Manali is a Valley nestled in the mountains of the Indianstate of Himachal Pradesh near the northern end of the Kullu Valley, at an altitude of 2,050 m (6,726 ft) in the Beas RiverValley. It is located in the Kullu district, about 270 km (168 mi) north of the state capital, Shimla. The small town, with a population of 8,096 is the beginning of an ancient trade route to Ladakh and from there over the Karakoram Pass on to Yarkand and Khotan in the Tarim Basin. It is a popular tourist destination and serves as the gateway to Lahaul & Spiti district as well as Leh. Kullu is a valley with scores of picturesque sights and temples, Manali is a stunning hilltop with splashing rivers, water streams, and lofty mountains in the state of Himachal Padesh. Kullu and Manali tourism hits the highest point in the summer holiday season and also during December to February when the climate is mostly pleasant and nice.