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When people consider the hill stations located in Himachal Pradesh, Manali and Dharamshala’s names come at the top of their list. Not only are both the hill stations mesmerizingly beautiful, but they offer a glimpse of the snow-capped mountains as well. Both the towns receive heavy snowfalls in the winter season. But the difference between the two cities lies if one touches your soul than the other. Here we are doing an analysis on Manali vs Dharamshala wherein we will be giving info on the various aspects associated with traveling to both the destinations which will help you plan your next vacation.

Natural Landscape


If you consider the natural views of Manali and Dharamshala, the crucial difference lies in the fact that Dharamshala has way more colonial influence than Manali. Whereas Manali is mostly famous for its spectacular scenic beauty. Though it would be unfair to say that Dharamshala is not beautiful, Manali is well-known for its natural sceneries.
Manali is located at an altitude of 6398 feet, whereas Dharamshala is situated at a height of around 5800 feet. That is why Manali receives way more snow falls than Dharamshala. Another feature that makes the natural surroundings of Manali to that of Dharamshala is the presence of the river Beas in Manali. Not only is the river gorgeous, but it is also the home to several water sports activities in Manali.
On the other hand, places in Dharamshala like McLeodgunj make it appropriate for those who want to visit the colonial era of India during the time of the British reign.

Main Highlights


Apart from the water sports activities that make Manali the paradise for adrenaline junkies, there are other places and highlights in Manali too that makes it so popular among tourists all year round. It is the starting point for several unique trekking trails, including Beas Kund or Chandrakhani pass or Chandratal. Many people even prefer to start their journey to Lahaul or Spiti from Manali. While other people also visit Rohtang pass, Manikaran, or Solang Valley from Manali as they are located quite close to the main city center of the hill station. Another highlight of Manali is Kullu that is quite famous for its celebration of Dussehra and the fair surrounding the festival.

Must Read: Top Things To Do In Dharamshala: A Mix Bag Of 22 Popular And Offbeat Activities

On the other hand, Dharamshala’s highlights lie in the Tibetan influence surrounding the place. It is the home to the largest Tibetan temple that is located outside Tibet and also the home to Dalai Lama. But Dharamshala also has spots with natural beauty like Bhagsu Falls, Dal Lake, and many more. Many people prefer to take part in paragliding and parasailing on their trip to Dharamshala as well.

Best Time To Visit


Manali and Dharamshala are both quite famous among tourists not only in India but across the world as well. Hence, both of these places are visited all year round.
But if you love the snow and you want to take part in winter activities, then you should visit Manali between late November and early February. You can also explore Manali quite comfortably if you visit between April and June.
On the other hand, the perfect time to visit Dharamshala is between February and June since it does not snow much out there though you must avoid the monsoon season while visiting both Manali and Dharamshala.

Suggested Read: Honeymoon In Dharamshala: 6 Places That Will Fire Up Your Romantic Life

Ideal Duration

You will be able to examine the entirety of Manali within four days. Several spots need to be covered by visiting, and Manali and four days are enough for them.
On the other hand, you will be able to cover almost every corner of Dharamshala within two days since it is much smaller and Manali, and there are fewer places worth seeing located out there.

Both Manali and Dharamshala is located in India. Before visiting either of these places, you will have to convert your money to Indian currency that is INR.
For helping you understand, the conversion rate between popular currencies and Indian rupees are given below.
1 USD = 70.86 Indian Rupee or INR.
1 Euro = 78.87 INR.
1 pound = 92.29 INR.

Suggested Read: 7 Exciting Things To Do In Dharamshala In May For A Trip To Remember

Manali Vs Dharamshala: Average Budget

Manali climate

In case you are planning a trip to either Manali or Dharamshala, you will have to plan the tour according to a strict budget. Depending on your lifestyle, the budget may vary, but you will have to take into account the different essential elements of the trips. Though the budget does not include extra expenses that include adventure activities or other excursions.
For your better understanding, an estimate of the trip is included in the following section of the blog. You will be able to plan the budget of the trip on different aspects like transfers, hotels and accommodations, food, and other expenses. In this way, you will not be lost while planning the trip and choosing between Manali and Dharamshala.


Manali Mall Road

Flights (economy): INR 8200 for a person. The closest airport to Manali is Bhuntar airport. You can get flights from Delhi quite quickly.
Average Lodging cost:
Manali has a wide range of hotels that differ in their prices quite widely. But the average price for spending a night in Manali is around INR 2000. This price is for a room that can accommodate two people.
The average cost for meals:
For breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the average price for meals in Manali is around INR 1500.
A car would cost you at least INR 1500 for allowing you to explore Manali for the entire day.
The miscellaneous cost in Manali depends from person to person. So, the average can be estimated at INR 300.
The average cost of exploring Manali per day for one person:
Without including the flight fare, the average price of spending a day in Manali is around INR 5300 or 74 USD.

Suggested Read: 7 Amazing Places To Visit Near Dharamshala That Will Make You Pack Your Bags



Flights (economy): INR 5500 for a person. The closest airport to Manali is Kangra airport. You can get flights from Delhi quite quickly.
Average Lodging cost:
With so many lodging options, you will get hotels in Dharamshala at different price ranges. The average cost of spending a night in Dharamshala is around INR 2500.
The average cost for meals:
For breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the average price for meals in Dharamshala is around INR 1000.
Usually, you will have to book a car for the entire day to explore Dharamshala, and the average cost for that is around INR 3000.
There are several adventure-infused activities in Dharamshala. Hence, the miscellaneous cost cannot be estimated since it depends upon you. Nevertheless, you should expect an average price of INR 300 for other expenses.
The average cost of exploring Dharamshala per day for one person:
You will be able to spend an entire day in Dharamshala at an average price of INR 5500 or around 76 USD per person.

Suggested Read: 12 Homestays In Dharamshala: Experience Peace, Comfort And Great Hospitality

Visa Requirements

For reaching to either Manali or Dharamshala, you will have to get a visa to India since both the places are located in India. In case you belong from neighboring countries of India like Nepal or Bhutan, you would not require a visa at all. Otherwise, you can get an e-visa online that will allow you to travel within India for up to ten years if you belong to countries like the USA, Canada, or Japan. In case you are not from the said countries, your visa will be expired after three or six months.

Suggested Read: A Weekend Trip To Dharamshala Is The Perfect Summer Getaway

Manali Vs Dharamshala: Places To Visit


There are several places to explore in Dharamshala as well as in Manali and some of the best-known places to visit are as follows:

Places To Visit In Manali

If you are planning a trip to Manali, you will have to visit the sites mentioned in the following list. These places are quite crucial to the trip.

Hadimba Temple
If you are visiting Manali, you cannot miss the Hadimba temple because not only is the architecture of the temple magnificent, but it is quite essential for the people of the Hindu community as it holds a secure place in the great Indian epic of Mahabharata.

Vashist Hot Springs
Vashist hot springs is genuinely a wonder of mother nature. You will get to bathe in the warm water of the hot spring that is located 3 km away from the main city center of Manali, and it is also located in the quaint village of Vashist by the river Beas.

Jogini Falls
This is yet another magnificent spot located in Manali that can be visited while you reach near Vasisht. Many people prefer to trek out there while others love to have a picnic.

Suggested Read: Discovering Pleasure In The Pathless Woods: Shekhar’s Solo Trip To Dharamshala & Dalhousie

Places To Visit In Dharamshala

The sites mentioned in the list below are quite popular in Dharamshala. Most tourists who visit there make it a point to witness the following areas in Dharamshala.

Tsuglagkhang complex
Not only Tsuglagkhang is the largest Buddhist complex outside Tibet, but it is also the home to the Dalai Lama. You will get to witness the lifestyle of several Buddhist monks that meditate and study out there.

Bhagsunag Falls
Bhagsunag falls located 11 km from Dharamshala, and it is one of the most beautiful places situated in Himachal Pradesh. Not only is the site famous for its glorious views, but an ancient temple is also found out there.

If you are visiting Dharamshala with your family, do not forget to visit Dharamkot that is located 14 km from McLeodganj. It is one of the most beautiful spots of Dharamshala and is a perfect place for a family picnic.

Suggested Read: Camping In Dharamshala: 8 Exquisite Sites For A Stay In The Lap Of Nature!

Manali Vs Dharamshala: Shopping

Shopping In Dharamshala

Manali is famous for wooden items and woolen garments that can be found in the mall area.
The popular spot for shopping in Dharamshala is located on the temple road.

Suggested Read: A Guide To Snowfall In Dharamshala: Experience The Serenity Of This Hill Station

Getting Around

To explore Manali, you will have to book a car or an auto to move around comfortably.
Dharamshala has an excellent public transport system. Hence you can travel from one place to another in Dharamshala by public buses.

Further Read: 30 Amazing Places To Visit In Dharamshala

These are some of the most important details that will help you plan your next holiday. Whether you go for a holiday in Manali or a trip to Dharamshala, make sure you have all this information in your mind to vacay like a pro. Also, do share your experience in the comments below.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Manali Vs Dharamshala

Which place is more beautiful between Dharamshala and Manali?

Even though both Manali and Dharamshala are glorious, but Manali is more beautiful in terms of scenic beauty.

Which one is better for adventure activities- Manali Vs. Dharamshala?

You will be able to take part in more adventure related activities in Dharamshala rather than Manali.

Which place is quieter- Manali Vs Dharamshala?

Dharamshala is more populated by tourists than Manali.

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Category: Dharamshala, Manali, Places To Visit

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