Beyond raised the forbidding heights of the Greater Himalayas, and by the banks of the shining river Beas, lies the fabled Silver Valley. Here is the core of an intricate web of numerous valleys - each of which is a visual delight and seems more beautiful than the other.
The Silver Valley has treasures of nature that lie carelessly scattered as flowers on the high meadows. There is pleasure in every step, you take in these enchanted valleys and in every gurgle, you hear in the clear mountain streams. The valleys are gateways to some of the best trekking routes. The two main centers of the circuit are Kullu and Manali.
The town of Kullu was earlier known as Kulanthpitha (end of the habitable world), as ahead of it, were the forbidding heights of the Greater Himalayas. Kullu, in medieval times, was the seat of a hill kingdom, whose boundaries stretched into Lahaul, Spiti and as far east as the Sutlej. Motoring access to the valley was possible only after independence.
Today, it is one of the most accessible Central Himalayan valleys and is famous for its apple orchards, beautiful women, wooden temples, folk music and dance. The long centuries of seclusion, has however allowed the area to retain a considerable measure of its traditional charm.
Kullu holds, one of the most colorful Dussehra festivals in India. During the festival, Rama is worshiped in his form as Raghunath, whose image is borne through the streets on a wheeled rath (palanquin) pulled by pilgrims.
If you don't mind eating from road-side dhabas, there are plenty of them in Kullu.
Shopping at Kullu may not be as exciting as it is in Manali. Tiny trinket shops selling beads and jewellery dot the small town. Also famous in the region is the embroidered work on shawls and firans. Embroidered woollen caps, better-known Kullu caps, can also be bought here for Rs 20-25. The prices are cheaper at the local stores as compared to bigger showrooms.
The Kullu Dusshehra is celebrated in October-early November. During the seven-day festival, the deities of Raghunathji and other gods and goddesses are brought down to the valley on chariots. The cultural programmes during the festival are very interesting.
250 km from Chandigarh, in the state of Himachal Pradesh, along NH 21 at an altitude of 4,000 ft.
Jagson Airlines and Archana Airways fly from Delhi. Airport: he nearest airport is at Bhuntar, 10 km from Kullu.
The closest railheads from here are Pathankot and Chandigarh, from where you can take the narrow gauge train to Jogindernagar. Usually the most convenient way is to take a taxi from either of these places to Kullu. Railway station: Pathankot and Chandigarh are the closest railheads.
Well connected by buses from Delhi, Leh, Shimla, Ludhiana and other cities of Punjab. Fares range between Rs 250 and Rs 550. Most of the buses run by HPDTC are available from ISBT at New Delhi and other main bus terminals in northern cities. Bus terminus: The new bus stand at Sarvari Bazaar is the most frequent stoppage point. Akhara bus depot is also used for certain buses.
Summer temperatures in Kullu range between 14?C and 33.8?C, while the winter temperatures remain somewhere between 2?C and 16?C.
This temple in Kullu is dedicated to Lord Rama and is the seat of the valley's presiding deity. According to legends during 17th century, Raja Jagat Singh of Kulu brought from Ayodhya a statue of Lord Raghunath- Lord Ram as a mark of his penance. He built this temple where he installed the idol of lord Ram in his chariot. From that day onwards Raghunathji, became the reigning deity of the valley.
This temple in Kullu is dedicated to Goddess Shayamla, the presiding deity of Shimla. This is another major attraction of Kullu.
It is believed that the temple tower attracts lightning, which occasionally shatters the stone lingam in the sanctum. It miraculously returns to its original form when a mixture of butter and sathu (barley and gram) is applied to it. The temple is famous for its 20m high rod that periodically draws lightning, which shatters the stone lingam of Lord Shiva.
There are a number of shrines around Kullu. The Basheshwar Mahadev Temple at Bajura (15 km) from Kullu is famous for its exquisite carvings. The Vaishno Devi Temple (4 km) and the Vishnu Temple at Dayar (12 km) are other important shrines worth visiting.
There are a number of tourist spots as well. The small town of Manikaran (45 km) is famous for its hot sulfur springs. It is located at an altitude of 1737 m in the Parvati River valley. These hot springs are famous for their healing powers. This place is both revered by the Hindus and the Sikhs. Travelers can visit the Shri Ramchandra Temple and the Shri Guru Nanak Devji Gurdwara in Manikaran. Manikaran offers hiking and trekking facilities to the tourists. Kaisdhar (15 km) and Kasol (42 km), the latter located amidst pine forest, are important picnic spots.
Shoja (69 km), at an altitude of 2692 m, offers the traveler a breathtaking view of the entire Kullu valley.
Raisom (13 km), on the banks of river Beas, is a good site for trekking. The town of Naggar (23 km) was the erstwhile capital of the state of Kullu for more than 1,400 years. There are number of historic monuments and temples in this town.
Kullu attracts the adventure-seeking tourist by offering trekking and hiking trails in and around the valley. Stretches of River Beas are also used for white-water rafting.