterfalls, and Jana Waterfalls. For a family trip, you can visit Van Vihar Park which is easily accessible from the city centre. For more adventurous and fun activities, you can visit  Beas River, Rohtang Pass, and Solang Valley. But these places are quite away from the city centre, so you might need more days to cover them.

SHIMLA: Most of the attractions in Shimla are close to each other. The most popular attractions here are  Jakhoo Temple, Tara Devi Temple, and Kali Bari Temple. There are many historical attractions too like Kuthar Fort, Annandale, and the Viceregal Lodge. If you are a nature enthusiast, then there are many viewpoints that offer a beautiful scenic view like Hatu Peak and Shaily Peak. You can visit Shimla Water Catchment Sanctuary where you can spot many different animals and birds.

Adventure activites.

MANALI: Manali offers many adventure activities. You can go to Solang valley for many winter sports like skiing, skating, snow scootering, or tobogganing. The best thing about Manali is that you can do adventure activities in the summers too. In summers, you can do activities like paragliding, zorbing, and quad biking. Even Manali is the best suitable location for trekking. You can also indulge in a Gondola ride or ropeway which offers a beautiful view of mountains. People who are very adventurous can go river rafting in the Beas River. It also offers easy rafting facilities for beginners. Plus, Rohtang Pass is a must-try destination for snow views.

SHIMLA: Usually, you can have a lot of activities to do in Shimla, the majority of them can only be performed in winters. During this time you can go ice skating and skiing. If you are into more thrill, you can go heli-skiing. It is a type of skiing in which the skier is taken up the mountain by helicopter. It is done in  Kufri or Narkanda, near Shimla. Though, in the summer season, you can do trekking, paragliding, and mountain biking. Shimla is not known much for its adventures.

Also Read: Famous places to visit in Shillong.


MANALI: Manali is less crowded as it is not directly connected with many main cities. Also, attractions in Manali are far away from each other which divides the crowd from one single area. In peak tourist season, you may find Rohtang Pass and Solang Valley a bit crowded but otherwise, Manali is a less crowded hill station. Other attractions are far away from the city, so you may not find a lot of people there.

SHIMLA: When compared to Manali, Shimla is much more crowded and congested. This hill station is linked to many other major cities. Plus, also it is very popular among tourists and people living in the nearby cities as a quick trip spot. People from the local neighbouring cities often come here to relax here on short vacations. But if you are the kind of person who can handle this hustle, then Shimla is a very beautiful destination to visit. Popular areas like Mall Road and Ridge road are always filled with people. Though it is a good thing that vehicles are not allowed on these roads in order to avoid traffic jams.

So here are some of the most important points that can affect your vacation. In order to have a good vacation, you should always know about the destination you are visiting. And when you are confused about destinations like Manali and Shimla which are a part of the same state and resemble so much from each other, little research doesn’t hurt.

So, what are you waiting for?. Here is a list of things on which you can decide which destination is better for you and your loved ones according to your preferences. Make sure you carry woollen clothing for both destinations if you are visiting in the winter season. Also, do remember to make bookings in advance, as these hill stations get crowded in tourist season.

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