When heading to Manali for a vacation, two absolutely essential destinations in the itinerary are Rohtang and Solang Valley. 14 kilometres to the north west of the main town of Manali, Solang Valley is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Himachal Pradesh. Situated on the way to Rohtang from Manali, every year the valley welcomes tourists in huge numbers. A favorite for adventure enthusiasts, Parachuting to paragliding, horse riding to driving mini open jeeps specially available for tourists of all age groups, Solang has it all.
During winters, as the valley is covered with snow, skiing is a popular sport here, with training institutes and trainers located in the valley to supervise skiers and train beginners. As the snow melts, skiing is taken over by zorbing. Another popular attraction of the valley, taking advantage of the slopes of the valley, you are likely to spot a huge transparent ball with mostly two people inside it rolling down the slope during summers, it is as much fun as it looks like. One of the most vibrant and enjoyable places in Manali, there is no way one can possibly miss this valley, while here.
Solang Valley is easily every adventure lover's paradise. There are a wide variety of activities and adventure sports here, where you can really challenge the daredevil in you. Among these, paragliding is perhaps the most pursued activity here. In this sport, you are supposed to jump from a higher altitude such that a parachute opens up and allows to cover some horizontal distance as well. Here at the Solang Valley, ample arrangements are in place such that both freshers and experienced paragliders can enjoy this activity. Best time for paragliding varies according to seasons. In case you are planning to visit from January to May or October to December, then 09:00 AM - 05:00 PM is the time slot for paragliding. This activity is generally shut down during the monsoon season due to unfavourable weather conditions. Cost of paragliding varies from INR 600 - 1800. It is an extremely thrilling activity which will push you to your limits.
Another activity you can try out here is the skiing, where you are allowed to slide down a slope covered with snow with the appropriate gear and supervision. If you catch the sight of people rolling away down the valley whilst in a giant transparent ball, you have just witnessed zorbing! Zorbing can be pursued here at a price of INR 500 per head and is a definite must try. There are overhead cable car rides available as well, which gives a breathtaking view of the entire valley.
Apart from the wide variety of adventure sports available here, there are swings at the base of the valley for the kids. Other leisure activities like Horse riding, fancy photography are the other attractions that keep tourists engaged and maintains a fair-like the atmosphere in the valley throughout the day.
The crystal snow in Solang starts making an appearance towards the beginning of October. With the onset of core winter months, the temperature can drop down to -1 °C with nights being especially chilly, so carrying plenty of woollens is advisable. December to January is the peak time for snowfall and is the ideal time to enjoy adventure sports.
The best part about Solang Valley is that it is an all season place. Visiting Solang, hence depends on your purpose. If you want to enjoy winter sports, visiting Solang from November to February is recommended as the valley is covered with snow during that time of the year. Winters are also preferred for the lovely weather. The valley when covered in snow looks magnificent. During summers, the valley experiences mildly hot afternoons while it continues to be cold in the mornings and evenings. Adventure sports change depending on the season. Choose your pick.
The HRTC (Himachal Road Transport Corporation) runs regular buses from neighbouring states of Delhi, Haryana and Punjab. NH21 connects the city of Kullu- Manali to the rest of north India through Chandigarh. It is a beautiful highway with river Beas flowing on one side and many river side cafes and restaurants, where tables are placed on the shore and guests, can actually dip their feet in the cold water of Beas and enjoy their meal.
The Solang Valley of Himachal is a picturesque scenic beauty that has undeniable virgin charms. Lush green grass carpets the entire valley, while the backdrop is of mighty mountains covered in scintillating snow. And if you visit this destination during the colder months, snow makes its way into the valley area too! Enjoy a laid back day out with friends and family here as you enjoy the serene scenery with a bubbling burst of energy from all the tourists here. Making a snowman here from the is a must!
The locals here are convincing and soft spoken, while you might be sitting in your quiet corner, some local vender is bound to approach you with a smiling face and a humble request of trying the local traditional attires and posing for a picture (for which you will be charged), you might also come across furry rabbits and yaks and cobras which a tourist can pose with and get clicked. Mind you, every click and change of protagonist is taken note of and counted. Bargain, do not accept photography or adventure sports deal as offered. Leave your hotel early, spend the entire day in the valley and leave in time so that you can cover Hidimba temple on your way back to Manali.
Solang can be visited as a part of your trip to Manali, or one could head to enjoy the valley specifically, for a few days. If you are focusing on Manali then a day trip to Solang would suffice, a day spent in the valley would be totally jam packed with adventure sports back to back depending on your choice. Come early, choose your adventure sports, have lunch, rest for while and leave for Hidimba temple. If planning a holiday to Solang specifically, a 2-3 days trip should be good, there are however a lot of packages available for holidaying in the valley with each day planned for some sort of special activity and sports.