Kullu, also known as the 'Valley of Gods', is a beautiful district in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The valley earned its nick name because of the belief that it had once been home to many Hindu Gods, Goddesses, and divine souls. Situated at a height of 1230 m, on the banks of the Beas River, it is known for its magnificent natural surroundings.
Originally known as ‘Kul-anti-peetha’, meaning 'the farthest point of the inhabitable world', Kullu also finds mention in great Indian epics like the Mahabharata, the Ramayana as well as the Vishnu Purana. Founded by a native of Tripura known as Behangamani Pal, the history of this beautiful hill station dates back to the 1st century. It is said that the region was inaccessible until India gained its independence in 1947.
This beautiful summer destination is encircled with steep hills, deodar forests, rivers, and apple orchards and is famous among tourists from all across the world for its natural beauty. Apart from this, Kullu is also famous for its ancient forts, religious sites, wildlife sanctuaries, and dams.
Tourist places In and Around Kullu
One of the popular spots here is the Sultanpur Palace, also known as the Rupi Palace. Although the original structure was destroyed in 1905 when India was affected by a severe earthquake, it was reconstructed to its original form.
The Raghunath Temple, dedicated to the Hindu deity Rama, is another major attraction of Kullu. The building of the temple, displaying a perfect blend of Pyramidal and Pahari style of architecture, was constructed in the 17th century by Rajah Jagat Singh.
Another well-known attraction here is the Bijli Mahadev Temple that holds an important place among locals and tourists alike. Located on the banks of the river Beas, this temple is devoted to the Hindu god of destruction Shiva. According to a legend, the ‘Shiva lingam’, the idol symbolising Shiva, placed inside the temple, had broken into pieces due to lightening. Later on, the priests of the temple collected all the pieces and joined them back with the help of butter.
The temples of Jagannathi Devi and Basheshwar Mahadev represent a style of architecture typical of the Pahari, broad generalisations of groups of people living in the Himalayan foothills towards the north of India. The Jagannathi Devi Temple is ancient and is believed to be constructed about 1500 years ago. Images of the Hindu Goddess Durga, the embodiment of feminine force, can be seen on the walls of the temple. A 90 minute trek has to be undertaken before visitors can reach the temple. The Basheshwar Mahadev Temple was constructed during the 9th century and is dedicated to the Hindu god of destruction, Shiva. The building of this temple is known for its intricate stone carvings.
Kaisdhar, Raison, and Deo Tibba are some of the other popular tourist destinations in situated in Kullu. These places are located amidst deodar forests and can be reached by trekking through icy lakes. Travellers visiting Kullu will get a chance to see a wide variety of wildlife at the Great Himalayan National Park which is home to around 180 species of animals. Located at an altitude of 76 m is the Pandoh Dam, constructed on the river Beas. This hydro-electric power generating dam fulfils the electricity requirements of Kullu and Manali.
Kullu is also known for various adventurous sports such as trekking, mountaineering, hiking, paragliding, and river rafting. The popular trekking trails present here are in the Ladakh Valley, Zanskar Valley, Lahaul, and Spiti. Paragliding is one of the adventure sports that Kullu is famous for in India. The ideal launch sites here are at Solang, Mahadev, and Bir. Visitors can also undertake mountaineering in this region at Hanuman Tibba, Beas Kund, Malana, Deo Tibba, and Chandratal. Travellers can also try fishing in the River Beas.
How to reach Kullu
Tourists can reach Kullu via the important means of transportation such as airways, railways, and roadways. The nearest air base to Kullu is the Bhuntar Airport, popularly known as the Kullu Manali Airport. Situated at just 10 km away from Kullu City, the airport is connected with major Indian cities like Delhi, Shimla, Chandigarh, Pathankot, and Dharamsala. The Delhi airport is the nearest international airport that connects tourists from other countries with the destination.
The closest railhead to Kullu is the Joginder Nagar Railway Station, situated 125 km away from the city. The railway station is connected with other places via Chandigarh. Himachal Pradesh Transport Corporation (HPTC) buses connect Kullu with nearby places while the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) plies several deluxe buses from Chandigarh, Shimla, Delhi, and Pathankot to Kullu.
Best time to visit Kullu
Considered as an ideal summer destination, the weather of Kullu always remains pleasant during this season. Winters are, however, freezing as the region experiences snowfall during this time. The months of November, December, January, and February are ideal for snow skiing.
The best time to visit this hill station is from March to October. To enjoy outdoor activities and sightseeing, the period between March and June are considered to be perfect while the months of October and November are ideal for river rafting, rock-climbing, hiking, and trekking.