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 Himachal Pradesh - Kullu

Kullu is located, in central part of the state of Himachal Pradesh, in the northern region of India, in the charming Kullu valley and is set amongst the backdrop of the mighty Himalayas at an altitude of 1200 m above sea level at the confluence of Beas and Sarvari rivers. It is 240 km north of Shimla. The Kullu valley, about 80 kms long and often less then 2 kms wide, rises northward from Mandi at 760m to the Rohtang La at 3980m, the gateway to Lahaul and Spiti. This town is famous for its temples, apple orchards and the annual Dussehra festival. It is also known for its handicrafts. The valley is also famous for its exquisitely woven colourful hand made shawls and kullu caps.

Weather

The weather in Kullu is moderate. Summers (April-June) are mild and winters are cold (November-February). It experiences southwestern monsoon rains in July-September. The best time to visit Kullu is in summers, between April and June. It can also be visited in October during the Dussehra festival.

Kullu at a glance :

Kullu at a glance :  
Area5,503 sq.kms.
Population301,729
Altitude1230 m (Kullu)
ClimatePleasant temperature in summer and cold below 0 C with heavy snow fall in winter
Rainy SeasonJuly and August
AutomnSeptember to November for trekking, climbing, sight seeing and river rafting
WinterDecember to February- snow-skiing and heli-skiing in Manali and above
Population 18, 306
Languages Hindi, English and Himachali
Best time to visitApril-June
STD Code 01902


How to reach

By Air

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


By Train

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

By Road

Kullu 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. Local buses operate between Kullu-Manali and Manikaran regularly. Taxis are also available.

Places of Interest

Naggar, Malana , Roerich gallery , Devi Jaganathi Temple , Kaisdhar , Kasol , Raghunathji Temple , Bijli Mahadev temple , Vaishno Devi Temple , Raison Camping Sight (1433 m), Katrain (1463 m) ,Manikaran (1700 m), Bajaura , Larli (957 m) , Banjar(1524 m) , Great Himalayan National Park , Kais Sanctuary , Brighu Lake , Kanawar Sanctuary .

Naggar

On the left bank of the Beas, Naggar is delightfully situated on a wooded slope and commands an extensive view. Besides its natural beauty, the place is also an important pilgrimage site with its Gauri Shankar Temple, the Chatar Bhuj Temple, Tripura Sundri Devi Temple and the Murlidhar Temple Naggar was capital of the Kullu valley for nearly 1500 years. The castle, built about 500 years ago as the raja's headquarters, was converted to a hotel in 1978. 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.

Malana

In the valleys of Kullu and Manali below Chanderkhani Pass, situated at an altitude of 276 meters above sea level, is a little hub of a hundred houses. The kind of village that can be found all over the valleys. Yet there is something special about this cluster of stone roofs. This is Malana or, as the village is popularly known in the Kullu valley, the republic of Malana. The village, which consists of a 1000 tribals, has an immaculate system of self-governance with its own lower and higher court, President and Prime Minister. They are a unique tribe with unique customs who live in a world of self-created autonomy amidst the greater Himalayas and claim a Greek descent. Due to its location in the Himalayan region, the village has extreme climate. Summers are the best months to visit the place as it is accessible during that time. The best time to go is early May to August. This is when the summer festival takes place. Harlala mask dance festival is celebrated in the month of February-phalgun. It is an occasion when everyone takes a bath and a group of people wearing nothing but cannabis leaves and demon-like masks dance around the houses spreading cow dung, which provides insulation from the cold as well. Another interesting aspect of the festival is the procession for Emperor Akbar. There are a few basic guesthouses in the village, which provide simple meals as well. There is a place for camping, but that is at a distance from the village. Malana is connected to the Kullu valley by three mountain passes. It can be reached from Parbati Valley, Manikaran after a 10-hour trek over the 3180-meter high Rashol Pass, or via Naggar over the 3600-meter high beautiful Chanderkhani Pass, which is a two-day trek. The easiest and shortest way to reach Malana is from the village Jari connected to Kullu valley. It is an easy and picturesque walk of six hours to Malana, which is only 12 km from here. Beautiful waterfalls and the Malana nallah stream are an incentive. The nearest Airport is at Buntar, 13 km away from Jari.

Roerich gallery

1 km from the Naggar castle is the interesting Roerich gallery, a fine old house displaying the artwork of both the eccentric professor Nicholas Roerich and his son Svetoslav Roerich. Just uphill from the gallery is the Urusvati Himalayan Folk & Art Museum which houses a collection of embroidery and folk art. Its location is delightful and the views over the valley are great. It's open daily from 9am to 1pm, and from 2 to 5pm.

Devi Jaganathi Temple

Devi Jaganathi Temple is a beautiful picnic spot at an altitude of 5,000 ft and at a distance of about 4.8 kms from Kullu. It can be covered through a bridle path.

Kaisdhar

Kaisdhar is 15 kilometres from Kullu, over and across a steep mountain is a quiet secluded spot of a great beauty known for its magnificent scenery and innumerable walks.

Kasol

42 kms away from Kullu charmingly located on an open space which slopes down to a broad expanse of clear white sand at the edge of the river. The place is also well known for trout fishing.

Raghunathji Temple

Built in 1651 by the Raja of Kullu, the temple has an image of Raghunathji that was brought from Ayodhya. During the Kullu Dussehra, all the temples in the area send their deities to pay homage to Raghunathji at Kullu.

Bijli Mahadev temple

10kms. from Kullu 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 Kullu & 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.

Vaishno Devi Temple

At a distance of 4kms. from Dhalpur, a small cave enshrines an image of Goddess Vaishno Devi.

Raison Camping Sight (1433 m)

16kms. away from Kullu, 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.

Katrain (1463 m)

The central and the widest part of the valley, Katrain is 20kms. from Kullu 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.

Manikaran (1700 m)

Manikaran, 45kms. from Kulu and just 3kms. from Kasol, is famous for its hot springs. Thousands of people take a holy dip in hot waters here. The water is so hot that dal, rice & vegetables etc. can be cooked in it. It is also a well known pilgrimage place for both Hindus & Sikhs. Guru Nanak, the first Guru of the Sikhs, visited this place to spend time in meditation. A gurdwara that was built to commemorate his visit, is now a place of pilgrimage for the Sikhs. Ramchandra and Shivaji temples are also there.

Bajaura

15kms. short of Kullu , 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.

Larli (957 m)

South of Kullu, 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(1524 m)

At a distance of 58 kms. south of Kullu, Banjar is an excellent spot for trout fishing in the waters of river Tirthan.

Great Himalayan National Park

Great Himalayan National Park, including Tirthan Sanctuary lies in Seraj Forest Division, Kullu District, some 60km by road south-west of Kullu Town. Tirthan Sanctuary adjoins the southern boundary of the park. The park is bounded by mountain ridges on all but its western side, notably Mathaun Dhar/Rakti Dhar to the north-east and Sirikand Dhar to the south-east. Tirthan was notified a sanctuary on 17 June 1976. The area under Great Himalayan National Park is 60,561ha and under Tirthan Sanctuary is 6,825ha at an altitude of 1,500m to 5,805m in Great Himalaya National Park, and from 2,100m to 4,875m in Tirthan Sanctuary. Compared to the rest of the upper Beas area, conditions are more akin to those for Simla and the front ranges, with less snowfall in winter, more rainfall during the summer monsoon and probably higher temperatures. Places of religious importance in and around the park include the hot springs at Khirganga and Mantalai Rakti Sar and Hans Kund. There are four small villages in the park, all of which are in Sainj, namely Sakti, Maror, Kunder and Manjhan. These villages are inhabited by 114 families. The surrounding buffer belt has 75 villages. Tourists are few. There are 13 rest houses in the vicinity of the park and 7 on the outskirts of the sanctuary.

Kais Sanctuary

Kais Sanctuary lies between Kullu and Manali townships in Kullu District, on the eastern side of the Beas River, and comprises Matikochar Forest. The eastern boundary runs approximately parallel to the Beas River but does not extend as far as it. The area uner Kais sanctuary is 1,220ha using digitised maps with an altitude ranges from 2,800m to 3,680m. This sanctuary comprises the catchment area of Kais Nala which flows south-west until its confluence with Beas River. A check-dam has been built inside the sanctuary by the Forest Department and a pipeline laid by the Irrigation Department. The Manali area experiences a temperate climate characterised by cool summers and heavy snowfall in winter, regularly in excess of 1m at 2,000m. Snow remains from December to March and in January and February cold northerly winds keep temperatures low Mean annual precipitation is 1071mm. Temperature ranges from -5 C to 30 C. Pilgrims pass through the sanctuary annually in August to reach the shrine of Bijli Mahadev, situated just outside its southern border. There are no villages within the sanctuary but a number occur on the periphery. There is a jeepable road from Naggar to Bijleemahadev, which is used by tourists, and a forest rest house at Matikochar. Three other rest houses are located outside the sanctuary.

Kanawar Sanctuary

Kanawar Sanctuary lies in Kullu district, 2km from Manikaran, the nearest village. Access is via Kullu to Kasol, and onward by foot. The area under Kanawar Sanctuary is 6,157ha using digitised maps with an altitude ranges from 1,800m to 4,833m. To the south-east, the area is connected by a forest corridor to Great Himalayan National Park. Kanawar is a high-altitude sanctuary, the terrain being mostly precipitous, with rocky cliffs and narrow valleys. Temperatures range from -10 C to 25 C. Mean annual rainfall is 1000mm and mean annual snowfall 321mm There are lakes and natural springs of religious and historical importance at Khirganga and Mantalai on the outskirts of the sanctuary. There is also a temple and a gurudwara at Manikaran, adjacent to the sanctuary Two villages are located within the sanctuary (with an estimated population of 460 people), four temporary settlements, and 14 villages are located in the adjacent area. Many visitors come to climb the peaks in and around the sanctuary. Four rest houses are situated on the outskirts of the sanctuary. Accommodation is also available at some dharamshalas in Manikaran. There are plans to extend tourist facilities and to construct five watchtowers

Brighu Lake

Located in Kullu district, this lies east of the Rohtang Pass and is about 6 kms from the village of Gulaba. This shores of this clear water lake are devoid of human habitation - yet, is it visited regularly by the people of the area and is held sacred to the rishi, Brighu. It also lies on several trek routes of the region.





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