Heading to the mountains? Bored of the usual Kullu-Manali circuit? Might we suggest heading to these five pristine places near Manali, and away from the crowds to truly experience the peace and serenity that the mountains have to offer? By Amitha Ameen

1. Jibhi


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This one is a hidden gem of the Banjar valley. The village itself is settled on the banks of river Tirthan and filled with buildings constructed in ancient Himalayan style, with most of the buildings made out of woods and stones, giving it an old-world charm. Apple orchards, galgal trees, the sound of the river and a book in hand – we can’t think of a more ideal holiday.

2. Jalori Pass


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The best time to visit Jalori Pass is between June to October. A drive through the pass is an experience on its own. Challenging but scenic, thanks to the towering deodar/pine forests that cover the route of the journey. While making your way up the pass, stop at Serolsar lake and Raghupur fort before retreating to your campsite for a night under the stars.

3. Gulaba


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This tiny village is situated on the gorgeous Rohtang pass route. A visual treat thanks to its snow-clad mountains, numerous hiking trails, and green grasslands. The village is also well-known for its adventure sports like snow-biking and paragliding. One of those places near Manali but still away from the crowds.

4. Jagatsukh


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This temple town is surrounded by picturesque valleys and towering mountains. The town was formerly the capital of Manali and is known for being a laid-back destination with friendly locals. We would recommend enjoying a home-cooked meal, visiting the ancient temples and stocking up on some of the best homemade cheese one can get their hands on.

5. Dobhi


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Riverside camps, hidden waterfalls, paragliding from one of the highest points in Himachal and beautiful Buddhist monasteries – you get the picture right? This small hamlet is the perfect definition of an unexplored, culturally rich town. At a distance of just 22 kilometers before Manali, Dobhi is easily accessible and far less-crowded compared to her more popular cousin.

Related: We Stayed In An Igloo In Manali And This Is What Happened!