Manali Drift wood

The quaint little hill town of Manali is encircled by the lofty snowcapped Himalayan ranges and comprises of undulating valleys dotted by stately pine and fir groves. The swirling waters of the mighty Himalayan rivers and bubbling streams are famed to cause catastrophic floods where there is wanton destruction of plenty of trees. This provides an opulent supply of wood that is responsible for the flourishing Manali drift wood industry.

These wood pieces, of assorted shapes and sizes that are washed ashore by the river water are picked up, cut and chiseled into interesting shapes and then polished until it acquires a fine sheen. The drift wood pieces are of great value to the local artisans and is used to make unique artifacts that are very much in vogue with the tourists. The recurrent floods of the Beas River and its tributaries have caused tremendous destruction and claimed several lives. Yet indirectly, they are a boon for the local businessmen who use the raw driftwood pieces to make interesting objects that make nice souvenirs and keepsakes.

The shops in Ramshilla and Babeli, that are sited at a stone's throw distance from the Kullu Bus Stand showcase an excellent collection of drift wood products. Amateurs, dilettantes as well as the patrons of fine arts all collect the intriguing drift wood pieces. The Manali drift wood industry has reached such heights of success that names of the traditional masters like Pandit Durga Prasad Rao and Kuldeep Dhiman, are now local legends.