Exploring the Road Less Traveled: Manali to Shangarh


Nestled in the pristine landscapes of Himachal Pradesh, the journey from Manali to Shangarh offers an exhilarating experience for travelers seeking adventure, natural beauty, and a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.

As the engine revs up and the tires hit the winding road, you’ll embark on a scenic expedition that takes you through dense forests, lush meadows, and charming villages. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at this incredible road trip and discover the hidden gems that make Manali to Shangarh a must-visit route for nature enthusiasts and thrill-seekers alike.

The Route

The journey from Manali to Shangarh is not for the faint of heart. It’s a remote and rugged path that will lead you from the popular tourist destination of Manali to the serene and lesser-known village of Shangarh. The distance between these two points is approximately 100 kilometers, but the challenging terrain and unpredictable weather conditions can make it a thrilling adventure.

Leaving Manali, you’ll follow the Manali-Bajaura-Nalagarh Road until you reach Aut. From Aut, you’ll take a diversion towards Banjar and continue through dense forests, apple orchards, and small villages. The final stretch takes you through meandering roads to Shangarh, perched at an elevation of 6,500 feet, offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Scenic Beauty

The Manali to Shangarh route is a paradise for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts. The entire journey is a visual treat, with every turn revealing breathtaking landscapes. The lush greenery, alpine meadows, and snow-capped peaks create a mesmerizing backdrop for your road trip. The drive along the Tirthan River, as it snakes its way through the valley, adds to the charm of the journey.

One of the highlights of the trip is the stunning Serlosar Lake, a high-altitude lake surrounded by tall pine trees and a carpet of wildflowers. This is an ideal spot for a peaceful picnic and some soul-refreshing moments in the lap of nature, followed by a cozy stay at a Shangarh hotel.

Hidden Gems

Shangarh is a hidden gem in the Himachal Pradesh tourism map. This serene village offers a perfect escape from the crowds and commercialization of Manali. The architecture in Shangarh reflects the traditional Himachali style, and the village is dotted with quaint wooden houses. It is an ideal place for a peaceful retreat, with opportunities for trekking, birdwatching, and cultural experiences.

The Great Himalayan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is nearby and can be explored for its rich biodiversity. The park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers, with a chance to spot rare species such as the Western Tragopan and the Himalayan Tahr.

Cultural Experiences

The local culture and way of life in Shangarh are deeply rooted in tradition. You can interact with the warm and hospitable locals who take pride in showcasing their heritage. You may have the chance to witness traditional festivals, rituals, and dances. Local cuisine is a delightful experience, with homemade dishes that give you a taste of authentic Himachali flavors.

Shangarh hotels, though limited in number, offer a unique experience in themselves. These cozy accommodations provide a comfortable and authentic stay, often managed by local families who are more than happy to share stories and insights about their way of life. Staying in a Shangarh hotel allows you to immerse yourself fully in the local culture.

Outdoor Adventures

For the adventure enthusiasts, Shangarh and its surroundings have a lot to offer. The trekking trails around the village lead to breathtaking viewpoints, lush meadows, and serene forests. One such popular trek is the Shangarh Waterfall Trek, a moderate hike that takes you to a mesmerizing waterfall hidden in the woods. The trek provides an opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the region and capture some stunning photographs.

Angling is another popular activity in Shangarh, with the Tirthan River teeming with trout. Many tourists come here for fishing, and it’s an excellent way to relax and enjoy the serenity of the riverbanks. Be sure to check local regulations and acquire the necessary permits for fishing.

If you visit during the winter months, you might even get a chance to witness the village covered in a blanket of snow. The pristine landscapes transform into a winter wonderland, and you can engage in activities like snowshoeing and building snowmen.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site: Great Himalayan National Park

A significant attraction near Shangarh is the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP). This UNESCO World Heritage site is a biodiversity hotspot that covers an area of over 1,500 square kilometers. The park is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including rare and endangered species. While at Shangarh, it’s highly recommended to plan a visit to this pristine natural sanctuary.

GHNP offers several trekking routes and nature trails that cater to different levels of trekkers. One of the most popular treks is the Tirthan Valley Trek, which starts from the Gushaini village, located near Shangarh. It takes you through dense forests, alongside glistening streams, and offers a chance to spot diverse wildlife. The park is known for species like the Himalayan tahr, snow leopard, and the elusive Western Tragopan, a bird with striking plumage.

The park hosts 300+ bird species, such as monal pheasants, Himalayan monals, and various pheasants and eagles. Ideal for birdwatching, the spring and summer months bring the forest to life with avian sounds.

Guides offer insights into the park’s ecology and its inhabitants during explorations. Birdwatching enthusiasts can spot these feathered wonders while taking leisurely walks through the forested trails. GHNP’s biodiversity and its role in preserving the fragile Himalayan ecosystem make it a must-visit destination for any nature lover.

Local Cuisine

Himachali cuisine is a delightful exploration in itself. The flavors are a blend of authentic spices and locally sourced ingredients. While in Shangarh, you must try dishes like Dham, a traditional Himachali feast prepared during festivals and special occasions. It includes a variety of dishes like Chana Madra, Sepu Vadi, and Babru, served with rice and bread.

Shangarh locals are proud of their apple orchards, offering various apple-based products like chutney and pickle. Don’t forget to savor a glass of refreshing apple juice, especially during the apple harvest season.

Local bakeries in Shangarh serve freshly baked bread and cakes, which make excellent snacks during your trekking adventures. You can experience the warmth and hospitality of the local people in every meal you enjoy here.

Wajaz Ali

I am Wajazali, journalist, and blogger. I think that information is a great force that is able to change people’s lives for the better. That is why I feel a strong intention to share useful and important things about health self-care, wellness and other advice that may be helpful for people. Being an enthusiast of a healthy lifestyle that keeps improving my life, I wish the same for everyone.

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