The Himalayan Devhumi boasts of one of the most dense temple clusters in the world. The Bipasha valley is no exception to the rule and has some charming temples of its own, two of which are at a reasonable proximity to Urvashi’s Retreat : –
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i) Gautam Rishi Temple: The village of Shanag falls under the religious jurisprudence of Gautam Rishi, one of the famous saptarishis in Hindu mythology. It is locally believed that all those who frequent this belt must pay his temple a visit and seek his blessings. The Gautam Rishi temple is a short walk/ drive from here in the neighbouring village of Gaushal.
ii) Devi Mata Temple: En route to the village of Majagh, there is a colossal and splendid deodhar tree that protects a small temple belonging to a Devi Mata. This temple can be accessed by foot or car.
The Himalayan Dairy
Situated on the left bank of the Beas river in a village called Jagatsukh lies the Himalayan dairy, run by the Mahant family of that area. The Himalayan Dairy is the proud manufacturer of some of the most famed varieties of cheese in the area, most of which are exported for commercial purposes.
During a scheduled trip, guests can view a live demonstration cheese- making, which is subject to availability and takes place during the day’s morning hours.
Guarded by the Manalsu river, Old Manali is a quaint and exotic pocket of the hill station. The Old Manali road is lined with indie and reggae cafés, eateries, guest houses and souvenir shops, beyond which, it windingly leads to local habitations and apple orchards. Highly recommended for foodies, backpackers and shopping enthusiasts.
Manali Mall Road
Far away from keeping up with the Old Manali charm, downtown Manali has its own story to tell nevertheless. Lined with several eateries, kiosks, souvenir and convenience stores as well as private and government offices, the Mall Road is a stretch of utilities in a nutshell. The Mall Road also boasts of the Mata Temple, famous for its wooden carvings.
Vashisht Hot Springs
Just off NH 21 (the Leh Manali Highway), the Vashisht hot springs, apart from their geographical wonder, are known for their sulphuric healing powers. Swarms of tourists occupy the bathing tanks, while temples dedicated to Vashisht Muni and Lord Ram neighbour this natural wonder.
Manali Wildlife Sanctuary
In the year of 1954, under the Punjab Birds and Wild Animals Protection Act of 1933, the catchment area of Manalsu was declared a 32 square kilometre-large local sanctuary. Presently known as the Manali Wildlife Sanctuary, this area is densely filled with trees such as Deodhar, horse chestnut, pine, walnut and Chinar. This area is also home to the famous Monal bird, apart from animals such as ibex, musk deers, brown bears and leopards.
Ghadhan Thekchhokling Gompa
Small, serene and beautiful, this local monastery is a perfect getaway for those seeking peace from the Manali hustle-bustle.
Situated 25 km away from Manali in Naggar- the erstwhile capital of the Kullu empire, lies the ancient feudal seat founded by King Visudhpal. Now a heritage hotel run by the Himachal Pradesh Government, this castle was built in the traditional Katkhooni style that alternates stone and wood. At its centre of this historic monument lies is a tiny Jagtipat temple.
Situated in Naggar, this gallery holds a collection of the works by Nicholas Roerich, a famous Russian artist who spent a large part of his life in this town. Roerich’s name went down in history not just as an artist, but a spiritualist, promoter of the global cultural preservation, and even a possible spy! The gallery in Naggar exhibits some of his surreal landscapes as well as his very own 1930 Dodge car.
Complimentary with the Roerich Gallery ticket lies access to this museum, which houses ethnological artefacts and photos from the early days of the Himalayan Research Institute.
Trout Fish Farm, Patlikuhl
An Indo-Norway trout fish farm in Patlikuhl is worth a visit if one is interested in fish cultivation and trade, which is a major source of revenue in Himachal Pradesh.
You can’t possibly visit the Devbhumi and return without one of its most iconic souvenirs- the famous Kullu shawls, caps and socks to keep you cozy through the winters here or in your hometown. Explore an exciting range of weave work at the Bhuttico or Bodh Shawl Weavers outlets.
Bijli Mahadev Temple
Close to Kullu is an iconic Shiva temple known for its constant interactions with the celestial powers of lightening. What’s more, the view that this temple site offers its pilgrims of the Kullu valley makes the ascend all the more worth it.