Category: History

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.

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.

Historical Documents of Kulu

The inscriptions, hitherto discovered, which throw considerable light on the history of the valley, may now be briefly noticed. The foremost of these is the legend on the coin of a Kuluta king Virayaśa, which reads rajna Kolutasya Viryaśasya.[22] As has been pointed out by Professor Rapson, it can be ascribed on palaeographical grounds to the first or second century A.D.

Malana and the Akbar-Jamlu Legend

I do not know if any one has suggested that this language was the original tongue of the Kanet race, or of the indigenous stock from which they were at least partly sprung. But it seems a plausible theory that all the Kanets of Lahul, of Kulu and of Kanawar, which is called Kuno (the same word as Kulu) by the Tibetans to this day, once spoke a common original language, one branch of which is still called Kanashi or Kanaishi.

The 11th century brass bust of Shujuni Devi, Nirmand

Devi Shujuni’s famed metal bust was first noticed and photographed in 1919 at the Bhunda of Nirmand. The Assistant Commissioner of Kulu, H. L. H. Shuttleworth, was able to notice this artefact due to some ‘fortunate’ circumstances. On this occasion, the bust was one of the treasures brought out of the bhandar (temple storeroom).

A Note on Ancient Trade Routes in Kulu

The people acknowledged many masters—Aryan and Mongolian; but thru it all Indian markets have always demanded salt and wool and borax—to say nothing of the more precious merchandise of Central Asia—and while armies marched and fought, the hungry Tibetans would still risk much to get the wheat of the plains and the incomparable barley of Lahul. The trade therefore went on. It was quite by chance that I discovered the ancient trade route.

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.

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