Snuggled amidst the forbidding mountain ranges of the Himalayas lies the charming valley of Kullu, spread along the banks of the Beas River. Often known as the ‘Valley of the Gods’ due to the myth surrounding it as being the abode of the Gods, Kullu is known for its beautiful landscapes comprising of the towering Himalayan peaks and the lush green mountain forests.
The Kullu Valley, along with its neighboring district, Manali is one of the most sought after and most visited hill stations in the state of Himachal Pradesh in India. Renowned for its fresh and natural beauty, Kullu attracts tourists from all across the world and is also famous for its tourist attractions which include a number of ancient forts, religious sites, wildlife sanctuaries, and dams.
Kullu in the Past
The Kullu Valley was founded in the first century of the Christian era by a native of Tripura, a person called Behangamani Pal. It has also been mentioned in the ancient Hindu scriptures, such as the Mahabharata, the Ramayana, the Vishnu Puranas and other Sanskrit texts, whereby it is known as Kulanthpitha, that literally means ‘The ending point of the Habitable World’. The Chinese pilgrim monk, Hiuen Tsiang (AD 629-645) named it as Kiu-lu.
Kullu is one of the most ancient states, next to Kashmir and Kangra. It was ceded to the British in the year 1846, according to the Lahore agreement, along with other trans-Sutlej states. On 1st November 1966, upon the reorganization of the states, Kullu became a District of Himachal Pradesh. Kullu was not an easily accessible place until the Indian Independence in 1947, after which the valley could finally be accessed by motor vehicles. Read More..................
Geography of Kullu
Situated at an average elevation of 1,362 meters or 4,469 feet, the Kullu district is spread along the banks of the River Beas and is located on the west side of the majestic Himalayas. A chief tributary of the river, Sarwari-Khud, which derives its name from ‘Shiv-Baardi’ leads to the adjoining beautiful valley, called the Lug-Valley, which is located on the west side of the Kullu Valley and is steeper hitherto less explored. In earlier times, Kullu was accessible from Shimla via the Siraj valley or through the passes on the west leading to Jogindernagar and onto Kangra.
Direction-wise, the Kullu district is bounded by the Lahaul and the Spiti Valley on the north and east side, by Shimla on the south, by the Mandi district in the south-west and west side, by the Kinnaur district on the south-east side and by the Kangra district on the north-west side. The Kullu District occupies an area of approximately 5503 square kilometres. Read More..............
Climate of Kullu
The Kullu Valley has three charming seasons in a year namely, summer from the months of March to June, monsoon or the rainy season from July to September and the winter season from November to February. The climate is very pleasant and enjoyable in summers and cold below 0 Degree Celsius along with heavy snow fall in winter. During summers, the temperature rises to a maximum of 20 Degree Celsius and remains to a minimum of 18 Degree Celsius, making it an attractive tourist destination for people from all across the country.
The winters in Kullu are cold and dry with the temperature falling to 5 Degree Celsius and the maximum temperature only being 16 Degree Celsius. The period from December to February is very chilly as heavy frost occurs during this period. Snowfall generally occurs during December and January. The monsoon sets in the valley in the month of July which is responsible for the lush green semi-tropical vegetation in the area. The average rainfall is around 80 cm. Read More...............
Culture of Kullu
The ‘pahadi’ culture in the Kullu Valley is at its colorful best due to the large number of fairs and festivals that are organized by the people in the valley. These fairs and festivals reflect the native ethos of the people of the valley and are an extension of their religious and economic thoughts and activities. The customs and rituals practiced in the valley depict the simple lifestyle of the natives who live close to Nature.
Agriculture is a primary occupation of the people living in Kullu but with the changing times, the people have also opted for emerging occupations such as in the tourism industry, the handloom industry and other skillful fields like computer applications. The literacy rate in the valley is more than 70%. There is a rich tradition of folk arts in Kullu. The excellent temple carvings, vibrant handicrafts such as the colorful caps and shawls, spectacular folk dances and melodious songs reflect the folk culture and the creativity of the people. The fairs celebrate the essence of the versatility in the handicraft items as well as the rich culture of music and dance in the valley. Read More.................
Tourism in Kullu
There are a wide variety of panoramic places to visit in Kullu which cater to the tastes of every age group. The picturesque landscapes in Bhuntar , Manali , Naggar , Pulga and Kheerganga, Katrain, Bajaura, Largi, Malana, Kasol, Shoja and Kaishdhar provide breathtaking views of the Himalayan mountain ranges that make you wonder at the immense natural beauty of the mountains.
These places are all at some distance from Kullu and they can be easily accessed by roads and motor vehicles. The Bijli Mahadev Temple, the Jagannath Temple, Adi Brahma Temple, Raghunath Temple, Shringi Rishi Temple, Maha Devi Tirth Temple, Hidimba Temple, Maa Sharvari Temple, Vashist Hot Water Springs, Arjun Gufa, Gauri Shankar Temple and the Tripura Sundri Temple are also attractions for the religious-minded people as well as for history buffs due to the rich legacy of mythologies surrounding these places.
The village of Manikaran along the Parvati River is also a famous tourist destination because of the hot water springs present there. The Nicholas Roerich Gallery, the Sultanpur Palace in Kullu and the Tibetan monastery of Gadhan Thekchoking Gompa in Manali are also attractive tourist spots. Adventure seekers can head to the Mountaineering Institute in Manali, where tourists can indulge themselves in activities like rock climbing, mountaineering, and trekking at high altitudes with the help of the gear that is available for hire from the institute or they can also opt for white water rafting in the Beas River, the programs for which are available in Kullu. Read More..............
Shopping in Kullu
A lot of shopping can be done in Kullu with products ranging from handicraft items and clothes to fruits. The apple orchards in the valley are famous for their ripe and juicy apples. The exquisitely crafted Kullu shawls, caps and other woolen clothes can be bought at the Bhuttico and Himbunkar shops in Kullu and Manali. A good range of Tibetan souvenirs that includes thangkas (Buddhist paintings on cloth), silver and turquoise jewellery in the Sultanpur market, music cassettes and shampoos and natural oils for massages can also be found in the shops in the valley. Read More................
Transportation in Kullu
Since the Indian Independence in 1947, Kullu has become an easily accessible place which can be reached through a number of ways:
By Road Kullu can be reached from Delhi by national highway NH 1 up to Chandigarh and from there by national highway NH21 that passes through the towns of Bilaspur, Sundernagar and Mandi.
By Air: The nearest airport is at the town of Bhuntar, situated on NH21 at the confluence of the Parvati and Beas rivers, about 10 km south of Kullu, from where buses and taxis are available till Kullu.
By Rail: Kullu is not easily approachable by rail. The nearest broad gauge railheads are at Chandigarh (235 km away) and Pathankot. The nearest narrow gauge railhead is at Joginder Nagar (100 km away). From Joginder Nagar, a taxi could be hired to reach Kullu.
Fast Facts about Kullu
State: Himachal Pradesh
Latitude:31? 20' 25" to 32? 25' 0" North
Longitude: 76? 56' 30" to 77? 52' 20" East
Altitude: 1220 m
Temperature in summer: Maximum 33.8 Degree Celsius and Minimum 14 Degree Celsius
Temperature in winter: Maximum 16 Degree Celsius and Minimum 2 Degree Celsius
Best Time to Visit: April to June and September to November.
STD Code: 01902
Local Language: Hindi and Pahadi