Situated in the central parts of the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, Manali is at the head of the Kullu valley, 280 km north of the state capital Shimla and 108 km from Mandi. Manali is perched at an altitude of 2050 meters above sea level and is spread along the banks of the river Beas.
Details: Manali has a pre-historic legend behind its name. Vaivasvata, the seventh incarnation of Manu, the first creation according to Hindu mythology, found a tiny fish in his bathing water. The fish told him to look after it with devotion, for one day it would do him a great service. The seventh Manu cared for the fish until it grew so huge that he released it into the sea. Before departing, the fish warned Manu of an impending deluge when the entire world would be submerged and bade him to build a seaworthy ark. When the flood came, Matsya (fish), the first avatar of Lord Vishnu, towed Vaivasvata and the Seven Sages to safety. As the waters subsided, the seventh Manu\'s ark came to rest on a hillside and the place was named Manali after him.
The nearest airport is Bhuntar, 52 km south of Manali. There are flights to Delhi via Shimla. The closest narrow-gauge railhead is at Jogindernagar, 135 km away. The closest broad-gauge railheads are Chandigarh (310 km) and Ambala (355 km). By road, the distance from Delhi via Mandi is 585 km, and from Shimla the distance is 270 km
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