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Kullu, the valley of Gods...

A wandering soul searching for a nest can get numerous excuses to surely settle in Kullu, Valley of Gods.
Stunning landscapes coupled with hospitality of people, their distinct lifestyle and rich culture have made Kullu valleys popular as “Valley of Gods”. Kullu is renowned around the world for the woollen Shawls and the Dussehra festival. However to explore it also has some amazing spots, which despite the popularity of Kullu are surprisingly not so known. When coming from Shimla, spending one day to explore Kullu Valleys shall be a great choice before proceeding to Manali...
Nearest to Kullu is Bijlee Mahadev temple, which is approx. 25 km. from Kullu town by road. Cherish the beautiful Beas river while crossing over the Kullu Bridge on the way to Bijlee Mahadev. You may park your car at a side and click the fabulous bridge and pleasing landscapes...

Once the motorable road ends at Chansari Village; rest of the way, a challenging trek of 2 km. has to be covered solely by your spirits. That’s all what separates you from the blessings of Lord Shiva at Bijlee Mahadev temple.

You have to be in good shape for this trek. The trek is too steep and will take around 60-75 minutes. The bigger the obstructions in my way the higher is the glory in overcoming it. Barely breathing at times, my limits of fitness were being tested at every step in this trek. You might find one or two visitors or trekkers, if you are lucky.
Though creeping at times and stopping quiet often; nonetheless the trek is a beautiful walk in the woods. Trek video...



According to legend this is the place, Mathana where Lord Shiva killed the dreaded demon Jalandhar. As this is the highest point in the region; it had to bear the fury of lightening falling from the skies. As a result inhabited villages were being damaged frequently due the constant lightings from the skies.
In order to tame this wild nature, a temple was erected as per the mandate from Lord Shiva in order to protect the nearby regions from frequent lightings from the sky.
When the limits to human capability are exposed and if you have faith in the all mighty, heavens will definitely come to rescue. It is believed that after erection of this temple lightings have stopped. In fact Lord Shiva has been absorbing the lightings onto him, thereby saving the nearby inhabitations from the wild fury of nature, that’s why the name “Bijlee Mahadev” (Bijlee is known as Electricity in english language).
Trek hard pray harder, it was the time to thank the all mighty for his benevolence that I was able to experience this marvellous spot. Rightly said things which are closer to nature are always good for health. Sprawling lawn and view from the top will make this trek worthwhile.


It is believed that Lord Shiva has been residing here since times immemorial in form of this holy Shivling. Also worth mentioning is the story telling paintings of Gods & Goddesses. Every year lightning falls on the holy Shivling and damages it. Shivling is repaired and joined buy the priests of the temple every time.
A while coming down, enjoy mystic view of the Kullu valleys.
As good travellers never take rest, so the next spot in the itinerary to be discovered is Manikaran Sahib. The landscapes during the drive are so pleasant that you will always be in cheerful spirits during the journey.
In the way you will come across the way to Malana, 45 km. from Kullu town (left turn from Malana hydro power project). Trek to Malana is an expedition in itself where you have to touch down the depths of the mighty mountains to reach the Malana Village. At least 3 hours are required to enjoy the Malana trek. It is prohibited to touch the temples and structures. Main attraction in Malana is the distinct architecture of temples and houses.



After Malana continue towards Manikaran Sahib, in the way you will pass through Kasol. Kasol is a lively place where for enjoying water sports like rafting and bridge crossing. Lot of foreigners makes this place an exciting venue for various cuisines and shopping also.
From Kasol only 3.5 km. separates you from the picturesque Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara. Situated in a valley alongside the flowing river, the enchanting landscape makes this place a perfect blend of tourism and spirituality. Go inside the holy place, offer prayers and feel the quiet ambience.

24 hour free kitchen is run by the Gurudwara for the visitors. Adjoining to Gurudwara is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Kali. Temple premise include a natural hot water spring with abundant Sulphur, which is very beneficial for skin related diseases. People fill this holy water in plastic containers and take back to their homes. There is also a market on the other side of Gurudwara, you may buy some souvenirs or you can just stand at the cross over bridge and relish the beauty of this place.

Two days are required to relish these incredible spots in the Kullu Valleys; Day one for Bijlee Mahadev,  Dhakpo Shedrupling Monastery and local sightseeing in Kullu town. Malana, Kasol and Manikaran Sahib can be covered on second day of the itinerary.
Both of the treks to Bijlee Mahadev and Malana require one to be in good physical shape.
While In Kullu town, you can also see the shawl making process and buy some shawls, if you like.
After Kullu, going to Manli take the road to Naggar Castle. Around 10 km. from Kullu bus stand, located in Kais village is Dhakpo Shedrupling Monastery.

It was inaugurated by his holiness Dalai Lama in 2005. The monastery serves as a centre for the study of Buddhist philosophy...

This monastery houses several Tibetan monks. Apart from incredible architecture, the monastery offers picturesque view of the surrounding valleys.

Moving ahead on the road to Naggar (23 km. from Kullu) there are some beautiful temples at Naggar. First in the way Gauri Shanker temple...



500m. ahead is the Tripura Sundari temple...
About Kullu:
Situated along side Beas River, at a height of 1220 m. Kulu was once known as Kulanthapitha – end of the habitable world. Kullu got connected with motorable roads only after 1947. As a result of this long seclusion Kullu valleys still retain their traditional charm. You will get here an intricate web of valleys, each of which are a visual delight and look more beautiful than the other.
Kullu is at its colourful best during the acclaimed Dussehra festival. Around 4-5 lac people from all over the world come to Kullu to take part in this festival. Dussehra festival starts on Vijaya Dashmi and lass for a week.
To reach Kullu: By road, 530 km. from Delhi, and 240 km. from Shimla. HPTDC Luxury and Volvo coaches ply to Kullu daily from Delhi.

Keep travelling Guys to next destination, Manali and Rohtang Pass...




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Batesara Temples, Reviving a lost legacy...

In pursuit to unravel the unknown secrets of Chambal Ravines, this self proclaimed archaeologist decided to follow the tracks which were once the playgrounds of the dreaded dacoits of Chambal. These tracks bear the testimony of many battles between dacoits and police forces. With dacoits now a part of history, this new Chambal is a virgin kingdom with a red carpet for vagabonds like us.

From Gwalior, one hour of drive in the ravines took me to the slopes of an isolated range of hills near Padawali village; 1.2 km. ahead of Garhi Padhavali, 40km. from Gwalior and 25km. from Morena town in Morena district. Finally I was at the site of Batesara group of temples, perhaps the most prominent in the Chambal Ravines. There is some charm in the air of such places, that people get attracted to.

Flanked by hills and hidden from the outside world, far off in the Chambal Valleys a temple complex is coming back to life like a phoenix.

The ruins are slowly and steadily getting restored to their original glory with the dedicated efforts of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) since 2005. Some temples have been reconstructed by the ASI workers in its original form. The arrangement of the temples has been interpreted by means of data captured by high resolution, aerial photography of this place. Temples are arranged in one line and provide glimpses of the glory this place must have seen in the past...


More than 350 temples are estimated to have existed here. Around 200 temples have already been excavated and work is ongoing to bring out remaining 150 buried temples. When located these temples were only 2-3 ft. above the ground, on an average 5-6 ft. of ground has been dug out to realise the existence of temples. The aura of these legendary ruins has already surrounded us and we were automatically pulled inside the tempting premises.

The temples in Batesara complex are dedicated to Lord Shiva and there are also many images and statues dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temples are made of sandstone and are dated back to 6th –9th century, during the times of Gurjara-Pratihara Dynasty, much before (almost 300 years) Khajuraho temples were built. Check out Lord Shiva in form of a Shivling (शिवलिंग ) and Nandi Bull.






This cluster of temples is spread over 10 hectares in Chambal ravines. Some of the temples here have sanctum with flat roofs while other temples which probably are added later have finely carved curvilinear shikhara over the sanctoms.

Stone craft at its best, the temple ruins consist of well defined walk ways, steps to the temples, architectural members and exquisitely carved images of Gods and Goddesses. Anyone who wants to learn temple art should visit this place.

Colossal size welcome pillars, one of the pillars was found in 2 pieces and the other one was found in 3 pieces during excavation. Check the carving at the bottom.


Most prominent temple in this complex is Bhuteshwara Temple and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Such beautiful holy premises did come under attacked by the invaders.  It is said that Mughal invaders had turned blind when they came to destroy this pious temple.

As usual it was the time to pray to the Gods for their benevolence for further travels in the future. There is a stepped water pond located in the middle of the premises. The water level in this कुंड (pond) never goes down, even during extreme drought. The settings of the pond are so fascinating that one can sit in the night and feel like being in paradise.





Statues here are so beautiful that it looks like these have been carved by the Gods and Nature itself. Likewise ten (10) incarnations of Lord Vishnu carved on the stone. Matsya (the fish), Koorma (the tortoise), Varaha (the boar), Narasingh (the human-lion), Vamana (the dwarf), Parasurama (the angry man, Rama with an axe), Lord Rama (the perfect man, king of Ayodhya), Lord Krishna (the divine statesman), and Buddha (all other references talk about Balarama (elder brother of Krishna) and yet to come Kalki avatar (the mighty warrior)…


Be it top or bottom the temples here are exquisitely carved. Check out this beautifully carved temple dome..

This is the most artistic and wonderful carving of the domes, I have come across. 

Also this Panchmukhi, 5 headed Shivling (पंचमुखी  शिवलिंग ) and Lord Hanuman, with his feet placed over Kamdev and Rati. This is the only one statue of its kind in the world. This statue was found in one piece and very good shape. ASI people were unable to shift Lord Hanuman from this spot, even with the cranes; thereby exposing the limits of human capabilities... Check out Lord hanuman and carvings on Panchmukhi Shivling temple...

There are a few inscriptions on the walls which are yet to be deciphered. Not only the inscriptions on the walls but there many other secrets which are waiting for their turn to come out. View of this complex from the opposite far end, check the carved domes...

There is one more beautiful temple just before this complex. No need to say now that beautifully carved...

Preciseness in the carvings force me to wonder if the concept of 3D printing had already existed in India in those times. It is very difficult to spot any differences in the similar patterned carvings. The interior in this temple is simple awesome...

The expedition which started with Mitawali and led to discoveries of Garhi Padawali, 115ft. high Kakanmath Temple and finally these Batesara temples. What a ride it had been surfing the mysteries of the Chambal Ravines..! Watch out Khajuraho and kingdom of Hampi a worthy competitor is about to enter the arena...

It will be mean on our part if we do not thank Chambal Valley for keeping a watch over such attractions in India and preserving our rich heritage. From here onwards we have to take care of our treasures...


All 4 of these marvels can be comfortably visited in a one day trip from Gwalior. Keep travelling Guys...



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