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Kullu - Laid back charm and natural beauty
http://www.notoiletpaper.com/articles/93/1/Kullu---Laid-back-charm-and-natural-beauty/Page1.html
By Malaika V.
Published on 10/7/2007
 
Kullu is popularly known as the “Valley of the gods” famous for its emerald green landscape overlooking the mighty Dhauladhar’s snowy-clad peaks and virgin valleys scattered in the back drop of the white peaked Himalayas, all seemingly caught in a bewitching exquisiteness. The laid back charm of Kullu's natural beauty is spell binding, with the grandeur of snow clad mountains, desolate pathways between the magnificent pine trees in dense forests, lush green ascending valleys, kaleidoscope of exotic flowers, babbling brooks splashing their way through orchards weaving their own magic.

Kullu - Laid back charm and natural beauty

Kullu is popularly known as the “Valley of the gods” famous for its emerald green landscape overlooking the mighty Dhauladhar’s snowy-clad peaks and virgin valleys scattered in the back drop of the white peaked Himalayas, all seemingly caught in a bewitching exquisiteness. The laid back charm of Kullu's natural beauty is spell binding, with the grandeur of snow clad mountains, desolate pathways between the magnificent pine trees in dense forests, lush green ascending valleys, kaleidoscope of exotic flowers, babbling brooks splashing their way through orchards weaving their own magic.

With its rich cultural history, Kullu is well known for its ancient temples, lavish crafts, exquisitely embroidered shawls and the many opulent festivals that enliven the city, the intense devotion of the locals for their venerated deities, unchanged customs and traditions still lives on, oblivious to the western influence around them. Kullu is also known as the "Fruit Basket of North India" for its bounteous apple and plum production along with the supply of its fresh vegetables. Fruit vendors selling gleaming fresh fruits and home made jams lining the cobbled pathways of the markets are a common sight. Kullu’s pristine beauty is only blemished by the easy availability of "Cannabis" or charas which is easy to access here, thus attracting plenty of hippies that flock here in search for a quick high.

Kullu has plenty of interesting places to visit. Raghunath Temple, Biji Mahadev Temple, Malana village and Manikaran’s hot sulphur springs are popular amongst the tourists.

Malana village in kullu is the oldest democracy in the World. The village is governed by their own parliament with an upper house and a lower house. Another interesting fact is that their dialect, Kanshi differs from the rest of Kullu. Malana is also paradise for trekkers, two routes via Rashol or Chanderkhani can be used to trek up to the village but due to heavy snow they are inaccessible for more than six months every year.

Katrain lies cradled amongst the commanding Caucasian mountains, luxuriant dense forests and surrounded by the tempestuous waters of river Beas. Easily accessible from the Kullu - Manali road Katrain is famous for its apple orchards and its trout breeding farms.

Near Katrain, across the river Beas lies the serene village of Naggar, which came into being by the famous Russian painter, Nicholas Roerich, whose paintings are still exhibited here. Naggar is famous for its apple cider. If you plan to spend the night it has an interesting hotel called Naggar Castle, which is a 500 yr old "residence" having changed hands between Sikhs, colonialists and tourism boards and overlooks the stunning Kullu valley.


On the way back you can stop at Jagatsukh, the largest village of the district on the Naggar-Manali road and very popular for its annual Chacholi Yatra. The village is lined with fruit sellers offering fresh apples and plums with the dazzling white peaks against a clear blue sky in the background. Other places include Kuarsi which is a charming village with slate roofs and timber houses dotted against the terraced fields full of wheat, barley and vegetables. Kuarsi seems to be lost in time, less than three hundred people live here with absolutely no modern amenities. So removed from civilization is this village that there are no roads or shops.

There is nothing more relaxing than a hot tub to relax those tired muscles. The rejuvenating hot sulphur springs in Manikaran are said to be the hottest in the world. The springs are believed to have healing properties and many people come to Manikaran to heal body ailments and infections. Close to Manikaran lies the Parvati Valley which is one of the most beautiful undiscovered places in north. It's also known for its massive usage of marijuana giving it the feel of Amsterdam. The cannabis plant grows there wild and the locals sell the charas to the many Israeli backpackers and hippies who have made the valley their home. The central spot in the valley is the town Kasol, not particularly significant for its trek routes, most of the trekkers trek to the villages around Kasol. Tosh, Kalga and Pulga, are tiny villages known for their spectacular beauty surrounded by green hills and snowy peaks. Jari is a small farming village in the Parvati Valley. You can opt to stay in a family run farm house for only hundred rupees a night and relax-befriend the hippies and learn to play the guitar, read some books, learn about the local customs and gorge on the delicious local cuisine. The cultural mix of Israeli backpackers, Tibetan refugees and locals produce some interesting restaurant menus which takes fusion cuisine to a whole new level.

Kullu is especially popular for its numerous Hindu temples. Biji Mahadev Temple is situated at a distance of fifteen km from Kullu. You might have to walk at least 2 to 3 kms to reach the Temple which is built on a height. The "Shivling" inside this temple is famous for shattering into pieces periodically as it attracts lightening through the dome of the Temple. The pieces are then assembled with the help of clarified butter to the original shape by the priest of the temple.

Raghunath Temple which dates back to the 17th Century was built by Maharaja Jagat Singh of Kullu who angered the gods by committing a sin, he then sent his soldiers to Ayodhya to get the Statue of Lord Rama around which the temple was constructed.

Sultanpur Palace which lies close by is a popular destination for the culture buffs looking to study the art of Kullu miniature paintings. Miniatures paintings are intricately painted by hand; their size is kept small to showcase the meticulously delicate brushwork. The colors used in the miniature paintings are usually derived from minerals, vegetables, precious stones, indigo, conch shells, pure gold and silver.

Kullu can capture your heart, imagination and your stomach! Unparalleled in its zest for the exotic, its ceaseless natural beauty offers you complete seclusion in its mystic and majestic natural surroundings. If it is adventure you crave then choose between kayaking on rivers, paragliding in the clear blue skies or trekking to faraway secluded villages. Kullu has something for everyone.

General Information:
Altitude varies from 1,150 meters to high hills of Manali

Location:
Kullu is located between 31°58'00'' North Latitude and 77°06'04'' East Longitude. It is bounded by Lahaul-Spiti and Kangra districts, on the East and South-East by Kinnaur and Shimla districts.

Weather:
Kullu tends to get very chilly during the winters so it is advisable to carry heavy woolens.

Getting there:

By Air:
Nearest airport is Bhunter 10 km. Kullu is connected by air bus flights from Delhi, Shimla and Chandigarh to Bhunter

By Rail:
The convenient railheads are Chandigarh 320 km., Jogindernagar and Shimla 230 km. approx

By Road:
Almost each and every part of the state is linked by roads. The Himachal Road Transport Corporation is running its buses covering the whole state. There is huge network of HRTC to cater the needs of the people

It is connected by road with Delhi (789 km.) and linked by National Highway via Ambala (606 km.) and Chandigarh (556 km.).