[Himachal GK] Important Details and History of District Kullu, Himachal Pradesh

Details about District Kullu, Himachal Pradesh :

  • Headquarter: Kullu
  • Altitude: 1219 meters
  • Languages spoken: Kullui & Hindi
  • The district is located between 31°58’00” North Altitude and 77°06’4” East Longitude.
  • The only river which originates from district Kullu is Beas.
  • The Mansarovar Lake in olden days was known as Mantilac.
  • The Potato Development Stations in Kullu are at Hamta (Kullu) and Kuna (Anni).
  • The Vegetable Research Station in Kullu is at Katrain. This station is maintained by Indian Agriculture Institute.
  • The Cereal Seed Multiplication Farm is at Sainj, Kullu which is maintained by National Seed Corporation.
  • Pioneer of fruit growing in district Kullu was Capt. R.C.Lee of ‘Bundrole orchard’. He set up an apple orchard in the year 1870 and obtained plants from United Kingdom.
  • Padha Bansi Lal was the first local farmer who planted apples trees in the District Kullu at Seobagh.
  • Sheep breeding farm at Nagwain started in 1963 under Indo-German project.
  • Bed Ram Thakur was the founder of Bhuti Weavers Co-operative society in 1944.
  • In the past, Manali was known as ‘Dana Aghe’.
  • The First Guest House in Manali was Sunshine Guest House managed by Banon family.

                 Fig : Kullu District

Some Important Details of Kullu District : 

Year of creation of District
Total Area (Hectares)
Total Assembly Constituency      
4 (Four)
Population (2001 census)
Sex Ratio
Scheduled Cast
Scheduled Tribe
Administrative Units
Sub Divisions
Total Villages
Total Police Stations/Posts
Total Families
Rural Families
Urban Families
Literacy (2001 Census) 
Panchyati Raj
Total Panchayats
Backward Panchayats
Zila Parishad Members
Panchayat Samiti Members
Gram Panchayat Members
Total Panchayat Secretaries
Total Panchayat Sahyaks
Total Technical Assistants
Total Agricultural Land (Hect.)
Net Shown Area (Hect.)
Irrigated Area (Hect.)
Large & Medium Scale Units
Small Scale Units
Industrial Area
Primary Schools
Middle Schools
High Schools
Senior Secondary Schools
Ayurvadic Health Centres
Co-operative Banks
Commercial Banks
Gramin Banks
Land Dev. Banks
Watershed / Hariyali Schemes
No. of Micro Watershed Schemes
Area Covered (Hect.)

History of Kullu :

  • According to the traditional folklore of people, the Kullu valley originally bore the name of ‘Kauntapitha’ means the end of the inhabitable world.
  • Bihangmani Pal is believed to have been founder of Kullu state.
  • Kailash Pal (1428 A.D.) was the last Raja to bore the surname of Pal.
  • Jagat Singh (A.D. 1637-1672) was the most powerful ruler of the dynasty.
  • The idol of Raghunath ji was brought from Ayodhya in 1653 by a Brahmin named ‘Damodar Das’ and installed in Kullu by Raja Jagat Singh.
  • Raja Jagat Singh transferred the capital from Naggar to Sultanpur in A.D. 1660.
  • Hieun Tsang visited Kullu in A.D. 635.
  • Mr. Moorcraft was the first European to visit Kullu on his way back to Ladakh in A.D. 1820.
  • In 1846 A.D., Kullu became the sub-division of Kangra district.
  • Kullu has the distinction of having the oldest democracy in the world in village ‘Malana’.
  • Jagatsukh, Naggar and Sultanpur were the capital of princely state form time to time.

Detailed History of Kullu :

Mythological References
References about the Kullu valley in several mythological works like Ramayana, Mahabharata etc. lend credence to the ancientness of the land. According to Hindu mythology, the valley is regarded as the cradle of all humankind. After the great deluge, Manu, the progenitor of humanity, is said to have rested his ark on a hill side and established his abode at the present Manali, which is regarded as the changed name of ‘Manu-alaya’ (i.e. the home of Manu). Parshuram, regarded as one of the reincarnations of Vishnu, is believed to have inhabited the valley and the Parshuram temple in Nirmand is regarded as a living testimony of this mythological association.

According to some legends connected with the Ramayana period, Shringi Rishi, who had his abode near Banjar, attended the ‘Putreshti Yajna’ organized by Raja Dashratha after which Lord Ram was born. The name of the river Beas is assigned by common tradition to the celebrated saint Vashishtha, whose references are found in the Ramayana. Having become weary of life after the death of his sons, Vashishtha is said to have thrown himself in the river with his hands and feet tied. But the pious river burst his bonds and wafted him ashore unhurt. The river came to be known as ‘Vipasha’ or ‘the liberator of bonds’. Sage Vashishta then threw himself into the Satluj but the pious waters of the river divided themselves into hundred shallow channels and left the sage on dry land. The river became known as ‘Satadree’ or ‘the hundred channeled’.

The land is also replete with many legends associated with the Pandavas, who are believed to have spent a part of their exile in the valley. The Hidimba temple in Manali, the Shangchool Mahadev temple in Sainj and the Dev Dhank in Nirmand are believed to be associated with the Pandavas. According to one legend, one of the Pandavas, Bhimsen killed a strong and cruel demon Hadimb and married his sister Hadimba, a powerful deity of Manali. Ghatotkachh, the son of Bhim and Hadimba, showed unparalleled heroism and velour in the Mahabharata. According to another legend, Arjuna, under the advice of Sage Vyas, practiced austerities in a cave called ‘Arjun Gupha’ in the mountain of Inderkila (now called Deo Tiba) in order to get the powerful Pasupati Astra from Indra. The great sage Vyas is said to have performed his tapa in this valley during the Mahabharata period, at a place called ‘Vyas Kund’ on Rohtang Pass. It was because of this that the river Vipasha got the present name of Beas. 

The Dev Sanskriti of the valley is born out of an interesting mythological legend. It is believed that the powerful deity of Malana village, Jamlu was once crossing the Chandrakhani pass with a basketful of Gods, which he opened on top of the pass. A strong breeze dispersed all the Kullu Gods to their present locations, leading to Kullu being known as the valley of Gods.

Documented History
The district of Kullu came into being on November 1, 1966. Various historical evidences including inscriptions on coins etc., accounts of travelers and other printed references point out to the antiquity of the tract and the people which constitute the district Kullu of the present. The history of Kullu has been traced some 2000 years back in time. The word ‘Kullu’ is speculated to have been derived from the word ‘Kuluta’ which was found inscribed on a coin from the first century A.D. The first king (Raja) mentioned in historical record is Virayasa whose name figures on that coin as ‘Virayasa, King of Kuluta’. The Chinese pilgrim, Hiuen Tsang, is believed to have described the modern Kullu as Kiu-lu-to situated at 117 miles to the north-east of Jalandhar. The tract has also been referred to as ‘Kulantapitha’, which translates to ‘the territory which marks the end of Kula i.e. the socio-religious system of the mainland’ or ‘the end of the habitable world’.

The tract is said to have been first ruled by the Pal kings, who were succeeded by the Singh kings, believed to be descendants of the Pal kings. According to known history, the kingdom of Kullu was founded in the first century A.D. by Behangamani Pal, who is speculated to have come from Prayag near Allahabad. It appears that the people of the higher valley of Kullu were suffering under the repressive regime of the Thakurs of Spiti then and a keen desire to overthrow the Thakurs was smoldering in their hearts.  Behangamani Pal overthrew the Thakurs and established the first ruling dynasty of Kullu. The rule of the Pal kings continued till about A.D. 1450 and Raja Kelas Pal was the last in that line. After him there was long break of about 50 years and it appears that the Thakurs and the Ranas might have captured power during this period.

After this interregnum, Sidh Singh, who became the Raja of Kullu in A.D. 1500, is recognized as the first of the line of the Singh kings. The local folklore narrates the story of Goddess Hidimba granting the kingdom of Kullu to Sidh Singh. Hidimba is respected as the grandmother and the patron-deity by the royal family of Kullu till date. The next important king of Kullu was Raja Jagat Singh (A.D.1637-1672) who incorporated Lag into the kingdom of Kullu. The original capital of the state of Kullu was at Jagatsukh where the early kings ruled for twelve generations. Raja Visudh Pal transferred the capital to Nagar and later Raja Jagat Singh transferred it to Sultanpur. The famous idol of Raghunath was brought from Ayodhya to Kullu during the reign of Raja Jagat Singh to remove a curse which a Brahmin had casted upon Jagat Singh. Jagat Singh put the idol on the throne, proclaimed himself to be merely the first servant of the temple, and the curse was removed. Since then, the Rajas of Kullu ruled the state in the name of Raghunath, who became the principal deity of the Kullu valley. With this incident Vaishnavism established itself in a land where Shaivism and Shaktism were the dominant denominations. During the period of the Mughal rule, Kullu was subject to the suzerainty of the Mughal emperors and used to pay tribute to them.

In A.D. 1672, river Sutlej became the state boundary in the south and Outer Saraj (consisting of Ani and Nirmand of the present times) became a part of Kullu. In territorial terms, Kullu reached its zenith under Raja Man Singh extending from Upper Lahaul in the north to Shimla in the south. Around A.D. 1800, the authority of the Mughal empire declined and Kullu started paying tribute to the Gorkhas and to Sansar Chand, the Katoch Raja of Kangra. In A.D. 1839, the Sikhs captured Kullu state from Raja Ajit Singh and in A.D. 1846 they ceded it to the British Government. Consequently, Kullu, along with Lahaul & Spiti, became a part of the district of Kangra, as a sub-division under the control of an Assistant Commissioner. The British gave sovereign powers to Thakar Singh within the jagir of Rupi and in A.D. 1852 his son Gyan Singh was given the title of Rai instead of Raja.

Until 1960, the tract of Lahaul & Spiti was part of the Kullu tehsil. Kullu was declared to be a district of Punjab in 1963 and on November 01, 1966 it became a district of Himachal Pradesh. In the British times, all the modern government buildings, hospital and government bungalows were built around the Dhalpur grounds (proximate to Sultanpur, the old capital). Dhalpur continues to be the nerve centre of the district administration till date.

 Geographical Status :
1279 mt.

31o 20’ 25"    to 32o 25’ 0" North
76o 56’ 30"    to 77o 52’ 20" East
Surrounding Areas & Districts
Kullu is bounded on the north and east by Lahaul & Spiti, on the south-east by Kinnaur, on the south by Shimla, on the south-west and west by Mandi and on the north-west by Kangra.

Climate : 
Generally, the climate is cold and dry and the year can be divided into three season:
March/April to June
July to September
October to February/March

From December to February, this period is very chilly. Heavy frost occurs during this period. Snowfall generally occurs during December and January or an early snowfall may occur in November also. During this period, most of the parts of the Kullu remain under cover of snow. But the snow does not remain on the ground for a long time. The average rain fall is 80 cm. Max temperature is 38.8o C and minimum is 5.2o C in winter.

Places of Interest : 
Kullu - The District Headquarter
Kullu, the headquarters of the district, is situated at an altitude of 1200 mt on the confluence of Savory rivulet and Beas river. Though it is somewhat warm during June and early July, but for the rest of the year provides a delightful and healthy climate. the annual rainfall is about 40", of which a little less than a half occurs during the winter months from October to March. There is not much snowfall during the winters but the snow clad peaks look very beautiful. Kullu town has made its name on the international tourist map for its famous Dussehra festival. Town is a seat of the chief deity of the valley i.e. Raghunathjee. During Dussehra the visiting deities from all over the district first pay their obeisance by visiting abode of Raghunathjee at Sultanpur. The town of Kullu can accommodate large number of visitors with all facilities of boarding and lodging required by them.

Kullu district offers many attractions to the tourists. It has rich art and cultural heritage, lush green deep meadows, dazzling rivers, white capped snowy peaks and high mountains. The district has incomparable Beas and its sub-valleys which are full of natural charm and grandeur. Though, Kullu does not have the rich historical archaeological or epigraphically antiquities like Chamba but still has some ancient remains antiquities like Nirmand in outer-Seraj and Hat at Barjaura. Not only the district is famous for its scenic beauty but also as a paradise for the trekkers and mountaineers.
Situated near the end of valley, Manali is one of the most attractive tourist spot not only of Himachal Pradesh, but of International fame also. Manali is synonymous streams and birdsong, forests and orchards and grandees of snow-capped mountains.

Manali is the real starting point of an ancient trade route which crosses the Rohtang and Baralacha passes, and runs via Lahul and Ladakh to Kashmir while divergent road connects it with Spiti. Now the motor link have been provided up to Leh in Jammu & Kashmir, Pangi valley in Chamba and Kaza of Lahul & Spiti. There are regular bus services to these places from Manali during summer season. It is situated at a distance of 45 kms from Kullu.

There is an interesting legend about Manali which goes to say that Manu, the author of ’Manu Samhita’, after the great deluge first stepped on the earth from the celestial boat at a place in this land. The particular spot where he established his abode was the present Manali which is regarded as the changed name of ’Manu-Alaya’, the abode of Manu. The temple dedicated to Manu is still existing in the Manali village.
Naggar, on the left bank of the Beas and about 300 mts above the river, is delightfully situated on a wooden slope and commands extensive views, especially of the north and west of the valley. It is 27 kms from Kullu and 5 kms from Patli Kulh. There is a bridge across the river Beas connecting Naggar and Patli Kulh.

Naggar succeeded Nast (Jagatsukh) as the capital of Kullu. It was founded by Visudh Pal and continued as the headquarter of the state until the capital was transferred to Kullu (Sultanpur) by Raja Jagat Singh. A massive castle belonging to the Rajas of Kullu still exists here. The castle now is converted into a tourist lodge is built on a steep eminence overlooking the valley and dominates the village and surroundings countryside. It is supposed to have been built during the reign of Raha Sidh Singh with stones brought from Baragarh fort on the opposite of the valley.

At the foot of the small bazaar, below the castle is the Gauri-Shankar Temple of Lord Shiva, a charming example of the architecture and carving. It is presumed that the temple which is a protected monument is eight hundred years old. A little higher is the Vishnu temple of Chatturbhuj (with Four Arms). Higher still in the upper part of the village, is Pagoda shaped temple of Tripura Sundri Devi. Highest of all on a small ridge above Naggar, is theKrishna temple of Murli Dhar. This temple is perhaps the oldest of its type in this part of Kullu.

Above the castle a road leads to Hall. The beautiful house which gives its name to the estate was built by Late Colonel Rennick, but is now in the possession of the Roerich family. The late Professor Nicholas Roerich (died in Dec, 1947) was a illustrious artist of international repute had selected Naggar as his residence when he came to India in 1929 along with the other members of his family. One of his sons Sovetoslav Roerich, was also a renowned painter.
Rohtang Pass
Numerous mountain passes lead in and out of Kullu, but one the most popular with trekking parties is the Rohtang, about 3,978 mt. above sea level. It is easily the most convenient route from Manali and throughout the whole distance provides a charming variety of scenery. The length of the pass is about 1 km. and has served as the route for many centuries for trade with Lahaul, Ladakh and to far away countries in Central Asia. The roadfrom Manali to Keylong passes over this pass which is 51 kms and the vest of the Rohtang pass affords a wide spread panorama of mountain scenery.

The Beas river rises near the crest of Rohtang springing into existence from a block of mica-schist. To the left of the pass five or six hundred feet higher is the little lake of ’Sar Kund’ (also called Dashair). On 20th Bhadon (about the 4th September) each year, this small glacier lake is visited by numbers of people from Kullu and other adjoining districts with a belief that a bath in the cold water at day break on this particular day will cure all bodily ailments.

In early summer and late autumn after about 11:00 AM or mid-day, the crest of the pass is occasionally subject to sever blizzards and snow storms, accompanied by a deadly cold breeze. Daily bus service is available at Manali for a trip to Rohtang-pass. The reservations for this trip may be done with assistance of Tourism Development Officer, at Manali.
The original name of which was ’Nast’ was the ancient capital of Kullu state. Here the earliest Rajas ruled for twelve generations till, in the reign of Visudh Pal, the capital was transferred to Naggar. It lies on the left bank of the Beas and the road from Naggar to Manali runs through the village. It is about twelve km from Naggar and six km from Manali. Before reaching Jagatsukh a place Shooru, near the entrance to Hamta Nullah, is passed at which is located teh ancient and historical temple of Devi Sarvali. In Jagatshukh some ancient temples are still in existence. The most important being the Shiva Temple in the Shikhra style. It has a very chaste sculptured decoration. The temple of Gayatri Devi is also located near this temple.
A little village located on the left bank of the Beas, but well above the river and about 3 kms beyond Manali and is renowned for its hot sulphur springs named as Bashisht or Vashist. There is a regular walled bathing pool with stone floors. Turkish styled shower fitted bath rooms, separate for ladies and gents have been built closely where the hot/ cold water is separately piped, maintaining the regular temperature for bathing, charges are nominal. There is cafeteria. Flanking the pool there is a stone and a wooden temple dedicated to Vashishta Muni, from whom the village gets its name. The hot sulphur springs at Vashist are famous for their great gelling powers.
Arjun Gufa
A cave, which is about five kms from Manali and known as Arjun Gufa, is situated a little up from the left bank road near the village Prini. According to a legend, Arjuna under the advice of a Vyasa rishi practiced austerities in a cave in order to get the powerful ’Pashupata Astra’ from Indra.

Fairs and Festivals :
Kullu Dussehra
Dussehra is celebrated in most parts of the country on Vijya Dashmi to commemorate the victory of Rama over demon king Ravana. The highlight of this fair is The victory of good over evil.

Kullu Dussehra is however, different in certain ways from Dussehra celebrations in the other parts of the country. It presents cultural ethos of the people and their deep rooted religious beliefs which manifest during this festival with traditional songs, dances and colorful dress. It begins on Vijya Dashmi and lasts for a week. There is an interesting story behind the beginning of Dussehra Festival. And now also, the internationally famous Dussehra of Kullu is celebrated  in the same tradition.
Pipal Jatra/ Vasantotsava
The traditional name of Vasantotasava is Pipal Jatra or it is also called Rai-ri-Jach. It takes place at Dhalpur, Kullu on 16th Baisakh every year. The Raja of Kullu was used to sit in front of the ’Kala Kendra’ on a raised platform of Pipal Tree alongwith his courtiers and the traditional dance was held in front of him. Once about 16 Kullu gods participated in this fair but by and by it lost its grandeur. In 1976 AD efforts were made to revive this fair with the help of Himachal Academy of Arts, Culture and Language. The Baishakha is the month of Blooming spring season in Kullu Valley. So the fair has been renamed as Vasantotsava or Spring festival. Cultural programs are organized with classical music songs and dances. Vanstosava is now held from 28th April to 30th April every year. It is also very significant from the business point of view. The people belonging to Lahaul begin to return to their native place after passing cold wither in the valley. This fair gives them an opportunity to buy their agricultural tools and other useful/ needful equipments and items.
Shamshi Virshu

This fair is held on 1st Baisakh (April 13) for one day in village Khokhan. The fair is religious and seasonal. The legend connected with he moved by the alluring beauties of the hill springs used to dance at this place with her girl friends who were daughters of Rishis and Munis. The local inhabitants also regard themselves as the progeny of the daughters of those Rishis and Munis. The goddess is worshiped outside and then it is taken inside the temple. The people offer young yellow sheets of barley which are specially sown for the occasion to be offered to the Devi along with garlands. Then a he goat is scarified. Thereafter the women sing and dance around the Rahta carrying the Devi. The devi is also danced about. Men-fold stay on as spectators and on-lookers.

Mela Bhuntar

The fair is held on 1st Ashad (June-July) for 3 days in village Bhunter. The fair is seasonal and religious. The fair was started by the Devta of the ilaqua Suraj Pal. Palaghmiar a Devta from mardo also attends. From this day the use of food grains from the newly harvested crops starts after cooked food offerings are made to the gods and then the meal is shared by other relatives and friends. This is known as ’Tahoolikhana’ in the local terminology.

Sainj Fair

This fair is held in Raila on 21st of Baisakh (April-May) for one day. The significance and legend of the fair is religious and recreational. Idol of Devta Laxminarayana is brought from Raila to Sainj. Thereafter the fair starts with folk dances and songs rhythmical with the beat of drums and trumpets.

Luhri Lavi

This fair is held on Kartik 21 and 22 (October-November) for two days and one night in village Dingidhar at Luhri. The significance of the fair is religious and commercial. The fair is held in honor of Devta Jogeshwar and Khegro Maya. The Devtas are worshiped. Nati dances, mimicking, fold dance performances at night are resorted to.

Anni Fair
This fair is held on the 27th Vaisakh (April-May) for two days in village Franali at Anni In the fair deities of the adjoining villages participate. The main attractions of the fair are folk dances and other cultural programs.
Dalash Fair
This fair is held in the month of Bhadon for three days and nights in village Soidhar at Dalash. The fair si altogether religious and is held in honor of Devta Jogeshwar Mahadev of Dalash and Bungli Nag. The devtas are worshipped and natti dances, cultural programs and sorts tournaments are performed.
Ganter Fair
This fair held on Pon 3rd (Dec.-Jan) for one day. The fair is mainly religious and it is said that Rana and Thakurs the then rulers of Kullu valley were at logger head and used to be constantly at war with one another. To commemorate the battle a ram used to be scarified. The practice of ram sacrifice is still in vogue.
Ghatasani Fair
This fair is held on Chait 4th (March-april) for two days in village Dawra. The legend connected with the fair is that once mother Parvati asked Lord Shiva to forget Rama saying that even Rama could change. To prove this she went to Rama in the guise of Sita to deceive him. When Lord Rama saw her he could see through the game and addressed Parvati as mother and enquired as to why she has left his guru i.e. Lord Shiva. The fair starts with worship of Vishnu Bhagwan and the village Devi. Natti dances, folk songs and other cultural programs are the main attractions of the fair.
Dhoongri Fair
This fair is held on Jaishth 2nd (May-June) for the three days at Dhoongri (Manali) in the memory of Devi Hadimba who meditated at Dhoogri and was married to Bhima one of the five Pandvas. She had a son from him who was named Ghatotkach. He fought in the battle of Mahabharta. The fair starts with the worship of Goddess Hadimba.
Bhadoli Fair
This fair held once in three years, dates whereof are decided by the Brahmins. The fair is held for four days. The fair is commemorated in the memory of Lord Parshu Ram who is stated to have meditated here.
On the first day of the fair reception of Devis and Devtas and their attendants takes place. On the second day Devis and Devtas are propitiated through songs and dances. On the third day they are carried in a procession around the village. On the fourth day, the fair comes to an end after serving community feast.
Buddhi Diwali
This fair is held on Maghar Amawas for three days in village Nirmand. The fair associated with the battle of Mahabharta which is said to have started on that day. The fair is also held to commemorate the killings of two demons Dano and Asur who resided at village Nirmand in the form of snakes. The fair starts with a brief recital of Mahabharata and story of Raja Bali in folk songs. Two ropes of munj grass signifying the snake demons are cut into pieces by the Kashtriyas. 
Phagli Fair
The fair is is held in the month of Phagun and hence the name Phagli. The fair is held to show the struggle of supremacy between the god and demon, in which ultimately the god emerges victorious. This fair is also held to commemorate the event of killing the demon by god.

A person wearing the mask and a grass tied with the help of strings all over the body acts as a demon and god is represented by GUR (god’s spokes man). Special dances ’Deo Khel’ and ’Raksh Khel’ are performed by these people with the rhythm of the drum-beats. The demon is ’Tundi Raksh’ who troubled people living from Manali to Archhandi. Manu Rishi with the help of Shandalya Rishi killed him. Phagli is held at Malana, Jana, Halan, Soil and in all temples of Jamlu.
Birshu Fairs
This fair held in the month of Chaitra or Baisakh, through out the district. One day before the first day of the month delicacies are cooked in the houses and sent to all the relatives. The temples are decorated on the first day. All the villagers assembled there and gur of the god performs ’Deo Khel’. Then the god si teken for a round in th village. All the people greet & pay respect to him out side their houses and seeks his blessings. After completing the round, the god returns to the temple. 
Sharhi Jatra
This fair is held in the temple of the Tripura Sundri, in the ground named Sharhi. This fair is held for three days. The gathering here is always large. It takes place in the month of ’Jaishtha’ (May-June).
Flora and Fauna :

Because of its complex geography and its great variations in altitude, Kullu is home to an enormous range of species, which span the subtropical to the alpine. The common trees in the Kullu hills belong to the conifer species (deodar, pine, spruce, fir). Several species of medicinal plants like Hath Panja (Dactylorhiza hatageria) and Brahma Kamal (Saussurea obvallata) grow luxuriously in the valley. The valley is known for the presence of the majestic Snow-leopard, the Himalayan brown bear and the Himalayan Tahr. The Western Tragopan (the state bird of Himachal Pradesh) and the Monal pheasant are the prominent birds species found in the region.

The Great Himalayan National Park is the repository of the great biodiversity of the region. It was established in 1984 and in 2014 the GHNP was added by the UNESCO to the list of World Heritage Sites.

The Great Himalayan National Park

The Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) is located in the Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh, India. Initially constituted in 1984, GHNP was formally declared a National Park in 1999, covering an area of 754.4 sq kms. In 1994, two major changes were made in land use around the Park. A buffer zone of 5 km from the Park’s western boundary, covering 265.6 sq km. and including 2,300 households in 160 villages, was delineated as an Ecozone. Most of the population (about 15,000 to 16,000 people) in the Ecozone are poor and dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods.

The second change was the creation of the Sainj Wildlife Sanctuary (90 sq km) around the three villages of Shagwar, Shakti, and Marore. On the southern edge of the GHNP, another Protected Area (PA) was declared, known as Tirthan Wildlife Sanctuary. This covers 65 sq km and is without habitation. More recently, in 2010, both the Sainj and Tirthan Wildlife Sanctuaries were added to GHNP, but will not be formally incorporated until a process known as settlement of rights has occurred. Thus the initiated merger of Sainj and Tirthan Wildlife Sanctuaries with GHNP will be followed by a process of settlement to relocate inhabitants and make the area free of traditional pressures, which may take some time. The total area under Park administration (National Park, Wildlife Sanctuaries and Ecozone) is 1171 sq km, which is together referred to as the Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area (GHNPCA).

In 2010, an area of 710 sq km of the Parvati river catchment contiguous to the northern boundary of GHNP was initially notified as the Khirganga National Park, adding significant biological diversity, conservation value, and physical protection to GHNP. The boundaries of GHNP are also contiguous with the Pin Valley National Park (675 sq km) in Trans-Himalaya, the Rupi Bhabha Wildlife Sanctuary (503 sq km) in Sutlej watershed and the Kanawar Wildlife Sanctuary (61 sq km), adding additional protection and conservation value and opening up extended wildlife corridors.


Biogeographically, the location of GHNPCA and adjacent protected areas is at the junction of world’s two major faunal realms, i.e. the Indomalayan to the south and Palaearctic to the north. The temperate forest flora-fauna of GHNPCA represents the western-most extenuation of the Sino-Japanese Region. The high altitude ecosystem of Northwest Himalaya has floral affinities with the adjacent Western and Central Asiatic region.

Because of its range of species assemblages, and availability of a compact area for conserving the habitat and biological diversity, GHNPCA is the foremost priority for conservation in the biogeographic zone 2B, i.e. North-West Himalaya (Rodgers and Panwar 2002). The flora of GHNPCA shows affinities with the Mediterranean and Tibetan as well as cis-Himalayan regions. For example, Valeriana jatamansi, Dactylorhiza hatagirea, Taxus baccata, Leycesteria formosa are typical taxa that extend up to Afghanistan and west China. Other affinities that are met with here are in the form of Hippophae, of the Palaearctic region; Cedrus deodara, Viola biflora, and Poa alpina, of the Mediterranean region; and Euphorbia, of Peninsular India. In addition, the Himalaya have evolved a high proportion of their own endemic flora and fauna taxa, for example several species of balsams Impetience, Androsace primuloides, Hedysarum cachemirianum, Draba lasiophylla, etc. and Himalayan tahr Hemitragus jemlahicus which are well represented in GHNP. The boundaries of GHNP are contiguous with the Pin Valley NP in Trans-Himalaya, and Rupi-Bhabha WLS in Sutlej catchment. Another PA nearby GHNPCA is Kanawar WLS. Together, all these PAs have varied wildlife habitats, and bring with them the full range of Western Himalayan biodiversity, from tropical to alpine and Tibetan.


The climate is typically the Western Himalayan temperate and alpine type. There are four distinct seasons recognized for GHNP: spring (April-June), rainy/summer (July-September), autumn (October-November) and winter (December-March). Precipitation is moderate over most of the year and abundant during monsoon from mid-June to mid-September. During winter, the precipitation is in the form of snow even in lower elevation (1,560 m) and higher elevation areas experience heavy snowfall of over 2 m depth.

Mean annual rainfall recorded at Niharni and Sainj in Sainj valley for the years 1992-1994 was 1155.7 mm and 1158.3 mm respectively. The maximum annual rainfall recorded recently was 1298 mm, which is not significantly different from the previous records. The ambient temperature varied from -10 to 40 C, January and June being the coldest and hottest months of the year respectively.


Water originating in the major rivers of the Park is a vital resource and one of the most important primary hydrologic sources for the region. The four sub-watersheds (the Tirthan, Sainj, Jiwa Nal, and Parvati) get their water from glaciers as well as runoff from the forests of the GHNP. Apparently, the glaciers at the headwaters are the main origin of rivers of the Park. However, the thick forests of the major oak types contribute to the continuity of the regional hydrologic cycle and help maintain water quality for tens of millions of people living on the plains of India below. Many perennial streams and waterfalls of GHNP add water to the main rivers of the Park. The cold waters of these rivers harbour a large diversity of aquatic fauna (yet to be studied) prior to their control by developmental agencies (hydro-electric power, etc.) outside the Park. Thus, in terms of contribution to and maintenance of a consistent water flow regime, the Park is vitally important for the regions downstream.

Sports & Adventure :

Kullu terrain is almost mountainous. To popularize the mountaineering and allied sports the Mountaineering Institute second of its kind in the country was established at Chadhiari near the hot springs of Vashist Village in September, 1961. The first training course conducted by the Institute was in Nov-Dev, 1961 and the Institute was known as Western Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (WHMI), with the coming up of its own complex in the year 1976. The Institute was shifted to present location, Aleo Bihal, Manali and since then it is know as the Department of Mountaineering and Allied Sports.

Training in snow skiing was started in early 1970 at Solang Nala Ski-slopes. High Altitude Trekking was also started in 1970 and thereafter in order to conduct adventure and rock-climbing, specific courses were introduced. The Institute also imparts mountaineering and rescue training to the people living in the tribal area. For this us pose two mountaineering sub-centres were established at Jispa in Lahaul & Spiti district and Bharmaur in Chamba district in the year 1979. In order to help people to cross over Rohtang Pass to Lahaul & Spiti or Manali during winter months, the Directorate sets-up rescue posts at Marhi and Koksar from 15th November to 31st December and 1st March to 15ht May.
For trainees arrangement of boarding and lodging is made by the institution. The trekkers can also hire the needed equipments or articles from the institution.

Trout fish is found in large quantity in river Beas and its tributaries Parvati, Sainj, Trithan, Manikaran and Katrain areas. So fishing in Kullu district is an anglers  paradise and this sport is  catching up day by day. Tirthan river is particularly rich in brown trout fish  where natural breeding of the fish takes place. The license for angling can be  obtained from Fisheries Office, Kullu, Patlikulh, Larji & Banjar or from Tourist  Office, Kullu and Manali. The Department of Fisheries are also organizing  angling tournament every year in April and in Sept-October.
Ideal trout beasts: River Beas (Katrain to Manali, 18 Km), Trithan Stream (Larji to Nagani, 20 Km), Sainj Stream (Larji to Ropa, 22 Km), Lambadug Stream (Barot to Lahoradi, 6 Km), Uhi Stream (Barot to Kothikad, 10 Km) and Sangla Bridge to Farm (5 Km).

Kullu valley provides easiest as well as adventurous trekking paths to trekking lovers. Most of the routes pass though rugged and unspoiled beautiful valleys with awes inspiring glens, mossy meadows, deep forests inter woven by rushing streams and running brooks. Kullu-Manali valleys are full of real mountains and give comparatively easy access to them.

April to mid June and mid September to mid October is the best season for trekking. Tourist Development Corporation of Himachal Pradesh in collaboration with Department of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali and some other agencies arrange trekking expeditions. The charges include hiring of equipment, porters, transportations, meals and medical facilities and optionally, the approved high altitude guides and porters can also be hired. The accommodation in HPPWD-Rest Houses or Forest Rest House can be arranged through XEN or SE, PWD and Divisional Forest Office (DFO) of that area.

White water rafting
White water rafting is a thrilling as well as adventurous sports. In Kullu, Badah to Jhiri is a nine kilometer long down stream journey path. It takes rafters four hours to reach the destination. The water of river Beas is fast and water waves are dancing, giving the rafters an exciting experience. Rafting is available only in the period of May to July, that is summer only. Professional companies from private sectors make the necessary equipments & gears available to rafters. Each rafter is provided with a life jacket and a helmet. They are expected to wear a specific dress. An experienced guide and helper is also provided  to the rafters.

Skiing is possible in winter season (mid Dec to end of June) only when there is a thick layer of snow on the hills. It this view, the Solang Nala is the best consideration for skiing. The Mountaineering Institute, Manali is imparting training in skiing along with its other activities and training courses.  Some professional skiers are also conducting the skiing courses. Skiing tournaments are also organized at national and international level. Bhrigu peaks and slopes near Hamta are perhaps the best slopes in the world for skiing. Winter skiing is organized at Solang whereas in summer, skiing is organized at Rohtang slopes.

It is a new sport in India but is picking up in Manali. The heli skiers are dropped on mountains and ridges as high as 5500 mt by a helicopter. The skiers are in group of three equipped with a guide for safety. It also removes the pressure on less experienced or learners. This sport requires enough snow hence it is possible in the peak winter season. Private companies provide packages for heli-skiing.

Para Gliding
This sport too is in its initial stage but gaining popularity in Kullu. It is very thrilling sport. The high hills are natural launching sites for para gliding. Bhaikhali (9 km from Kullu, easily approachable by vehicle), Bijli Mahadev and Slang slopes are ideal locations for para-gliding. The best season for this sport is May-June and Sept-Oct. At Manali, the facility of seven days training course is available. Bijli Mahadev is approachable by own vehicle via Naggar or up to Chansari on vehicle and three km on foot, with landing sites are both Dhalpur ground and Bhunter Airport.

Pilgrims :

Shri Raghunath Temple (Kullu)
The chief deity of Kullu is Raghunath Ji. Dussehra festival is held in its name. The idol is same which was used by Lord Rama himself at the time of Ashwamegh Yagya and was brought from Tretnath temple of Ayodhya. The temple was constructed in 1660 AD with a mixed look of Pahari and Pyramidal style. Everyday puja (aarti) is held for five times. Round the year, 45 festivals are held.

It is said that Raja Jagat Singh used charanamrit of the idol for 42 days and was absolved from the evil effect of the curse of a Brahmin Durga Dutt.

Bhekhali Mata Temple (Bhekhali-Kullu)
In the lap of a hill, about 10 km far from Kullu, Bhakhali is a small village of Brahmins. But, on foot it is only 4 km. It is the adobe of Jagannathi mata, also called as Bhuweneshawari, sister of Lord Narayana. The temple is 1500 years old. A fine sample of local art of sculpture, a full sized lion of stone stands in lawn of the temple. Walls have the painting of Durga in various actions.

Bijli Mahadev Temple (Kullu)
Situated at an altitude of 2435 mts on a hill call Mathan 11 km. from Kullu. The temple is ideally located offering a commanding view. The temple is in ’khash’ style. 20 mt high wooden pole stands are installed for seeking blessings from the sky in the form of lighting which shatters the temples Shivlinga Ghat which is then rebuilt by the temple priest. All the pieces are joined together with butter as adhesive. A special ceremony is performed in this process. The followers carry a Chariot of Bijli Mahadev where the deity is taken out. The followers invokes his blessing for bringing rain, good crop, help in worldly affairs or birth of a son.

A regular bus goes up to Chansari village, 14 km from Kullu. The remaining three km. are to be traversed on foot. The 2 km road is totally surrounded with pine trees. There is great rush at the temple in the month of July. A visit to this place provides memorable moments and journey through the forest is very enjoyable.

Vaishno Devi Temple (Kullu)
On the way to Manali 3 km. from Kullu, it is a nice place to pilgrim. There is small cave just like Vaishno Devi Temple. an idol of Durga is installed here. In 1964 AD, a saint established this temple. After his death, this temple is managed by Sharda Sewa Sungh. There is a Lord Shiva temple also.

The management runs a free ’LUNGER’ and a ’SARAYE’ is there for night stay also within the temple premises. The atmosphere of this temple is peaceful and calm. Flow of river Beas in front of the temple gives this place a commanding view. In side the temple premises an acupressure treatment centre is also running providing free of cost treatment.

Addi Brahma Temple (Khokhan)
Khokhan is 12 km from Kullu on a link road from Shamshi at 4 km distance from there. The temple  of Aadi Brahma is in Pagoda style. Built in 14th century, it has four roofs. There are three other small temples within temple premises.  The door of the temple has nice carving of Puranic Scenes. As temple is situated at a height, it provides an excellent view all around.

Bishweshwer Temple (Bajuara)
Built is 9th century, it was rebuilt in 1673 AD by Raja Shyam Sen of Mandi, this temple is of great architectural value. The style of this temple is pyramidal and is built on shankracharya ’Panch Dev Puja Padhati’ that means worship of five gods together at a place. Along with Shiv Linga inside the temple, there are four other gods installed inside the temple. Vishnu, Ganesh and Durga in the West, South and North sides respectively whereas Surya is on the top of the temple. The main door opens in the East. Ganga & Yamuna welcomes every visitor at the gate.
The art of sculpture is also superb and that’s why it has been declared as a protected monument. The wall are so thick that this temple with stood the earthquake of 1905.

Rama Temple (Manikaran)
Rama temple built by Raja Jagat Singh in the place of two Shiva temples, is in pyramidal style. The idol of Rama was brought from Ayodhya. The idol was kept here till 1661 AD, thereafter it was shifted to Kullu. The temple was repaired by Raja Dilip Singh in 1889 AD. Since 1981, a trust is looking after the temple. A free lunger also runs here. Private & government accommodation is also available here, where hot bath’s facility has been extended.
The other temples at Manikaran are Bhagwati temple, Krishna temple of Bairagis and Vishnu temple known as Raghunath temple.

Gurudwara Shri Narayan Hari
Saint Shri Narayan Hari came to Kullu in 1940 from his native place Kamalpur (Pakistan) and settled in Manikaran. Initially there was nothing except two hot water springs. He worked on the Gurudwara building and the 50 years long service bore fruit in the shape of present Gurudwara. And, now this Gurudwara can accommodate more than 4000 people with free ’Lunger’ facility.

There is an artificial cave near the Gurudwara built by the saint where he used to meditate for 40 days or so in a year. He died in 1991. At present his daughter and his son-in-law look after the Gurudwara management.

Dhungari or Mata Hadimba Temple (Dhungari-Manali)
This temple constructed in pagoda style displays the finest example of wood carving on it. It’s sanctuary is built over a rocky crevice covered by a large rock that is worshipped as a manifestation of  Durga, an image of the goddess is also enshrined here. The divinity is popularly worshipped throughout the region during the festivals and the goddess is transported to Kullu to visit the Lord Raghunathji during Dussehra.

Inside the temple, stone idol of Hadimba has been installed, which is about 60 cm. On the left side of the entrance there are 10 cm. feet (Charan Paduka) of the Goddess Durga. The temple was built by Raja Bahadur Singh in 1553 AD. Hadimba was a giantess who meditated at his place. She married to Bhima, one of the five Pandavas who visited here during their exile (Mahabharata Period). Because of her penance, she attained the position of Durga. There is a rock inside the temple about which it is believed that Hadimba meditated on this rock. In local dialect, a rock is called ’Dhoonger’. The temple and place is named after it.

Manu Maharaj Temple (Manali-Village)
The temple of Manu Maharaj is located in Manali village, which is about1 1.5 km from the main town. The idol was found in the court yard of the house of a person, named Gauri of Dhauni Chauni. The present temple has been constructed on the said spot. On the 6th day of Phalgun, the famous Phagli fair is held here in honor of Manu Maharaj, every year. It marks the beginning of the spree of fairs in the valley.  The temples of Manu Maharaj found very rare in India. Manu Smriti was written by him.

Vashistha Rishi Temple (Manali)
There is a 4000 year old temple of Guru Vashishtha on the right side of the springs, built by the king Janamjaya. Inside it, there is a black stone statue of the Rishi Vashishtha, clad in dhoti. The village Vashishtha is famous for hot water springs.

Rama Temple (Left Bank) 
There is Rama temple on the left side of the spring in which the idols of Rama, Sita and Laxmana have been installed. Dussehra festival is held here every year for seven days. The village was the centre of vaishnava cult for a long time. People making visit to the village also make a pilgrimage to this temple.

Gauri Shankar Temple (Left Bank)
This temple is about 40 mt. from the main road. The temple was built in 8th century and is in a pyramid style.. The idols of Parbati and Shankar have been installed inside the temple. A fair, locally called as Chachohli fair is held in March/ April for three days.

Sandhya Devi Temple (Left Bank)
Originally this temple was built in vallabhi style architecture and rebuilt by Raja Urdhanpal in 1428 AD according to one inscription. For the third time, it was rebuilt in 19th century. And, now the temple is in pahari style having sloppy roof and square at the bottom. The idol of Ganesh installed in the temple is a master piece of sculpture. The wood work is also notable. There is a 120 cm stone idol of Sandhya inside the temple.

Dashal Temple (Left Bank)About 30 km from Kullu, on the left bank there is village named Sarsai. Dashal village is about 1/2 km from Sarsai village. The temple here is of Gauri-Shankar which is very famous for its architecture. Built in 14th century it is in pyramid style. The temple is built on a raised platform. The outer walls bear some sex-scenes like those Kahrao, under the philosophy that one must leave sex aside to attain God. Shiva-linga has been installed inside the temple.

Tripura Sundary Temple (Naggar )
The temple is in Pagoda style with three roofs. The design of the temple is in the shape of a web and made by goddess herself after turning herself a spider. Raja Yashodhapal built the temple. Sharhi Jatra, a popular fair is held here every year in honor of the goddess in the month of May. The temple consists of stone idols of Ganesh, Vishnu, Brahma, Laxmi Narayan and Shiv Parvati. A 30 cm idol of Tripura Rrakshisha of Asht-dhatu (a mixture of eight metals) is also there.

Guari Shankar Temple (Naggar)
The temple is in a pyramidal style on a raised platform, with square at the base and a dome above. The stones used are richly engraved. The temple consists of the idol of Gauri-Shankar installed inside it. In the front portion of the Garbh-Grih, the figures of Ganesh, flowers, a musician and a dancer have been engraved on stones. The temple is a protected monument.
Murlidhar Temple (Thawa-Naggar)
Thawa is situated at a small distance from Naggar. The temple is in pyramid style, inside it a beautiful idols of Radha-Krishna have been installed. It enjoyed royal patronage for a long time. Dussehra festival is held here for one day. The temple also consists of the idols of Laxmi-Narayan and Padam Sambhav.

 Temples (Naggar)
There are two Vishnu Temples at Naggar. One is on the way to the village on the right side of the road. This is temple has small pyramid type shape and is of great archeological importance. The festival ’Ganer’ starts from here.

The other Vishnu Temple is near the castle on the eastern side, a few steps down from the main road towards the village. The temple has pyramid shape with a slatty roof. No ’Mandap’ is there infront of it. There is an idol of Vishnu about 4ft. height of ’Asht-Dhatu’ (A misture of Eight Metals). The idol is standing on the pedestal (Kamalasan) and has Chaturbhuj figure. The pedestal is itself of stone square and about a foot high. Petals of kamal have been carved round it.

Ambika Temple (Banjar)
It is believed that the temple was built by Parshuram in the memory of his mother Renuka. The idol of Ambika is about 0.75 mt in height. In front of it there is pair of lions. There is figure of fighting animals on the entrance. Copper sheets presented by the ’Rana of Khanertu’ have been used on the roof of the temple.
Shringa Rishi Temple (Banjar)
Rishi Shringa is the chief deity of Banjar valley. This valley is Rishi’s ’Tapo Bhoomi’. According to a legend, there was a ’Pindi’ (A sacred stone) in the forest at Skeeran. The Pindi asked every passer by for its installation in a temple. The people built a temple in the forest at Skeeran. But then they found it difficult to go there for worship. So they built another temple of the Rishi the Bagi village. The new temple is 12 km from the original one. Every year in the month of May, Rishi makes a visit to this place.

The deity is kept in its chariot all the time. The new temple is in Pagoda and Pahari style with four roofs. The wooden work is marvelous. The idols inside the temple are of stone and brass. The temple remains closed during winter.

Parshuram Temple (Banjar)This temple is like a fort. Inside is a statue of Parshuram having three heads. The statue was presented by Rani Agartala of Kashmir in 900 AD. There is a diamond eye in the central forehead. There are other idols too kept in other room.

Shrikhand Mahadev (Banjar)
Shrikhand Mahadev is considered to be the adobe of Lord Shiva. Its peak is 5155 mt. high. So it is a place of great attraction for the religious people as well as for climbers. To reach to this place one has to reach Jaon village of Nirmand. The Shrikhand peak is visible on the eastern side of the village. There is a miracle known about the Shiva-linga here. Round the year the snow falls here, but it does not stay at the Shiva-linga and melts down soon thereafter.

 Deo Dhank Cave (Nirmand)
This cave is 3 km from Nirmand towards south. A narrow defile leads to the place. The cave is quite deep and about 6 ft. in height. A Shiva-linga is there inside the cave. On it, water oozing from the roof falls drop by drop. This is a miracle of the nature, otherwise there is no water on that rock hill. There is a grove of sacred trees out side the cave and under these grove idols of some other gods are kept. The entrance of the cave has shape of Lord Ganesha. The local people consider it to be a very sacred shrine. The temple is worth to visit.

Peaks/Passes : 

Heights (Above sea level in meters)
Place/ Pass
Place/ Pass
Rohtang Pass
Jallori Pass
Bhuboo Pass
Bashleo Pass
Solang Nala
Deo Tibba
Bijli Mahadev
Bara Bhangal
Hamta Pass
Sri Khand Mahadev
Sereolsar Lake
Beas Kund
Mantalai Pass


  1. I just had one concern- Are the facts stated above correct(means without any errors)? Apart from that just thank you so much for writing about it as I wanted to know more about the history and there are not much sources for that in internet. Well the govt. website did help me knowing more about separate districts in detail but this article is more than enough I suppose.

  2. Can you please post information regarding lakes in kullu