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                KULLU                                                         Photo Gallery by Ashwani Kaul

Kangra Altitude : 615m  
Places Of Interest : Jawalamukhi, Kangra Fort, Brajeshwari Temple  
Best Time To Visit : Mid-May To Mid-November

HOW TO GET THERE                          Road: Kangra is well connected by road with Dharamsala, which is 18-km away.
Rail: Nearest broad-gauge railhead at Pathankot is 86-km away . Kangra Valley express is a narrow gauge train, starting from Pathankot and continues to Bajinath.
Air: Kangra airport is 7-km away and has got straight flights from Delhi


How To Get There:

The airport at Bhuntar is 10km from Kullu, where taxis and buses are available. The closest narrow gauge railhead is at Jogindernager, 95km from Kullu. By road, the distance from Delhi via Mandi is 530 km and from Shimla this is 240km. From Delhi and  Shimla, luxury buses fly to Kullu. 


In winter, the temperature gets quite low when heavy woolens are required. It is pleasant in summer and cottons are recommended.  


Bajaura Temple


Kullu (1220m) was once known as Kulanthpitha- 'the end of the habitable world'.  Beyond rose the forbidding heights of the Greater Himalayas, and by the banks of the shining river Beas, lay the fabled 'Silver Velley.'  Kullu got its first motor able    access only after Independence. The long centuries of seclusion have however    allowed the area to retain a considerable measure of its traditional charm. Here  is the core of an intricate web of numerous valleys each of which is a visual delight   and seems more beautiful than the other. The 'Silver Valley' has nature's treasures that lie carelessly scattered as flowers on the high meadows. Here are riches  which cannot be measured and echo down the ages with the words of every myth and ancient legend- and glow in the  warm smiles of its gentle people. There is pleasure in every step you take in these enchanted valleys and in every gurgle you hear in the clear mountain   streams.

Blessed with an abundance of Natural beauty, the Kullu Valley, Himachal's prized tourist destination, is rightly celebrated as the valley of the Gods. Nestled between the Dhauladhar and    Pir Panjal ranges, it is the cradle of the great River Beas. About  80km long, this lush valley  extends from the gorge at Aut to the Rohtang pass. it harbours forests, alpine meadows,  gurgling rivulets and orchards laden with fruit, and its  Inhabitants are a joyful and gentlepeople.  Treat yourself to a glimpse of this Himalayan  paradise. Wander through the valley, succumb to its Magical charms and discover Himachal at its best.

Places of Interest in and around Kullu  

Raghunath Temple:

In the 17th century, Raja Jagat Singh of Kulu committed a great wrong. To atone for the sin he sent a senior counter to Ayodhya for statue of Lord Raghunath- Lord Rama. This temple was built by Raja Jagat Singh to house the image and even today, is greatly revered. 

 Bijali Mahadev (14 km) 

 There is a strange phenomenon of nature, every year lightening takes place on a particular plateau. It is so forceful that the entire locality around resounds with violent howl. What is amazing is that no destruction takes place. According to a legend Rudra, one of the great gods has to spit its anger in the form of tremendous fire once an year which damaged earthly life and material that the Saint Vashishitha approached Rudra to shun away the habit but he was refused with the reason that that was the nature of Rudra otherwise tremendous energy stored in the body would destroy Rudra himself. It was decided that a particular place might be chosen for that action and some of the great gods must come forward for the rescue of the people suffering due to that fire as there was no fault of the inhabitants living on that spot. Lord Shiva was approached and was requested that several times he had rescued the life on earth he might suggest some way to avoid unnecessary destruction. Lord with a serious thought, agreed upon the proposal and offered himself that he would bear all the consequences of the lightening on his symbolic structure of Linga but after the lightening some one from the locality have to give a healing touch to the symbolic structure enshrined on the top of the hillock. Thus the problem was sought out. This was the strange phenomenon that Rudra was another aspect of Lord Shiva and Lord Shiva was there to bear the consequences of his wrath. There is a hymn in Rigveda (3/46/7)

"0 Rudra the lightening that apears on earth from the sky may leave us, on This earth in peace". And there is another hymn:

"Swapivat," oh great god there are several cures in form of medicinal herbs don's destroy this earth. "Swapivat" is term used for self affliction. It was the fire emitted by lord Shiva and it should be engulfed by himself only. There was no other god to face the thrust of that energetic emittance. With the result that Rudra himself came to rescue and absorbed the powerful thrust on himself in the form of Linga which was erected on a hillock on the confluence of Parvati and Beas. There is a small temple known as Bijali Mahadev or Bijaleshwar. It is said that the tenure of lightening was changed from an year to once in twelve years. the people and the priest of the temple narrate that after every twelve years phenomenon of lightening is repeated and the Linga shatters into pieces which are colleted piece by piece and glued together with the help of butter collected from the public. The butter is pure one and the people themselves offer in bits. The priest while chanting the hymns recreates the Linga by assembling small pieces glued together with the butter collected in this way. The butter leaves behind its melting point and solidifies as stone. This is a strange phenomenon and the scientists are baffled that how this metamorphosis takes place.

The place is called as Mathana or Thamana which is situated at about eight kilometres from the town of Kullu, at the height of about 9000 feet. There is a small temple erected on a plateau. It is a hill style of temple and the main deity is of lord Shiva. One has to climb a steep path to reach the temple. The narrow path twins along the apple orchids and virtually ends on the top of the Kullu valley overlooking the vast span of the lush green forests, the cascading waters of Beas shimmering in the sun and the small box like huts as if toys are placed in the lush green fields.

There are a number of anecdotes prevalent in the valley about the mystic aspects of Bijali Mahadev. According to one the deity was discovered from a field while ploughing, The farmer took it along with him and kept the image in his box of corn. It  so happened that the corn overflowed from the box the next day. The villagers were astonished to see the phenomenon.

The next day when a dumb cowboy  was escorting the cows back from the grazing site he found that a cow was missing. He searched for her and was astonished to find that she was giving milk nearby a rock. He tried to explain the strange process to the landlord but he did not believe him. On the second day again cow  was seen on the same spot giving milk that the cowboy rushed to the house of the landlord to show the family members the strange phenomenon but till then the cow had returned. In the night, the landlord had a dream that the image of Lord Shiva be installed on the place where the cow voluntarily showed her Pleasantries. The landlord questioned the validity and asked in the dream to the heavenly voice that he would agree to the proposal provided the dumb cow boy gets his voice back. According to the old men of the locality the cowboy got his voice back the next day and returning from his toil he demanded the food in his voice instead of gestures. Thus the temple of Bijali Mahadev came into existence.

Nearby the temple of Bijli Mahadev  there are a number of other religious places where the god rests a while before it is carried to the assembly of the gods during Dushera. The people from far and wide come there to offer their homage and get their wishes fulfilled. Once in a year there use to be a fair where the people from the locality and Kullu come there to participate in the fare. There is a small inn by the side of temple where the pilgrims can stay overnight.

[ Dr Ashok Jerath is the author of Hindu Shrines of the Western Himalayas]

Bajaura (15 km) :One of the most charming temples in the Kullu valley, this is renowned for its intricate stone carvings

Other Temples: The Vaishno Devi temple (4 km) the Devi Jagannathi temple at Bekhi (5 km) and the Vishnu temple at Dayar (12 km) are other important shrines around Kulu.  

Kaisdhar (15 km): A high meadow fringed by deodar trees. A pictureque spot.  

Kasol (42 km) : An open glade by the banks of the river Paravti. Clean white sand separates the lush green grass from the waters. A good spot for trout. Himachal Tourism  has a Tourist Hut here.  

Manikaran (45km) :

At 1737 m, here are hot sulphur springs that bubble next to the icy waters of the Parvati river. The place is revered by both Hindus and Sikhs. Treks from here lead to Pulga, Khirganga and Mantalai- a strech of considerable natural beauty. The route finally reaches the Pin Parvati Pass (4802 m) which opens into the Sutlej valley. At Manikaran Himachal Tourism runs the Hotel Parvati.  


ROERICH  Gallery

Nicholas Roerich was a Russian-born artist who became a cultural figure of global significance, a passionate promoter through his art and writings of an increased appreciation of the value to the world of the cultural heritage of all nations, and of the ways in which this appreciation can help to achieve peace in the world.  

"India, we know the depths and the fineness of thy thoughts. We know the great OM which leads to  inexpressible heights. We know thy great guiding spirit.  India , we know thy ancient wisdom, thy sacred scriptures in which is outlined the past, present and the future. And we shall remem6er thee with the same tremor as the most precious first flower on the spring meadow." 

These are words of the Artist, Archaeologist, Explorer, Philosopher and Humanist, Nicholas Roerich; born in St. Petersburg (Russia) on  9 October, 1874. Apostle of Beauty, Messenger of Culture, mighty Warrior of the Spirit, Master of Himalayas -thus was Nicholas Roerich called by some of his eminent contemporaries. His work comprises around 7000 paintings and sketches, which can be found in many famous museums and private collections all around the world; he created stage decorations, designs and costumes for the most acclaimed theatres and opera houses in Europe and the USA; he is an author of a great number of books, countless articles and essays. His deep love for world culture has been materialized in the unfurling of the Roerich International Banner of Peace. It's main task was to guard and protect the lofty monuments of artistic and scientific institutions and collections of the creative spirit of human genius from the havoc of war and acts of barbarity. The Pact was signed in 1935 in Washington by 21 countries in presence of the President F. Roosevelt.  

Under his leadership, several institutions and organizations have been founded around the world, the avowed purpose of them being promotion of art and culture. After returning from Central Asiatic Expedition, N. Roerich with his family settled in Naggar, near Kullu in Himachal Pradesh and spent here almost 20 years, full of incessant and creative work. He painted high peaks of Himalayas, vast lands of Central Asia and its peoples -their history, legends and spiritual traditions. His canvases startle with harmony of composition and amazing consonance of the colours.  

"When I think of Nicholas Roerich I am astounded at the scope and abundance of his activities and creative genius. A great artist, a great scholar and writer, archaeologist and explorer, he touched and lighted up so many aspects of human endeavour. The very quantity is stupendous-thousands of paintings and each one of them a great work of art. When you look at these paintings, so many of them of the Himalayas, you seem to catch the spirit of those great mountains which have towered over the Indian plain and been our sentinels for ages past. They remind us of spiritual heritage so much not merely of the India of the past but of something that is permanent and eternal about India, that we cannot help feeling a great sense of indebtedness to Nicholas Roerich who has enshrined that spirit in these magnificent canvases.   Jawaharlal Nehru

 The pursuit of refinement and beauty was sacred for Roerich. He believed that although earthly temples and artifacts may perish, the thought that brings them into existence does not die but is part of an eternal stream of consciousness -- man's aspirations nourished by his directed will and by the energy of thought. Finally, he believed that peace on Earth was a prerequisite to planetary survival and the continuing process of spiritual evolution, and he exhorted his fellow man to help achieve that peace by uniting in the common language of Beauty and Nicholas Roerich died in Kullu on December 13, 1947. His body was cremated and its ashes buried on a slope facing the mountains he loved and portrayed in many of his nearly seven thousand works.                                                              

                                                    ROERICH   GALLERY

Fishing and Adventure      

      The Kullu valley has numerous places for trout fishing. These include Katrain, Raison, Kasol       and  Naggar, then along the river Tirthan near Larji, in the Sainj Valley and in the Hurla Khud.The valley is the nucleus of several trek routes. Some major ones are over the Chander khani Pass  

Kullu Dussehra      

When Dussehra celebrations come to an end in the rest of the country, they begin at Kullu. Over 600 local deities come to pay homage to Lord Raghunath. This is a time when the valley is at its colourful best. to Malana, over the Jalori Pass or Bashleo Pass to Shimla, and over the Pin Parvati Pass to Sarahan  

Pin Parvati Pass to Sarahan     
The river Beas offers excellent opportunities for while water rafting.  

Shopping: Shawls, local tweeds, rugs ('namdas'), foot wear ('pullan'), baskets, natural oils (almond and olive), caps.  

             The Great Himalayan National Park was set up in 1984 and comprises the valleys of the Sainj and Tirthan, tributaries of the Beas.    Read more....