Known as the ‘Valley of Gods’, Kullu is a cluster of beautiful valleys in Himachal Pradesh. Located between the majestic Himalayas and river Beas, Kullu is situated at an altitude of 1230 m. Kullu, along with Manali, are favorite hill stations with tourists especially honeymooners. Scenic views and snow-clad mountains, towering Deodar jungles, rivers and apple orchards have attracted several feature filmmakers too.
Kullu is a hot-spot for adventure sports. Trekking, river rafting, mountaineering, paragliding and hiking over the Himalayan glaciers are some of the activities that Kullu offers. Angling is another activity enjoyed a lot by locals as well as tourists. Mountaineering beginners can trek around the Beas Kund region, Hanuman Tibba and Deo Tibba.
Most of the trekking trails are situated beyond the Rohtang Pass in the valleys of Spiti, Lahaul, Zanskar and Ladakh and private companies organize expeditions for up to 12 days. The hot springs of Kheerganga , Manikaran, a pilgrimage and the Great Hialayan National Park are a few of the ‘touristy’ places worth visiting here.
Kullu was earlier known as Kulanthpitha, meaning ‘the ending point of inhabitable world’. The beautiful valley is also mentioned in epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata and Vishnu Purana. Chinese traveler Huien Tsang visited Kullu in 634 or 635 AD and described it as a region completely surrounded by mountains. King Ashoka had a stupa built here, which was eventually taken away by a Mughal king and installed in Ferozshah Kotla in Delhi.
In days of yore, Kullu had several Buddhist monasteries. There were Hindu temples too and people of both faiths lived peacefully together. Both Buddhist and Hindus inhabited the caves near the mountain passes. The valley is said to have been rich with gold, silver, red copper, crystal and bell metal. The first motorable road in Kullu was built only after Independence.
Places to visit are as following :
Bijli Mahadev : Bijli Mahadev temple is a ‘Khash’ style temple that has a ‘Shivlingam’ installed in it. It is located at an altitude of about 2,460m, 14 km to thesouth-east of Kullu across the Beas river and a three km trek from Mansari village. Bijli Mahadev is one of the excellent temples in India and the main attraction of Kullu city. A panoramic view of Kullu and Paravati valleys can be seen from the temple. The view from the peak is simply breathtaking and is worth the 3 km trek up the hill. You can see the beautiful valley, the union of Beas and Parvati rivers and the Bhuntar Airport from the top. The 60 feet high staff of Bijli Mahadev temple glistens like a silver needle in the sun. In this temple of lightning it is said that the tall staff attracts the divine blessings in the form of lightning almost every year. It is believed that the priest of the temple has to restore the Shiva linga placed inside the temple using butter and sattoo after every lightning as it shatters to pieces with flash of lightning. This is how the place got its name as ‘Bijli’ in English translates to lightening and Mahadev is a name for Lord Shiva. As such Bijli Mahadev is meant as The Temple of Lord Shiva where lightening strikes. During July, a great rush of people come here to pay homage to God Shiva.
To go there, get a bus from Kullu City the bus stand for Bijli Mahadev which goes up to the nearby Mansari village. Otherwise one can book a private cab from the Kullu taxi stand near bus stand and go. The road is very narrow and only one vehicle can come or go at a time (so adjustments are needed for oncoming vehicles to pass). One has to climb stairs from Mansari, the distance being about 3 km uphill and might take 1-2 hous depending upon your speed. The last bus from the Mansari village to Kullu city leaves around 5-6 pm. Please confirm this before the journey. Try to complete the trip before sunset even if you are going by car as the road is very narrow. The road is now extended to more than 5 km which lessen the stairs climbing to one half. By personal vehicle or the booked vehicle one can now approach to village Halleni.
If visiting the fall in March, take a stop at the fair which is held there annually during this month.
Vaishno Devi Temple : Vaishno Devi Temple is located just 5 km from Kullu on the Kullu-Manali Road N.H. No.1.
Jagganathi Temple : Jaggannathi temple is situated at Bhekhali just 7 km from Kullu and before Vaishno Devi Temple.
Raghunath Temple : This temple is situated at Sultanpur, I km form main Kullu Bus Stand. The temple is dedicated to Raghunath Ji, the chief deity of Kullu. World famous Kullu Dussehra is held after his name. It is believed that the idol in the temple is the one that was used by Lord Rama while performing the ‘ASHWAMEGHYAGNA’
Khir-Ganga : Khirganga is situated also in Parvati Valley at a distance of 22 km form Manikaran. For reaching Khirganga one have to go by bus up to Barshaini and from there to Khirganga on foot. This trek leads through hilly terrain. This is the place where ‘kartik ji’, the eleder son of Lord Shiva remained in Samadhi for thousand years.
From Khirganga back to Kullu and Night halt at Kullu.
Manikaran : Manikaran is situated in Parbati Valley at the distance of 32 km from Bhuntar. The water from the hot sulphur spring at Manikaran is said to have medicinal value and is a cure for an number of chronic ailments. Manikaran is also known for temple of ‘Lord Shiva’ who remained in ‘Samsadhi’ for eleven thousand year in ‘Treta Yug’ . Temple of ‘Maryada Parshotam Ram’ Naina Mata and Gurdwara are also there.manikara sahib is a pilgrim of sikhs. here sikh’s 1st Guru Guru Nanak Dev Ji, had come. Its a big Gurudwara, many people in thousands visit it every day, free food lanagar is served round the clock for any one of any religion.
Adi-Brahma Temple, Khokhan : Adi Brahma Temple is located in the village Khokhan just 4 km from Bhuntar. It is a massive wooden structure. This temple has idols of Adi-Bhahma ji in the center and temple of ‘Garh Jogni & Manikaran Jogni’ on the left and right side of the temple.
Triyug Narayan Temple, Dyar : Tryyug Narayan Temple is located in the village Dyar 12 km from Bhuntar. This ‘Pagoda’ style temple is dedicated to God Vishnu’s Idols of Bavan Avtar, Budh and Bramari Devi are also there in the temple. This temple was built in 800 AD. Night halt at Bhuntar.
Bisweshwar Temple, Bajaura : Bishweshwar Temple is located in the village Bajaura just 5 km from Bhuntar. It is the largest and the most attractive stone temple of Kullu Valley. This temple, built in the ninth century in pyramid style, is built on SHANKRACHARYA Padhati of Panch Dev Puja. It is said that the Pandavas built it in one day. Due to its wonderful architecture, it withstood the severe earthquake of 1905. This temple has been declared as a protected monument.
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