Variety

Kullu comes alive with the colours of Dasara

AAMIT KHANNA | Updated on: Oct 06, 2011

lf07_Kullu2.JPG | Photo Credit: mail picture_grkrm

Rolling glens, mossy meadows, rushing rivulets and meandering brooks — Kullu in Himachal Pradesh is the great escape sought out by tourists, trekkers, mountaineers, artists and pilgrims alike, especially from the heat and dust of the plains.

After all, its name is derived from Kulanpita, which means ‘the end of the habitable world'. Although, ironically, it is this very seclusion that has over the years transformed Kullu into a bustling tourist town. Alongside nearby Manali (Kullu-Manali is nearly always referred to as a unit), Kullu gets its ample share of foreign tourists.

Besides the natural treasures, the colourful bazaar in Kullu is hugely popular with visitors and a great place to shop for exquisite hand-woven shawls and caps.

Adventure junkies are spoilt for choice, as the place is ideal for trekking, camping, river-rafting and paragliding.

The Naggar castle, about 27 km from Kullu, is typical of this style of construction indigenous to the Western Himalayas. Built using logs and stones, which are bound together by mud, the roof is slanting and decorated with wooden hangings. The HP Tourism Board has designated it a heritage hotel and the place provides fantastic views of snow-covered peaks in the distance, the Beas valley below, and lush green hillsides dotted with orchards.

Ancient temples and festivals

For those with religion on their mind, this ‘Valley of Gods' offers several scenic pilgrim trails.

At the Bijli Mahadev, situated at a height of 2,460 metres and 14 km south-east of Kullu, an ancient Shiva temple is famous for a stone linga that is believed to be miraculously recreated after being destroyed periodically by lightning strikes. Adjacent to the temple is the Palani Falls, ideal for a picnic. In March, the place also comes alive with an annual fair.

Currently Kullu is throbbing with celebrations at its weeklong International Kullu Dussehra, held annually in October. To commemorate Lord Ram's triumph over evil, the idol of Lord Raghunath is taken around the villages on a chariot. Beginning on ‘Vijaya Dashmi' day, the festival continues for a week. The tradition of celebrating Dussehra in Kullu dates back to the reign of Raja Jagat Singh (1637 to 1672).

Fast facts

Getting there: Kullu is 535 km from Delhi and 40 km from Manali. A regular bus service is available, including Volvo buses. The nearest airport is at Bhuntar, 10 km from Kullu.

Accommodation: Himachal Tourism and private hotels are available, as well as home stays in the villages.

Published on October 06, 2011
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