A cool temperate climate, lush alpine forests, a river flowing by and an appealing landscape around does make Manali a perfect holiday getaway destination.
But the beauty that we appreciate today is only half of what it was 20 years ago. The peaceful valley dotted with a traditional habitation that relied upon cultivating fruits and farming grain crops, in two decades, has undergone drastic change.
Manali, loved much by tourists, in these years has seen a dramatic rise in the number of tourists visiting the valley, which has led to increased vehicular traffic, environmental degradation and haphazard constructions taking place.
Unsustainable human activities do leave an impact on the surroundings and this himalayan valley does show it. The air, the river and the quiet glades are not as clean as they used to be.
Manali has its share of favoured café’s, hotels and markets with their distinct charm to them, but as they meet the needs of the growing tribes of travellers and tourists, a deeper desire of getting away from the crowds for that quiet monologue with nature remains unfulfilled.
A first time visitor to Manali, looking for mountain ambiance and open spaces is taken aback with the sight of new buildings coming up in the valley look, further congesting and commercialising the place that at least two former prime ministers, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Jawahar Lal Nehru, in the thick of governing a large country, often turned to for peace and solace.