Jun 5, 2012

Yatra- Kullu, The valley of Gods

Kullu in Himachal Pradesh, popularly known as Valley of Gods, is a beautiful open valley created by River Bias. Surrounded by the great Himalayan heights Kullu lies on the banks of River Beas. Visiting Kullu is not only for pilgrimage but also for some adventure! River Beas is very popular for white water rafting. Well then ... time to get on a raft! whoo hooo!

It was a cloudy day, cold weather, ice cold water and the considerably rough river. All the way 15 miles in the water ... hooo hoooing, got drenched! After all the fun I learned that there is no changing room! I went all the way to Mahadevi Teerth in dripping clothes and changed in a Sulabh toilet! Well, that was another adventure!

Mahadevi Theerth Temple is popularly known as Vaishno Devi of Kullu. It is not an ancient temple like others in Kullu valley but, is very popular and beautiful. The temple is built with marble and intricately carved wood. The temple has images of Durga, Kali, Lakshmi and Shiva in different floors. One has to climb marble stairs to reach each floor. Watch your step smooth marble is dangerous! The Golden image of Durga here is one of the most beautiful images of the Goddess I have ever seen! Photography is strictly prohibited here.
I visited few more devi-devta temples before leaving to Bijli Mahadev which was in my must-do list. Bijli Mahadev is one of the sacred temples of Himachal Pradesh. Located at the height about 8,000ft on Mathan Hill 11KM east of Kullu, it provides great panoramic views of Kullu and Parvati valleys. There is a tall staff which attracts lightning.

Legend says that this staff attracts blessings from heaven! And every lightening that is attracted shatters the Shivlinga installed in the shrine. The priest then fixes it using butter and flour. The temple is popular for its unique Kash style architecture, I do not have much idea about this style though :(
The car reaches up till a village from where one has to hike uphill about 4KM to reach the temple. Climbing the stairs in the high altitude is little difficult on lungs but it is very much doable. Locals climb it up as if it is a routine! I climbed up with no lunch that day and no water. After reaching the top, it is time to realize that the temple is one of its kind. The temple is simple and stands on an elevated platform. A chillum smoking pundit greeted me in local language. Soon a European group of tourists arrived. They looked like spiritual-study group.

Then I left the temple to enjoy the views of the valleys around and what I saw was fantastic! The snaking rivers and the lights of Dussehra festival were seen from here.
It was almost sunset time and witnessed a very colorful sunset before trekking down to the parking. Coming down was an easy job as usual. I met a local family on the way down. They were wondering why was I at Bijli Mahadev instead of enjoying Manali town. It was extremely cold in the evening. I reached the parking before my hands and nose tip froze. 

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