The history of Manali is quiet mythical. The history of this place is related to the reign of Mahabharata. It is believed that Manali was the home of lawgiver Lord Manu. Even the name Manali means house of Manu. There is a story behind Manali and is said that when Manu and other Gods were flooded, the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu saved them by taking to dry lands and Manu found Manali as his refuge. Some say that during the 17th century, the idol of Lord Raghunathji was bought by Raja Jagat Singh to his thrones who till now a presiding deity and king of Manali.
During the ancient times the land was densely populated by nomadic hunters called rakshas. Next were the shepherds who settled here in the Kangra valley and took up agriculture as their occupation. There existed two inhabitants and that were naur and nar, the unique cast of Kullu Valley. In present times, only few naur families now exist here.
The Manali town actually flourished during the British era. They made this hill station their choice to stay during the hot summers. They introduced apple, pine and trout fishing to Manali. Today, the rise of turmoil in Kashmir valley has made Manali a most visited tourist alternative.