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Kullu - its temples, beauty and its majestic hills OR the end of the habitable world OR Valley of Gods

STATE -HIMACHAL PRADESH
   
DISTANCE - 530 KM From Delhi, 233 KM From Chandigarh

 
CONNECTION
 
By Air : Kullu is connected by Indian Airlines, Trans Bharat Aviation and Jagson flights with Delhi & Shimla. The airport is at Bhuntar, 10kms. from Kulu.

By Rail : Nearest convenient rail heads are Kalka, Chandigarh and Pathankot on Broad Gauge from where Kullu can be reached by road.

By Road : Kulu is well connected by road with Delhi, Ambala, Chandigarh, Shimla, Dehradun, Pathankot, Dharamsala & Dalhousie etc. Regular direct buses ply between these stations including deluxe, semi-deluxe and air conditioned buses during tourist season.
 
ABOUT KULLU
 
Kullu is one of the most famous hill station in Himachal Pradesh and known for its beautiful scenery, apple orchards, forests, alpine meadows, gurgling rivers and lively tribal dances. The most charming and beautiful Kulu valley spreads out its charm on either side of river Beas. The valley runs north to south of this river and is 80 kms. long and about 2 kms. at its broadest. Earlier, Kullu was known as Kulanthpitha, 'the end of the habitable world'. Kullu is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty and surrounded by the snow ranges of Himalayas, the Dhauladhar and the Pir Panjal range that run parallel to the south and the narrow terraced valley that runs in the north up to the Rohtang Pass. There are numerous valleys in Kullu, each of which is a visual delight and seems more beautiful than the other. The Beas river flows through the flower bedecked valley. The 'Silver Valley' has nature's treasures that lie carelessly scattered like the flowers on the high meadows. A fairly wide area is open to the tourists, trekkers, mountaineers, artists and to anyone who wishes to escape the heat and dust of the plains to breathe the exhilarating air of the Himalaya and enjoy the spectacle of the variegated mountain scenery. Hindi, Punjabi, Pahari and English are some of the languages which are spoken by the people in Kullu. In winter, the temperature is very low and heavy woolens are required. While in summers, it is pleasant and cotton clothes are recommended.
 
PLACES OF INTERESTS IN KULLU
 
MANIKARAN : 45 km from Kullu, lies in the Parvati Valley, the holy pilgrimage place of Manikaran. Here icy cold waters of the Parvati river co-exists with boiling water side-by-side. The hot water springs are reputed for their healing properties. The springs in the area are hot enough to boil rice in it. Manikaran, a place of pilgrimage for Hindus and Sikhs, has a temple and a gurudwara.

KATRAIN : The central and the widest part of the valley, Katrain is 20kms. from Kulu on way to Manali. Apple orchards and trout hatchery lend charm and prominence to the place. It is also famous for bee keeping and Govt. trout farm at Patilkulh.

CAMPING SIGHT RAISON : 16kms. away from Kulu, the sight is ideal for spending a quite holiday in solitary splendor and for holding youth camps. There are a large number of orchards in this part of the valley.

NAGGAR : On the left bank of the Beas, Naggar is delightfully situated on a wooded slope and commands an extensive view. It was the capital of erstwhile Kulu state for about 1400 years. There are large number of famous temples notably Vishnu, Tripura Sundari & Lord Krishana. Cars and jeeps easily go upto the Naggar castle. Roerich art gallery which houses the paintings of Nicholas Roerich as well as his sculptures , is less than a km. from the Castle. Naggar is also a base for undertaking treks to Chanderkhani Pass and to remote valley of Malana.

KASOL : Situated on the bank of Paravati river, Kasol makes a good holiday destination. 42kms. from Kulu, charmingly located on an open space which slopes down to the broad expanse of clear white sand at the Parvati river. The place is well known for trout fishing

MALANA (2652 m) : Little ahead of the beautiful Chanderkhani Pass lies the village Malana which is famous for the temple of Jamlu and its distinct, social and cultural life. Malana is considered to be the oldest democracy in the world. It would be worthwhile to visit this village to study the style and social system prevalent there.

BAJAURA : 15kms. short of Kulu , Bajaura is on the main road where BASHESHWAR MAHADEV temple is situated about 200 m from the village in a plain between the main road and the Beas river. It is believed to have been built in the mid 8th century.

LARJI (957 m) : South of Kulu, Larji 34kms. away is a small hamlet providing excellent spot for trout fishing. The PWD rest house is located in a stunning position between the foaming torrents of the river Sainj & Tirthan, before they join the Beas. The place is patronized mostly by anglers.

BANJAR : At a distance of 58 kms. south of Kulu, Banjar is an excellent spot for trout fishing in the waters of river Tirthan.
 
RELIGIOUS PLACES IN KULLU
 
BIJLI MAHADEV SHRIN : 10kms. from Kulu across the Beas river, Bijli Mahadev temple is one of the striking temples in the temples strewn district. It can be reached by a tough but rewarding climb of 10 kms. trek. From the temple a panoramic view of Kulu & Paravati valleys can be seen. A 60 feet high staff of Bijli Mahadev temple glistens like a silver needle in the sun. in this temple of lightening it is said, the tall staff attracts the divine blessings in the form of lightening. The rest of the story can be heard from the priest, which is un-believable but true.

Raghunath Temple : The chief tourist interest of Kullu is the Raghunath Temple that worships Lord Ram, who is believed as one of the most important deities in the Hindu mythology and is the patron deity amongst the residents of Kullu valley. It was erected in the year 1660 by Raja Jagat Singh, the one-time ruler of Kullu, basically to make amends for his sins. He got an idol of Lord Ram from Ayodhya and founded it in this temple.

Jagannathi Devi Temple : At a distance of 3 km from Kullu is located the Jagannathi Devi Temple or the Bekhli temple in the village of Bekhli. Although it is a precipitous 1½ hour gradient leading to the temple, it provides an amazing view of Kullu which is worth the ascent.

Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji Gurudwara : Manikaran is also held sacred by the Sikhs. According to the Sikh sources, Guru Nanak Dev once visited this place, accompanied by his disciple Bhai Mardana. The Gurudwara is commemorated to the same visit of the Guru. The Janam Sakhi or the ‘Autobiography of Bhai Mardana’ mentions the various miracles did by the Guru at this place. Manikaran Gurudwara, built in the mountains, provides some extraordinary sights.

VAISHNO DEVI TEMPLE : At a distance of 4kms. from Dhalpur, a small cave enshrines an image of Goddess Vaishno Devi.
 
WHEN TO GO KULLU
 
March to June is the best season to visit Kullu for relaxation and visiting the places of sightseeing and enjoying short and long excursions as well as climbing and river rafting. September to November are the best season for trekking, climbing, sight seeing and river rafting, December to February are the best season for snow-skiing and heli-skiing in Manali
 
WEATHER FORECAST
 
Summer : Summer season in Kullu starts in March and lasts until June. During summers, the maximum temperature reaches 30 degree Celsius in the day, while the nights still retain a bit of chill. Summer is the season when tourists come in large number. When rest of India goes through extreme heat and hot blows of air, Kullu offers respite, with its cool and calm. Light woolen and cotton clothing is ideal during this weather condition.

Winter : Extreme weather is observed in Kullu during the winters, when the temperature goes down to freezing point. From December to February, Kullu observes heavy snowfall. During this period, major part of Kullu remains covered with the white blanket. However, the snow does not remain on the ground for a long time and tourists still can enjoy the fun of sightseeing. Heavy woolen clothes are required during this weather.

Monsoon : Kullu experiences rainy season from July to September. During rains, the weather over here becomes chilly, as the snow range is near. This is the time when the valley looks its most beautiful, with freshly washed leaves of trees. In this weather condition also, travelers are recommended to carry light woolen clothes to deter cold.
 
EVENTS AND FESTIVALS IN KULLU
 
The festival of Dussehra, which alludes to the triumph of good over evil, is observed all over India in the month of October or November. But Dussehra in Kullu valley is out of the ordinary. It commences when Dussehra festivities in other parts of India are over. The key event of this festival is carrying Lord Raghunath’s (local version of Lord Ram) idol on a palanquin through the streets in procession by pilgrims.
 
FOOD AND RESTURANTS IN KULLU
 
The day to day food of kullu is simple and very much like the rest of the north Indian states. Rice, paddy and maize are the staple diet. Rice along with Maahni (urad dal prepared with dried mangoes) or Madra (lentils made with yoghurt). In Chamba, Madra is cooked using rajmah, yoghurt, desi ghee and around 20 spices. Also, dishes made from Salayara and an iron rich cereal called, Kodra form part of the regular food. Sattu, another nutritious item is made use of on daily basis.

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