Friday, April 12, 2013

Kullu District, Himachal Pradesh

Tour date: 18th December 2011

Kullu town in Kullu Valey

Kullu is the capital town of the Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh, 1 of theIndian State. It is located on the banks of the Beas River in Kullu Valley about ten kilometres north of the airport at Bhuntar, in between Kullu and Manali. Kullu is a broad open valley formed by the Beas river between Manali and Largi. This valley is famous for its beauty and its majestic hills covered with Pine and Deodar forest and sprawling Apple Orchards.The course of the Beas river presents a succession of magnificent, clad with forests of Deodar, towering above trees of Pine on the lower rocky ridges. Kullu valley is sandwiched between the Pir Panjal, Lower Himalayan and Great Himalayan range.

Kullu, seated at 1,220m was once known as Kulanthpitha, meaning `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 Valley`.

The Chinese pilgrim monk Xuanzang visited the Kullu Valley in 634 or 635 CE. He described it as a fertile region completely surrounded by mountains. It contained a Budhist Stupa built by the great Emperor Ashoka, which is said to mark the place where the Buddha preached to the local people and made conversions. However, the stupa was taken away by a mughal ruler and was put in feroz shah kotla maidan in Delhi. There were some twenty Buddhist monasteries, with about 1,000 monks, most of whom were Mahayanist. There were also some fifteen Hindu temples, and people of both faiths lived mixed together. There were meditation caves near the mountain passes inhabited by both Buddhist and Hindu practitioners. The country is said to have produced gold, silver, red copper, crystal lenses and bell-metal.

To start seeing the snow capped mountain upon reaching the Kullu district, means a lot to all of us. Our long distance journey, nearly 500km from Delhi was worthy. We were lost with it's beauty.

On the east of Kullu, lies a broad mountainous ridge having the village-temples of Bijli Mahadev, Mounty Nag and Pueed for those who wishes to visit the ashram. Beyond the ridge lies Manikaran valley, along the Paarvati river which joins Beas in Bhuntar. On the South of Kullu lie towns of Bhuntar, Out (leading to Anni, Banjar and Siraj Valley) and Mandi (in Mandi district). Historically Kullu was accessible from Shimla via Siraj valley or through passes on the west leading to Jogindernagar and onto Kangra. To it's north lies the famous town of Manali, which through the Rohtang pass leads onto the Lahaul and Spiti Valley. Once can see an enormous change in the climate as one climbs up the windward side of the ranges to proceed to the leeward and much drier plateaus to the north of Manali.

I wish to repeat that Kullu can be reached from Delhi by India National Highway, NH1 up to Chandigarh and from there by National Highway NH21 that passes through Bilaspur, Sundernagar and Mandi towns. The road distance from Delhi to Chandigarh is 248 km and from Chandigarh to Kullu is 233 km; the total distance from Delhi to Kullu thus is 481 km (299 mi). For the record, NH21 goes further to Manali and from there to Rohtang Pass and Leh. 

To be continued...
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