Raksasa Lore in the Kulu Valley
Rākśasa Lore in the Kulu Valley
by Gabriele Jettmar-Thakur
As appeared in ‘Eastern Approaches: Essays on Asian Art and Archaeology’, edited by T. S. Maxwell. Delhi, 1992.
The Western Himalaya is believed to be infested with evil spirits who constantly interfere with gods and men. The ancient Kulu state, situated on the banks of the river Beas, houses some 360 deities and is called ‘The Valley of the Gods’. There are probably as many demons or Rākśasas. It became, in effect, their battlefield. The sage Parāśara, patron of the royal house of Mandi (south of Kulu), proposed to burn the Rākśasa brood in his sacrificial fire. Dissuaded from doing so by Ṛṣi Vaśiṣṭha, he scattered the embers, which still caused the death of many demons. The enemy could only be extinguished in single combat; almost any place of worship in the region has an individual saga recounting how the original owners were ousted. In Lahul and Spiti to the north, Hindu and Buddhist Devatās took over.
But awareness of creatures of the dark lingers on. Some Rākśasas even raised their status and joined the Hindu pantheon, be it by marriage to, or identification with, a god (for example Hiṛimbā or Nār Singh). Rākśasas originate from different sources. In the Epic period, they portray tribal gods and chieftains in conflict with conquering Aryan heroes (for example, Tandi Raksh or Ṭuṇḍī Rāks). Turned into images of bloodsucking vampires, they try to defile religious acts by blaspheming and to inflict atrocities on mankind. During the Puranic age, malevolent giants and dwarves, the followers of Śiva, appeared. We can also identify Devatās of a lower order, who become Rākśasas because they did not receive the offerings due to them. Most feared, however, is a different breed of demons: evil spirits of human origin, which Monier-Williams has classified as bhūtas, pretas and piśāchas. These were people who died a violent death, crippled persons, prematurely deceased children, as well as devils created by vicious living persons or incompetents dabbling in witchcraft (ḍaiṇ). Any incomplete or unfulfilled existence is believed to create a Rākśasa, the most terrifying ones being women who died in child-birth (chuṛel).
Rākśasas do not constitute a homogeneous group and it is hard to differentiate between their ranks. They cannot be defined by appearance either, since they are able to assume any form at will. In general, they are believed to be sharp-toothed and long-tongued, with fiery eyes and big claws. They may be either male or female. We also know that they might appear as very handsome men. Nār Singh, for instance, is an elegant white-clad horseman, on his secret quest to seduce married women. The females take the shape of flirtatious village beauties. Their long, free-flowing hair symbolises danger to the village, the clan, and most of all, to the sexual partner. The chuṛel can be detected by watching her feet, which are turned backwards. Animals such as dogs and horses easily sniff out demons and react to them with fear. All these creatures move at night as well as in the daytime, but they reach their maximum strength after midnight. They have a special relationship to gold, and they abhor iron. If they cannot devour human beings, for whose intestines they have a predilection, they may eat any dead flesh, and even faeces. If someone carries meat and alcoholic drinks at night, they smell it and follow him into the party. Enormous amounts of liquor flow at Rākśasa orgies, and all of them enjoy dancing and merrymaking. Since they have been ousted from their habitat by gods, they dwell outside the precincts of the temple, or haunt cremation grounds, riverbeds and crossroads. As to their mortality, there seems to be a definite difference between the ancient ‘epic’ characters, who are virtually indestructible, and dissatisfied ancestors. Rākśasas can be overpowered, captured, and seriously injured by either a god or a knowledgeable person (especially a paṇḍit), but only evil spirits of human origin can be extinguished.
In the following text, I shall list a number of encounters between Rākśasas, gods and men, and document some ancient, as well as contemporary, incidents in the upper Beas valley.
Devatās of Rākśasa Origin
A few of the Kulu Rākśasas have entered the Hindu pantheon, and are worshipped at proper temples. The story of the goddess Hiṛimbā is told in the Mahābhārata and in the Kulu Vamśāvalī. One of her brothers is identified with a Vedic sage, another personifies a mountain in Lahul. All of them are valiant enemies of other Rākśasas, and are ready to interfere with them on behalf of men. (However, Nār Singh is a different case and does not belong to the same social context; he, too, has connections to the Kulu royal house, and specializes in counteracting witchcraft.) Hiṛimbā Devi attained the rank of the great Mother-goddess, and is addressed as Durgā Mātā, Mahādevī, Kālī, Bhagavatī, and Bhimākālī. As suggested by the latter name, she became the mate of the Pāṇḍava Bhīma. Their son, Rākśasa Ghaṭotkaca, died in the Mahābhārata war, fighting heroically at his father’s side. Hiṛimbā was the sister of a Rākśasa prince, Hiṛimva/Tāndī Rāksh, dwelling in the Kulūta forests. He scented the approach of human prey and told his sister to kill them for food. Instead, the princess fell in love with one of her victims, Bhīma. She changed herself into the most seductive beauty and went to alert him.
Tāndī Rāksh caught his sister in this compromising situation and tried to attack her, as well as the Pāṇḍava family. Bhīma crushed his bones in the fight and ‘killed’ him. (Though we know from the Manali oral tradition that Tāndī Rāksh is still very much alive, though a cripple; see below.) After this Bhīma even considered destroying Hiṛimbā, being an avowed vanquisher of Rākśasas. Instead, it came to the inevitable happy ending, and the couple entered into a ‘Rākśasa marriage’. This term indicates marriage by capture or elimination of the bride’s male relatives, as common with many ancient peoples, including the Indo-Aryans. Unions of this order are not sacramental, so no steady domestic relationship was expected, but a short, ecstatic encounter to beget a son.
In this shamanistic context, this union of Bhīma and Hiṛimbā signifies the union of the ‘lady of the land and waters’ with the hero, to guarantee fertility and wealth to the people. The honeymoon had to be interrupted at dawn, and Bhīma safely reinstalled with his brothers, since his lovely bride might have strangled him at night.
The first mythic dynasty of Kulu, however, did not start with the son Ghaṭotkaca (born as a giant bald warrior), since he died in the great battle. Instead, his cousin, daughter of Tāndī, was married with Vidura, a Pāṇḍava relative. (The Rākśasa tribe kept to a matrilineal system of inheritance, the custom being practised upto very recent times, and probably still, in Lahul.) As mentioned by the Vamśāvalī, Hiṛimbā appeared later to select a new Rājā when the old dynasty died out. The investment of the first Pāl Rājā, as well as the first Singh Rājā, a thousand years apart, are attributed to a frail old lady: she transforms herself into a giantess to proclaim her power.
Typical of her Rākśasa ancestry, Hiṛimbā does not keep a constant form—she is imagined as a bride, dressed in red and loaded with jewellery (as her main mask on the Ḍhuṅgrī rath depicts her), or as an old hag dragging a basket (kilṭā). At all her centres of worship, in the Upper Ravi, Beas and Sutlej valleys, human sacrifices were demanded. Nowadays, she receives buffaloes and the ritual slaughter of seven different animals, plus countless sheep (which are destined, in fact, for the cooking pots of the festival committee).
Pars Rām of Nirmand is Paraśurāma, who committed matricide out of filial piety for his father, the sage Jamadagni. He is Hiṛimbā’s nephew, because the Ṛṣi is identified with her brother Jamlu Pati. The angry Ṛṣi and the mountain god worshipped at Malana are well matched in their sinister tempers. Jamlu’s appearance, horse-headed and believed to be a cannibal, confirms Rākśasa ancestry. Father and son are known for eliminating demons and Kṣatriyas as well. Jamlu is ostracised by the other gods of the valley.
Another brother is Rājā Gephan, the Lahuli mountain god. Hiṛimbā hates him bitterly, because he ousted her from the Lahul region. Bringing him to Ḍhuṅgrī makes her cry—a sure way to make it rain! If speculation on the historical background of Hiṛimbā’s family affairs is permitted, all these characters seem to be archaic chieftains portrayed as gods, demons, and heroes.
Hiṛimbā is worshipped at different places, with more or less elaborate shrines dedicated to her aspect of Durgā Mātā. Her earliest cultic centres, though, are caves, where the Rākśasī is manifested by darkness, cold and emptiness. Her son, Ghaṭotkaca, prefers stone and tree sanctuaries, with votive objects of iron nailed to the wood. Both ride on raths (palanquins), decorated with standardized metal busts and masks (mohrās). Brother Jamlu refused portrayal, and is represented by silver standards only. Rājā Gephan is symbolised by a tree trunk felled in his brother Jamlu’s realm at Malana and carried to Lahul in procession. It seems that all of them are averse to portrayal in the form of traditional images.
Nār Singh, in contrast, is a Rākśasa with no trace of biography in historical context. He dwells at tree sanctuaries similar to those of Ghaṭotkaca. They have iron objects fixed to the trunk-nails, pots, locks, chains, and so forth. These are explained to be votive offerings to invoke his power against the ḍaiṇs (witches), as well as to keep him from wandering.
However, Nār Singh also has proper shrines with idols—the one at Naggar Castle, for instance, showing him identified with Narasimha, the avatāra of Viṣṇu. These temples are built at royal residences only, like Jagatsukh and Kulu-Sultanpur. The former Rājā’s family keeps a horse for his personal use, which follows the cortège of the Rājā when proceeding to the Dussehra grounds to escort Ragunāth/Rāma. Nār Singh is described as a tall, slim handsome man in spotless white clothes, noiselessly riding at night. In his Narasimha aspect, he is known to be very particular about cleanliness, and likes fresh flowers around his places of worship. He persecutes the witches—who are believed to have illicit relations with other Rākśasas—and effectively counteracts their spells and evil eye. His main aspect, though, is evil—he is believed to be the most terrible and interfering demon of of the valley. As his name suggests (nār = woman), he attacks and ravishes women. Wherever he spots a female sleeping alone, he approaches her as an incubus. In the morning, she finds herself naked, raped and bruised. If a husband has the bad fortune to arrive home during Nār Singh’s visit, the demon lover kicks him down from the balcony (old Kulu village houses are multi-storeyed, with a veranda around the top floor)! Soon, neighbours will notice the elegant, white-clad man as a regular guest at the house. Wherever he has cast his shadow, the wife is lost; he abhors children, so she will refuse any further intercourse with her husband. Nār Singh has been blamed for almost any marital disturbance in the valley, and for the abnormally high divorce rate of the elder generation, as well as for the ‘unpredictable behaviour’ of Pahāṛī women in general.
Devatās and Rākśasas
One of the main duties of the Himalayan gods has been to ‘cleanse’ the region of evil and make it inhabitable for human beings. Invoked by the villagers, the Devatās either vanquished the enemy in battles or instructed people how to get rid of them. Certain gods are considered more effective than others: the 18 nags, Ṣrṅgā Ṛṣi of Banjar, Pars Rām of Nirmand and his father Jamlu Pati of Malana, Bhagavati Devi (as an aspect of Hiṛimbā), who is worshipped at many places on the left bank of the Beas, and the Ṛṣi Manu. Even ‘dead’ Rākśasas regularly turn up at their original habitats. Hiṛimbā’s brother Tāndī, ‘the one with the broken arms’, though reported killed by her lover Bhīma, returns every winter to the Manali phāgḷī. Known for his enormous appetite, he relished the smell of roasting flesh from the funeral pyres. So he caused people to die almost daily. Manu Ṛṣi, when asked for help, playfully advised the singeing of men’s hair on their heads during the phāgḷī, and with this Tāndī’s sense of smell was satisfied. Tāndī appears at further villages, and remains benevolent if worshipped before all other gods. He is served with water and flour (buṅgṛī).
At Haripur, he insisted on breaking the roof beams of all new houses, until he was given two servings of buṅgṛī, kuṅgū (red colour), and flowers. At his tree sanctuary there he demands a sheep at New Year (nayā-samvat), to entertain Nilāsuri Bhagavati Devi—probably his sister, Hiṛimbā.
In Aleo, the spring festival is celebrated with ‘naṅgā nozṇa’—the naked dance of the gods, impersonated by handsome young men. To call the celestials, the shaman (gūr) invokes them, but becomes viciously possessed by Tāndī Rāksh instead. The gur squirms convulsively until, with the help of music and masked dancers, Tāndī is expelled. Only after this painful process can the gods arrive. The Rākśasa rests for the remainder of the year. The Timbriśāckī, a female demon, haunts many villages, and deserves special observance. She also enters the gūr during his trance at the phāgḷī and tries to speak through his mouth. The wise Ṛṣi Vaśiṣṭha grants her a few seconds to have her say at the Baiśākh festival, then she is removed.
At Jana village near Raison, a gūr enacts the fight between gods and Rākśasas. While standing on a boundary fence demarcating their realms, he is possessed by evil spirits who try to drag him to their side. If he succeeds in jumping, it means death to many villagers. Five or six men hold him down, though he seems to possess enormous strength. As soon as he gives in to his helpers, the Rākśasas are pacified with the liver ripped from a live male goat. In other cases, Rākśasas are pressed into service by Devatās and join their courts. Together with minor deities of excitable character—bīrs, jogṇīs, rakhwālas and others—they receive their share of blood offerings during the festivals (even if the presiding Devatā is strictly vegetarian, like Vaśiṣṭha).
Bīrs are vegetation and clan gods, and jogṇīs are pretty fairies guarding springs and trees. The rakhwālas (protectors) are in charge of forest (dāṇī) and village (thān), and all have small shrines and tree sanctuaries. If forgotten, they become Rākśasas, violent and mischievous. The aggression of the jogṇīs is such that the children’s hair-cutting ceremonies in their honour are more important than those performed for proper village gods. Rākśasas attached to a Devatā dwell in the vicinities of temples, and even have tiny shrines, like Manārlu (servicing Shashni Nag at Nirmand). In the same location, the rath of Badārlu Devata is watched by a group of demons. To avoid a clash of powers, they have agreed on separate timings for excursions. Nirmand is the very place where Pars Rām practised austerities to oust a gang of Rākśasas. The bhuṇḍā ceremony (originally a specific human sacrifice) completed this act. The ritual was in honour of a goddess belonging to the Hiṛimbā-Bhagavati group, Ambikā.
The village Banara was in the charge of gentle Sandhyā Gayatri, the goddess of dawn (Arundhati, the first woman who had only one husband, in an earlier birth). She was not able to cope with a resident Rākśasa who daily demanded a villager for his food. Śirgaṇ Nāg, from Jagatsukh, was called to the rescue. He exchanged residences with the goddess and successfully cut the demon’s menu down to an annual sheep sacrifice. Though the old lords have ‘gone underground’, they still express great interest in whatever happens at their old habitats, now centres of worship. Masons, carpenters and silversmiths working in the temple compound are their favourite victims. To avoid Rākśasa attacks, they have to take daily baths and fast (meaning to subsist on one daily meal restricted to selected ingredients), until the work is done. To prevent any presence following these men into their homes, an animal has to be slaughtered across the doorstep to appease the demon. Exorcism rites are conducted frequently by gūr, who diagnose either offence caused to a god, or the interference of a Rākśasa. The cost to the victim can vary from a simple sheep-offering to the full repair of a shrine, as happened in 1963 to Ranu Ram Shikhari who had annoyed Hiṛimbā Devi.
Recent Rākśasa Encounters
Most of the demons that terrify villagers nowadays belong to the giant or dwarf breed, or are identified as evil spirits of human origin. A typical incident, said to have happened a hundred years ago, is the Domu Karyani (‘Making a Major Festival’) of Halan village. On his way home one night, carrying his tools, a man walked into a group of Rākśasas dancing around the Shogi Shāṛ (cremation ground). They invited him to join in, so he swung his iron axe in the same way that they flashed their golden swords (talwars). The demons grew taller and taller, rising up to kill him, but were repulsed by his iron kulhāṛī. Shrinking again, they offered him a golden weapon, which he accepted and then carried away with him. But he did not let go of his axe. In frustration, the demons followed him along the path, constantly enquiring from him why he preferred iron to gold.
Branu Pateh near Karjan was the playground of a gang of demons who liked to chase people round trees. To oust them, the whole forest was felled. But people still complain about attacks; for instance, a boy related that an evil presence grabbed the back wheel of his bicycle; suddenly released, he went head over heels into the next field. A chuṛel also haunts the place. In 1980, four giant snakes were seen there, towering like deodars above the ground. A similar story was told in the late 1960s about Ḍhuṅgrī, describing Hiṛimbā as a giant green snake dancing between the cedars. At Shogi Shāṛ, where the Rākśasas had danced, a girl witnessed a fake funeral ceremony with a dressed-up demon as recently as 1984.
One Rākśasa at Chijoga village demanded to be served with a puja even before the local god, Shrishṭī Naraiṇ. Once when the officiating Brāhman forgot about him, he climbed on to his roof and let his arms and head dangle over the veranda, frightening the people inside.
Near Ramin village, a Brāhman instructed his family to keep very quiet at night and to close all doors and windows. He had overlooked the fact that his deaf and dumb sister was sleeping outside on the veranda, and the poor girl made some noise which attracted a night-walking Rākśasa. In the morning the paṇḍit found that she had been eaten. He pursued the murderer and forced him to surrender the girl’s heart and liver for a funeral ceremony: both had turned into gold.
At Rangri, Rākśasas demanded a specific male child, terrorising the whole village with noise at night. The kanūn-go (revenue officer) invited them to attend a feast, and started a huge fire beside the temple. When the Rākśasa guests arrived, he offered them a large sheep. Then they descended on the boy and beat him with red-hot fire tongs (the common ritual for a gūr), but his skin showed no injuries. Satisfied, the demons left and promised not to return.
At Malogi village, one man fights his personal enemy, a small black furry Rākśasa, on the first Saturday of every month. In his dream, the demon drags him out of his wife’s bed and they wrestle for hours, until the man succeeds in kicking him into the nullā (mountain gulley). The next morning he always finds his hands and face covered with scratches. The explanation for the attack is that this particular man had worked with a Brāhman before and used mantras (sidhi) that he was not supposed to know. Paṇḍits stand a fair chance against Rākśasas if they know their profession well. One of the Vasishat Acharya brothers remembers his father telling him about many encounters, especially on paths near the river. Nowadays there seem to be fewer of them.
Santa Brāhman, long ago, used to visit a horde of demons living in the Jawali nullā. He regularly smoked the hookah with them, discussing esoteric topics, but never took their food. Once, when his son came there in search of him, the boy was instantly gobbled up. His father succeeded in getting his bones back, and resurrected him through a pūjā. The Jawali mela is celebrated in memory of this incident.
In the Dhuangan nullā at Jagatsukh, the Rākśasas were having a party, inside a cave. They found it incomplete without an auspicious ceremony, and went in search of a Brāhman. They caught Seena of the Majrain family while crossing the bridge, and dragged him through the waterfalls into the cave. When the shivering priest had performed, they stuffed his bag with buffalo meat and let him go. Disgusted, he emptied it out near the bridge, but overlooked the tongue. As might be expected, this one piece had turned into pure gold when he reached home, but the rest of the treasure was lost. Brāhman families are said to have kept evil spirits as slaves, using their enormous muscle power. Sandal Rāksh of Halan was caught and put to work overnight; in the morning it was found that he had planted a tree upside down, as well as the rice seedlings. (The tree stands, the roots dangling in the air.) The poor demon was forced to repair the damage and proceed to other jobs, but obtained his freedom when he was given his food: an old lady, not knowing that he was forbidden to eat ghee, served him liberally with it. He escaped instantly.
A similar story is known from the Pateshri Paṇḍit clan of Jagatsukh, who kept another giant for menial work. In his first ventures, he also planted seedlings upside down, and caused damage to the terraced fields. He was also freed from slavery by eating ghee. His enormous appetite is well remembered; he stole sheep whenever his evening food was not sufficient to satisfy his hunger. As mentioned above, iron objects work well against Rākśasa attacks. Nowadays it is recommended to carry a pocket knife. A few years ago, Manu Bashera of Manali gaon was walking home from the Mission Hospital, in the evening. While crossing Manalsu nullā, enormous white arms with brown hands reached up to seize him. Manu ran for his life and reached the Ḍhuṅgrī forest, screaming to Hirimba Devi for protection. He made his last stand at the Hiṛimbā-ri-zul (the cave inside her shrine), swinging his pocket knife. When the aggressor (possibly Nār Singh, because of his white colour) receded, Manu crawled back to the hospital and took ill for the next fourteen days. (The frequent mention of the Mission in this account is to prove that Manu was sober that evening.) Another year, Manu had a severe accident in the same spot, nearly losing his ear in a fall (but that time he was drunk, returning from the mela.)
One of the Koshla Thakurs remembers fighting off a Rākśasa below the Vaśiṣṭh Rock when coming home from a party. He, too, flashed his knife, but lost it, and could not find it when he searched the place the following day. His father, Thakardass, met a bhūt (evil spirit) near Mor Bashan, the place where Vaśiṣṭh funeral processions rest on the way to the riverside. He was returning from a party, carrying a precious bottle of imported whisky. He sacrificed it to use as a missile, a loss bitterly deplored by all his male relatives.
The gogṛā is a bogeyman—a Rākśasa to frighten small children. Much more dangerous are the encounters with the female evil spirits, rākśasī and chuṛel, and with living witches (ḍaiṇ). From Lahuli folktales, it may be assumed that even jogṇīs look and act in a similar way.
A ḍaiṇ is a witch practising black magic, a hobby which is acquired after intercourse with a demon. In general, village midwives and their offspring are suspect, as is any woman using mantras when not authorized to do so by a paṇḍit. If any of her spells fail, the ḍaiṇ will suffer a macabre death and turn into an evil spirit herself. It is believed that personal unhappiness is the inevitable price paid by the uninitiated dabbling in witchcraft.
The Zoiru Raksh is said to have raised a circle of ḍaiṇs who worship him as a Devatā. If they do not use the prescribed mantras in the right way, he devours them.
Rākśasīs are believed to act similarly to Hiṛimbā, and are capable of feeling deep passions for ordinary men. In the story of the Mulkila Rākśasī from Lahaul, such a lady married a Thakur, and lived quite happily with him for a while. He, like Bhīma in similar circumstances, was not allowed to visit her after midnight. At that time she was out devouring other people’s sheep and sexually abusing his young son. She was killed by his daughter and son-in-law, who destroyed a white snake which was her soul. Her husband, the Thakur, died, heartbroken.
The most terrible apparition is the chuṛel, mentioned above, women who died in childbed. Their children (and any minors who are buried, not cremated), become giṭurāksh, dancing lights in the forest, who do no damage. The chuṛel are most beautiful young women, dressed in bridal finery and jewels, but with their feet turned backwards and, in some traditions only, with hollow backs. They operate singly, not in gangs like the males or in pairs like the girlish, giggling jogṇīs. Their victims are dragged into the bushes and rocks and often die, emaciated from sexual excess.
At Halan, around 150 years ago, two brothers walked through the forest. One was abducted, while the other escaped. The body was never found, though the man was believed dead. During the ceremony of chavarka held four years after his death, he suddenly returned, having suffered brain damage. He was unable to recount his experiences. For the rest of his life, he had the feeling that he was never alone, always sensing the presence of his seductress.
The Dhobi chuṛel was described as being a beautiful, bluish-coloured girl, with sparkling teeth. She follows probable victims along lonely paths. In 1983, a chuṛel was seen boarding the Banjar bus at Bali Chauki and demanding a ticket. The conductor lost his voice, but the driver pulled on the brake and she jumped off the vehicle. After that, by popular demand, the time schedule of the bus services was changed.
At Shogi Shāṛ—the ill-reputed place mentioned above—a beautiful woman started playing with somebody’s little boy, and suddenly vanished. The child took ill and died soon thereafter.
At Shirar Village, a chuṛel became the proper wife of a Rajput. Though she abducted him, she was overpowered by his love-making, and he brought her home as a bride. All her life, her hair had to remain covered, hidden even from her close family.
The chuṛel spirit, in fact, can be ‘laid’, like a Vampire. W. Crooke mentions that this type of corpse has to be cut open to remove the foetus. To my knowledge, nowadays a specific pūjā is sufficient. Before taking the ashes of the woman to the Ganga, the paṇḍits of Pheowa have to deal with the case. A similar ritual is conducted whenever the body of a person cannot be obtained for proper funeral rites. The procedure dates back to what happened when the Pāṇḍavas died, vanishing without leaving a trace on earth: a clay model of the deceased is made, containing a small amount of silver or gold, and burnt at the sacred tank. Its ashes are taken to Haridwar for further last rites.
 Thomas 1975: 32 f.
 Gill 1977: 4.
 See: Hidimva-vadha-parvan in P. C. Roy, The Mahabharata of Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa, Vol. 1, Adiparvan. Calcutta; Hutchison and Vogel 1916: 413 ff; Jettmar-Thakur 1984.
 Thomas 1964: 15.
 Chetwode 1984.
 Similar to the Greek fauni, ‘qui penetrant domos’; Duerr: 82, 271 f.
 Jettmar-Thakur 1983: 25 ff.
 Jettmar 1974: 23 f.
 Chetwode 1984. The outcry in the Indian press about ‘human sacrifices’ in Himachal in 1983 was enormous.
 Gill 1977: 35.
 This idea is almost identical to the European concept of witchcraft.
 Gill 1977: 1 ff.
 Crooke 1896: 194.
Chetwode, P. (1984). ‘Bhunda—An Account of the Western Himalayan Bhunda Ritual in the Sutlej Valley’. SARAS special Pre-publication Extract. Reading.
Crooke, W. (1896). Religion and Folklore of Northern India. London. 1926 edition.
Gill, M. S. (1977). Folk Tales of Lahaul. Delhi.
Hutchinson, J. & Vogel, J. Ph. (1933). History of the Punjab Hill States, 2 Vols. Lahore.
Jettmar, G. (1974). Die Holztempel des Oberen Kulutales. Wiesbaden.
Jettmar-Thakur, G. (1983). ‘The Kulu Rsi Cult. Notes on the Position of Vedic Sages as Village Gods in the Himalayas’. SARAS Bulletin 3. Reading.
———— (1984). ‘Hirimba Devi’. SARAS Special Pre-publication Extract. Reading.
Thomas, P. (1964). Indian Women through the Ages. London
———— (1975). Hindu Religion, Customs and Manners. Bombay.