The most charming and beautiful Kulu valley
spreads out its charm on either side of river Beas. The valley
runs north to south of this river and is 80kms. long and about
2kms. at its broadest. Yet with awe inspiring glens and mossy
meadows encircled by the rushing streams and meandering brooks,
flung east & west, a fairly wide area is open to the tourists,
the trekkers, the mountaineers, the artists and to anyone who
wishes to escape the heat & dust of the plains to breathe
the exhilarating air of the Himalaya and enjoy the spectacle
of the variegated mountain scenery. The valley is also famous
for its exquisitely woven colourful hand made shawls and kullu
Located in Himachal Pradesh, the Himalayan Jewel. Kullu was
once known as Kulanthpitha-'the end of the habitatable world'.
Beyond rise the forbidding heights of the Greater Himalaya,
and by the banks of the shining river Beas, lies the fabled
'Silver Valley'. The town of Kullu is famous for its colourful
Dussehra festival. Decorated palanquins and processions convey
gods and goddesses from temples all over the valley to Kullu,
to pay homage to the reigning deity, Raghunathji. A mela springs
up during the festival which is celebrated with a great deal
of singing, dancing and festivity.
CULTURE AND LIFE STYLE
The fairs, customs, food habits, beliefs, attire and occupation
explicate the hard-earned lifestyle
of the aborigines. The people of Kullu believe in simple living
The fairs and festivals celebrated in the valley are an indispensable
part of the native ethos. These vibrant fairs carry great religious
and economic importance for the people here.
The customs and rituals practiced in the valley depict the simple
lifestyle of the natives, living close to Nature. The people
here worship deities who are sages, snake gods and other powerful
gods and goddesses mentioned in ancient Indian scriptures. Every
village has beautiful temples dedicated to these deities.
The people of Kullu are primarily farmers, but now the population
has also scattered into emerging occupations as tourism, handloom
industry and other skillful fields like computer applications.
More than 70% of the people here are literate. This includes
an equal ratio of men and women. Govt. sector is one of the
most favoured source of employment.
There is a rich tradition of folk arts in Kullu. The excellent
temple carvings, vibrant handicrafts , spectacular folk dances
and melodious songs show the sensitivity of the people. The
exquisitely build temples, castles, and forts are the monuments
of an advanced form of architecture and sculpture that flourished
in the valley in past.
Malana - The Oldest Republic
Malana, a remote village, situated at a height of 2520 m, is
believed to be one of the oldest existing Republics. The villagers
strictly follow their ancient beliefs, culture, customs and
religion. Jamlu devta (chief deity of the village) governs the
administration, judiciary and politics of the village through
the 'gur' (the deity's spokesperson).
The artisans of Kullu valley preserve a rich heritage of
handlooms and handicrafts. There is an
amazing range of beautiful handloom and handicraft products
The traditional brilliant colours of the Handlooms probably
manifest people's zest for life and creation.
The famous Kullu Shawls are admired for their elegant look.
Kullu Caps are widely worn by the local people and are also
equally popular among tourists.
Warm local Tweeds, Pattus, Muflars etc. are the other handloom
products largely produced in Kullu.
After months of hardwork in the fields and
orchards, there comes the month of Phalgun (mid
February to mid March) that marks the beginning of fairs and
festivals in the valley. These fairs and festivals are mostly
held to celebrate the victory of good over the evil or recall
any episode related to the deities. They celebrate the rich
cultural and traditional inheritance of the people, which they
have been maintaining since epochs.
Dusshera is a unique fair held every year in October. It is
a beautiful amalgam of history, rich culture and customs. Unlike
other regions of India here effigies of Ravana, Meghnath and
Kumbhakarana are not burnt. This is how victory of good over
evil is depicted. Kullu Dusshera starts usually on the day it
ends in the rest of the country.
It all started back in 1637 A. D. when Raja Jagat Singh was
the ruler of the Valley. One day he came to know that a peasant
Durga Dutt of village Tipri owned beautiful pearls, which the
Raja wanted to obtain. Durga Dutt tried to convince the Raja
by all means that the information was wrong and that he owned
no pearls, but all his pleas were in vain.
The Raja gave him a last chance. Durga Dutt got so scared that
he burnt down his own family and house and cursed the Raja for
his cruelty. His curse resulted in Raja's leprosy and as he
realized the fact he felt guilty.
Kishan Das known as Fuhari Baba advised him to install the famous
idol of Lord Raghunathji to get rid of the curse of the peasant.
He sent Damodar Dass to steal the idol from Tret Nath Temple
of Ayodhya who finally brought it from there in July 1651 A.
D. After installing the idol he drank Charnamrit of the idol
for several days and was in due course cured. He devoted his
kingdom and life for the lord and from then onwards Dusshera
started being celebrated with great splendor. Thus on the first
fortnight of Ashwin month (mid September to mid October), the
Raja invites all the 365 Gods and Goddesses of the Valley to
Dhalpur to perform a Yagna in Raghunathji's honor.
On the first day of Dusshera Goddess Hadimba of Manali comes
down to Kullu. She is the Goddess of the royal family of Kullu.
At the entrance of Kullu the Royal Stick welcomes her and escorts
her to the Palace where the royal family awaits her at the entrance
of the Palace. Thereafter they enter the Palace only when goddess
Hadimba calls them inside. After blessing the royal family she
comes to Dhalpur.
The idol of Raghunathji is saddled around Hadimba and placed
in a Ratha (chariot) adorned beautifully. Then they wait for
the signal from Mata Bhekhli, which is given from top of the
hill. Next the Ratha is pulled with the help of ropes from its
original place to another spot where it stays for the next six
days. The male members of the royal family leave the palace
and stay in the Dusshera ground.
More than one hundred gods and goddesses mounted on colorful
palanquins participate in this procession. The ceremony feels
as if the doors of heaven have been opened and the gods have
come down to the earth to rejoice.
On the sixth day of the festival, the assembly of Gods takes
place, which is called 'Mohalla'. It is an impressive and a
rare sight to see the multihued palanquins of Gods around the
camp of Raghunathji. People usually dance the whole night through.
On the last day the Ratha is again pulled to the banks of river
Beas where a pile of thorn bushes is set on fire to depict the
burning of Lanka. Some animals are sacrificed and the Ratha
is brought back to its original place. Raghunathji is taken
back to the temple in Raghunathpur. Thus world famous Dusshera
comes to an end in a dignified way, full of festivities and
The Dhalpur grounds are full of vendors who come from different
parts of the country to sell their goods. Various government
organizations and private agencies also set up various exhibitions
concerning their line of work. At night thousands of people
witness the International Cultural Festival in Kala Kendra (an
Kullu Dusshera ends all the fairs and festivals celebrated in