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Kullu Manali

Kullu: Kullu was once known as "Kulanthpitha", which means the end of the habitable world. Beyond rose the forbidding heights of the Greater Himalayas, and by the banks of the shining river Beas, lay the fabled 'Silver Valley' of Kulu. 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 Himalayan mountain scapes remain spectacular whether in brilliant sunshine or in the haze of the mist. The town of Kullu has long been a centre of faith. In the 17th century, Raja Jagat Singh installed here an idol of Lord Raghunathji, which he brought from Ayodhya. As a mark of his penance, he placed the idol on his throne and it became the presiding deity of the Kullu valley. The town of Kulu 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 Fair springs up during the festival which is celebrated with a great deal of singing, dancing and festivity.

Manali: Situated at the northern end of the kullu valley, Manali has spectacular views of snowcapped peaks and wooded slopes. Manali literally means the 'Home of Manu'. Manu is the mythological character who is supposed to have survived when the world was drowned in Flood. He then came to Manali and recreated human life. Thus, the area of Manali is sacred and Hindus treat the temples over here as pilgrimage. Surrounded by towering peaks at an arm length, Manali's major asset is its proximity to the snowline. It is a flourishing orchard industry, a popular honeymoon destination and trailhead for numerous treks as well as a great countryside ideal for adventure sport lovers. Manali, with its mountaineering institute, is a popular base for trekking and mountaineering in summer and skiing in winter. Interesting routes into the surrounding valleys, over the high passes, are provided with tourist huts and rest houses for trekkign enthusiasts.

MUST SEE:
Raghunathji Temple: In the 17th century, Raja Jagat Singh of Kullu committed a great wrong. To atone for the sin he sent a senior courtier to Ayodhya for a statue of Lord Raghunath - Lord Ram. This temple was built by Raja Jagat Singh to house the image and even today, is greatly revered. The shrine houses an image of Shri Raghunath in his chariot.

Vaishno Devi Temple: 4-km along the Kullu to Manali road is this temple with a small cave having an image of goddess Vaishno or Durga.

Sultanpur Palace: It contains some fine examples of the Kullu style of miniature painting, characterised by simple rural scenes and the lack of human subjects.

Parvati Valley & Manikarna: At 1,737 m, here am hot sulphur springs that bubble next to the by waters of the Penal river. The place is revered by both Hindus and Sikhs Treks from here lead to Pulga, Khirganga and Mantalai' a stretch of considerable natural beauty. The route finally reaches the Pin Parvati Pass (4802 m), which opens into the Sutlej valley.

Hadimba Temple: Hadimba or Dhungiri temple in Manali is one of the most important temples in the region. This four-story wooden temple is located in the middle of a forest called the Dhungiri Van Vihar. Winding paths through forests and glades of whispering Deodars form the setting for the majestic wooden temple of Hidimba Devi in Manali. The motorable road is shaded by Chestnuts, Chinars and tall deciduous Deodars. This forested backdrop enthral oneís spirit and refresh oneís mind all along the uphill path.

Vashist Springs : (1,982m)At about half an hourís brisk walking distance from town, there are sulphur springs-gush, hot and medicinal - emerging out of the mountains at Vashisht. Here, in a bath complex with a restaurant and a beautiful view, couples can soak in the privacy of their own sunken bath, warming all kinds of ailments out of their systems.

Rohtang Pass: (13-kms) Situated about 50-km from Manali town, at an altitude of 4,111m on the highway to Keylong, is the Rohtang Pass. There is a beautiful Dasohar Lake left of the Pass. The Pass, which provides the only access to the Lahaul Valley, is open from June to November each year. Snowfall is, however, unpredictable and blizzards can close the Pass even during this period. Here one sees the majesty of the mountains at its height and splendour. A few km away from the pass is the Sonapani glacier and, slightly to the left are the twin peaks of Gaypan-jagged pyramid of rock, snow streaked and snow crowned.

Arjun Gufa: (5-kms) On the left bank of the Beas, 5-km from Manali near the village of Prini, is the 'Arjun Gufa' or the cave of Arjuna. In here Arjuna practised austerities to get Pashupata Ashtra or weapon from Lord Indra.

NEAR BY DESTINATIONS:
Around Kullu:
Bathad: A beautiful spot at a distance of 67-km can be approached by road from Kullu. It is recognized for adventurous games such as hunting, trout fishing and breathtakingly beautiful sites.
Banjar:It is about 58-km from Kulu at an altitude of 1,534m (5,000 ft.). Banjar is famous for its panoramic beauty and trout fishing in river Tirtham.
Kasidhar: 15-km.
Kasol: 42-km.
Manikaran: 45-km.
Shoja: 69-km.
Naggar: 23-km.
Manali: 40-km.

Around Manali: Kasidhar: 15-km.
KasoRohtang Pass: 50-km.
Kothi: 12-km.
Solang Nullah: 14-km.
Bhuntar: 52-km.
Kullu: 40-km.
Jogindernagar: 135-km.

BEST TIME TO VISIT: May to June and resumes from September to October

THE WAY TO KULLU MANALI:
By Air: Manali - The nearest airport is Bhuntar, 52 km south of Manali. There are flights to Delhi via Shimla.
Kullu-The airport at Bhuntar is 10-km from Kullu, where taxis and buses are available.

By Rail: Manali- Nearest station are Chandigarh 320 kms. and Jogindarnagar 180 kms.
Kullu-The closest narrow gauge railhead is at Jogindernagar, 95-km from Kullu.

By Road: Manali- Delhi: 611 kms, Shimla 267 kms.The road to Manali passes through the picturesque valley of Kullu. The motorable roads to Manali connect the town with other major tourist places in Himachal as well as in the nearby states. At the Manali bus stand there are two booths, which do computerised reservation for buses. The reservations can be made one month in advance. Both private and state government buses are in service over here.
Kullu-By road, the distance from Delhi via Mandi is 530-km and from Shimla this is 240-km. From Delhi and Shimla, luxury buses ply to Kulu. There's a bus and taxi stand on the opposite side of maidan. The main bus stand is by river in the northern area of the town.

Route: New Delhi - Chandigarh - Ropar - Bilaspur - Sunder Nagar - Mandi - Kullu - Raison - Manali