Author: Kulwant Singh

Chronicles of Governance: Kullu’s Administrative Symphony through the Ages

The pre-colonial administration of Kulu was broken up into provinces called waziris. A waziri was divided into ‘kothis’, each of which further had two to five subdivisions called ‘phatis’. And then depending on the population density, each ‘phati’ had up to twenty separate villages within it.

Basheshar Mahadev Temple, Bajaura (Kullu)

Basheshar Mahadev temple was built in the ninth century A.D., under the patronage of the Gurjara-Pratiharas. Probably Nagabhatta II or Bhoja was its builder. Likely, after the fall of Yasovarman’s house the last artists of his court seem to have found employment with those Pratiharas with whom a new phase of medieval art sets in Northern India and certainly the Bāsheśar Mahādeva temple is one of its most impressive proof.

Sculpture of Ganga from Jagatsukh, Kulu

Jagatsukh, historically called Nast, was the original capital of Kulu principality whence it was shifted to Naggar around 8th century[²] and thence to Sultanpur in the 17th century. Here the wooden temple of Sandhya Devi was constructed in 1428 by Raja Udham Pal,[³] which is elaborated by inscriptions. Scholars opine that there is a strong possibility of this temple (renovated in the 19th century) being constructed on the foundations of an ancient temple as evidenced from the lower third part of the temple which has exquisite carvings much earlier than the fifteenth century.

The Cleveland Surya & Its Kulu Connection

The late Dr. Vishwa Chandra Ohri¹ remarked that the image’s characteristics and several other details deviate from Kashmiri craftsmanship. He compared the image’s facial sculpting to that of the wooden Surya of Gajan (Kulu), and its crown to that of the Surya image from Bajaura (Kulu).

कुल्लू व सराज के ‘ठाकुर’ और ‘राणा’ (1907-10)

पारशा ठाकुरों के पुरखे कांगड़ा से आए थे। उन्हें सुकेत के राजा ने ‘रूपी’ का वज़ीर नियुक्त किया था, जब रूपी सुकेत के अधीन थी। पारशा व कोट चुनेर के ठाकुरों को हौवेल ने ‘एक’ कहा है।

The Jagir of Laug [Lag Valley]

Jog Chand was under Mughal protection. Knowing about the annexation of Laug after his death, Dara Shikoh, in a farman dated AD 1657, ordered Jagat Singh to liberate the grandson and restore his rights, or suffer dire repercussions. Jagat Singh presumably ignored the warning because he was aware of the Mughal prince’s looming succession battles with his brother Aurangzeb.

Kooloo Valley Tea Company

Kulu tea is said to possess excellent taste and aroma. Its fame went as far as London. The tea of Kulu was sold to private enterprises and some was also exported to England, but most of it went to the British military cantonments established throughout India. The ‘Kulu Valley Tea Company’ received the first prizes for “the best specimen of first class tea, grown and manufactured in the Panjab” and “the best specimen of black tea grown in India” at the 1864 Lahore Exhibition.

Birth of Kullu’s Fruit Industry

The fruit parcels were first off transported, by a relay system of harkaras or mail-runners, to Palampur via Bhubhu Pass, and thence by dak-tonga to Shimla via Pathankot. After the commencement of Shimla Railway in 1903, the fruits were transported from Pathankot to Shimla via rail.

Kahika | A Himalayan Festival of Purification

The term chidrā, used for the purification ritual in Kayika, finds its possible origin in the OIA chidra, meaning ‘hole’ or ‛weak point’ as a noun and ‘perforated’ or ‘torn asunder’ as an adjective. The exact meaning of chidrā, however, varies depending on the context in which it is employed: ‘release’ from transgression (pāp), ritual or social, ‘removal’ of evil power of deity (dosh-khot), ‘cutting’ of spells and bad omens (kari-shrapni), and so on.

Deuli Institution of Kulu | A Brief Introduction

The origin behind the worship of these village deities is lost in time. Oral religious traditions (such as bhārthā or ganāi, lit. news) and folklore connected with them gives a rough idea of how things may have been, but proper research is lacking in this regard. Many of the deities are nowadays associated with gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon. It is obvious that Hinduism must have arrived in Kulu in the distant past and Buddhism flourished here as well. However, the religion at present of the Kulu people living in its villages, termed as Hinduism, in actuality is an amalgamation of different religious ideas and customs having the aboriginal nature worship at its core.

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