Kullu Knowledge Guide


Historical references about the Kullu valley dates back to ancient Hindu literary works of Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Puranas. During Vedic period several small republics known as "Janapada" existed which were later conquered by the Nanda Empire, Mauryan Empire, Gupta Empire, Pala Dynasty and Karkoṭa Empire. After a brief period of supremacy by King Harshavardhana, the region was once again divided into several local powers headed by chieftains, including some Rajput principalities, these principalities were later conquered by Maratha Empire and Sikh Empire.The name Kullu derives from the word "Kulant Peeth", meaning "end of the habitable world". As per legends, during the Great Flood, Manu visited this valley but was unable to cross the Rohtang pass. He named the last settlement he found as Kulant Peeth and chose to settle and meditate in what has now become the town of Manali (Manu's Place). The name further devolved into "Kulut", as the kingdom was known for a long time; before finally being known by the current name of Kullu or Kulu. The Buddhist pilgrim monk Xuanzang visited the Kullu Valley in 634 or 635 CE. He described it as a fertile region completely surrounded by mountains, about 3,000 li in circuit, with a capital 14 or 15 li in circumference. It contained a Stupa built by Mauryan Emperor Ashoka, which is said to mark the place where the Buddha preached to the local people and made conversions, Stupa was taken away by a Mughal ruler and put in Feroz shah Kotla maidan in Delhi. There were some twenty Buddhist monasteries, with about 1,000 monks, most of whom were Mahayanist. There were also some fifteen Hindu temples, and people of both faiths lived mixed together. There were meditation caves near the mountain passes inhabited by both Buddhist and Hindu practitioners. The country is said to have produced gold, silver, red copper, crystal lenses and bell-metal.Kullu got its first motorable access only after Indian Independence. The long centuries of seclusion have, however, allowed the area to retain a considerable measure of its traditional charm. The road through the Kullu Valley and Lahaul is now paved all the way, to connect and provide the major access route between the northern Indian plains to Leh in Ladakh.