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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Overtourism In Manali – Reality or Myth?

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Imtiaz Ullah
Imtiaz Ullahhttps://nomadlawyer.org/about/
Imtiaz Ullah is the founder of travel website - NomadLawyer. A Corporate Lawyer, Senior Travel Correspondent, The Traveller Trails magazine and also acts as an Advisory Member, NGO - Sarvahitey. His travel philosophy is exploring new places, meeting new people, knowing the culture, eating like a local. He always believes in the idea-“ Don't just be a traveller but a Responsible one”.

What is overtourism?

Overtourism In Manali: Overtourism occurs when there is an exponential burst of visitors at a particular destination. Now “Exponential” is a subjective term, of course, but it is defined in each destination by local residents, hosts, business owners, and tourists. 

What is the Exponential burst?

When the rent prices push out local tenants to make way for holiday rentals, that is over-tourism. When narrow roads become jammed with tourist vehicles, that is over-tourism. When wildlife is scared away, when tourists cannot view landmarks because of the crowds, when fragile environments become degraded – these are all signs of over-tourism. 

Overtourism In Manali

When there is an impact on the climate, a place that receives normal snowfall does not receive snowfall at all, adverse floods in the coastal areas may result in global warming which is really concerning, recent forest fires in Australia. Overtourism also plays a part in global warming. 

Is the beautiful destination of Manali- a Victim of overtourism?

This is a very easy question and of course no prize for guessing. Some sights that are common in Manali during high season- are prolonged traffic snarls, choked highways, overflowing parking places, and packed hotels. The worst affected is the ecologically fragile Rohtang Pass, with crowds becoming totally unmanageable, and sometimes unruly too. Overtourism goes against the principles of a sustainable tourism economy. 

Considering the grave impact on this beautiful tourist destination, the NGT has now ordered that not more than 1200 tourist vehicles, 800 of these petrol and 400 diesel, will be permitted per day. To ensure this, all tourist vehicles headed for Rohtang Pass need a valid permit, available online. 

Overtourism In Manali

But the question remains is it helping? Corruption here has become rampant. 

Overtourism is causing ecological damage to Manali. The damage caused by such large tourist numbers can have a severe impact on the ecology. Clearing the huge garbage, disposable food packets, plastic bottles, cups and other food waste dumped by tourists is an issue. High vehicle emissions not only raise the temperature, causing faster snow-melting but also blacken the surface of the snow and glaciers there. 

Overtourism In Manali

NomadLawyer recommends one alternative that may be helpful- start exploring the less traveled places near Manali rather than traveling only to Manali which is making this place vulnerable and making it a victim of overtourism. Exploring other places may distribute the ratio of travelers evenly. 

In this age of modern technology when one can research places with the click of a button, the world has shrunken to such an extent that it has become increasingly difficult to find places that are less traveled and can be termed as hidden gems. 

In my quest to explore the less traveled trails, I stumbled upon a place near Manali called Palchan Village which is still pristine and surreal; a hidden gem away from honking cars, loud music, and free from the hustle-and-bustle of city life. In Palchan, you wake up to the sound of birds chirping in an ideal morning and during the day, you can choose to be part of the village community by helping them with farming and eating like a local with fresh vegetables plucked from backyard farms.

An ideal evening can be spent over a cup of tea, gazing at the stupendously mesmerizing sunset after an afternoon siesta. In my quest to explore a less-traveled village near Manali, I spoke to my friend Kapil Thakur, owner of Clifftop Cottage. The very next moment, I received an invitation from him to spend the new year with him in his beautiful abode. The invitation says, “Welcome to Clifftop Cottage! It is our proud privilege to host NomadLawyer Aka Imtiaz Ullah and his family and I could not turn down his invitation. 

Road trip from Delhi to Palchan village, Manali

Traveling from Delhi you need to do the following route: Delhi – Murthal (dhaba food) – Karnal (dhaba food) – Ambala (dhaba food) – Take the road towards Ludhiana – Right at Shambhu Toll Plaza (Leave NH1 at the toll plaza after Ambala) – Ropar – Anandpur Sahib (Right towards Manali here) – Swarghat (HPTDC restaurant) – Bilaspur – Sundernagar – Mandi (dhaba food) – Bhuantar – Kullu bypass – Manali- Palchan Village. 

Overtourism In Manali

Mode of Transport- Renault Duster 4wd Distance- 580 kilometers. Time Taken- 15 hours. 

Experiential stay at Clifftop Cottage (owner Kapil Thakur) 

Clifftop Cottage is situated in Palchan Village, around 10 kilometers from Manali, on the way to Rohtang Pass. 

Watch this video to see the full property tour:

Overtourism In Manali

Palchan is a village in Kullu district in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India. 

Now you may be inquisitive to know about “experiential stay”, to keep it very simple, it means” Less on Travel more on Experiences”. Kapil really believes in providing experience to his customers and creating lifetime memories. 

Kapil thakur

Kapil says, “Escape the crowded resorts, traffic snarls and long queues of people waiting to see the next attraction but instead, experience the serenity and tranquility, taste local Himachali cuisine and enjoy the vistas of nature from Clifftop cottage” 

More about the property: 

Clifftop cottage has three types of rooms: 

Overtourism In Manali kapil thakur

Family Attic Room

Completely furnished in wood, the attic room is something that is straight out of a fairytale. The spacious room comes with a king-size bed and a child bed that makes it ideal for a couple or a small family of three. Bright interiors and a spacious balcony overlooking the magical surroundings add a certain charm to the room. 

Overtourism In Manali

Deluxe Room

A Room adorned with a golden touch of wood, the Super Deluxe Room comes with all modern amenities for a comfortable stay. The spacious room comes with a king-sized bed and other necessary furniture that can accommodate two adults and one extra guest. 

Overtourism In Manali

The bright interiors add to the charm of the room and the balcony looks out to the snow-capped mountain view of Rohtang Pass and the beautiful valley of Manali. 

The attached bathroom comes with basic amenities like hot water and toiletries. 

Garden View Room

The cozy and comfortable Deluxe Garden View Room is ideal for a couple or 3 guests with a king-sized bed or the addition of an extra bed. The rooms come with bright interiors and wood-paneled walls and wooden flooring. The room offers an enthralling view of the surrounding gardens and the beautiful valley of Manali. 

Overtourism In Manali

The attached bathroom comes with basic amenities like hot water and toiletries. 

The room has an attached bathroom with basic toiletries and facilities. 

To sum up, Clifftop Cottage is a blend of local architecture and a taste of luxury. 

Are you ready for the Palchan holiday, can’t work out your travel itinerary? No worries — NomadLawyer shall give you a few hints. 

The ideal thing to do here is explore the vistas of nature, and get on your trekking shoes, if you like skiing this is the ideal place, by the way, Kapil Thakur owner of Clifftop is a national-level skier, you can enjoy his guidance. If you still have time, don’t forget to sip some coffee by gazing at the Dhauladhar and the Pir Panjal mountain ranges of the Himalayas. 

Things to do:

There are a lot of adventure sports that you can do in the vicinity and you can also prefer to do nothing and just enjoy the beauty of nature around the property. 

Overtourism In Manali

Paragliding In Manali

Paragliding facilities are available at Solang Nallah and Marhi. Tourists are advised to undertake the sport only through the operators who are registered with the Tourism Department. 

Overtourism In Manali

Skiing In Manali

Manali is an excellent valley with captivating perspectives of snow-topped mountains, thick conifer woodland, lavish green knolls, and a winding stream. It is host to a range of enterprise exercises and one can enjoy sports like skiing and snowboarding. 

Rafting In Manali

Rafting in Manali is available on stretches of the River Beas, where rapids of high grades can be negotiated. Rafting in Kullu Manali provides an exhilarating interlude for enthusiasts. 

Trekking In Manali

Manali is one of the best places for trekking in the Himalayas region. Explore exotic Manali treks with us and experience the best trekking adventures in Manali at the lowest prices. 

Overtourism In Manali

We had a wonderful stay at Clifftop Cottage and the hospitality provided by Kapil Thakur was top-notch. We at Nomadlawyer, highly recommend this place. If you wish to visit Manali but still wish to stay away from the maddening crowd and the pangs of over-tourism, then Clifftop Cottage can be your ideal place to stay. 

Overtourism In Manali

When you stay amidst the cacophony created by tourists at the heart of Manali, over-tourism seems like a reality but when you explore the nearby villages in the vicinity of Manali then over-tourism seems like a myth. 

Overtourism In Manali

We at NomadLawyer believe that experiential travel not only enriches you as a human being but also brings you a newfound understanding of various colors of people, the culture of a place, and the cuisine of the locality

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