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Mythological References

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Last Updated On: 11/05/2015  

References about the Kullu valley in several mythological works like Ramayana, Mahabharata etc. lend credence to the ancientness of the land. According to Hindu mythology, the valley is regarded as the cradle of all humankind. After the great deluge, Manu, the progenitor of humanity, is said to have rested his ark on a hill side and established his abode at the present Manali, which is regarded as the changed name of ‘Manu-alaya’ (i.e. the home of Manu). Parshuram, regarded as one of the reincarnations of Vishnu, is believed to have inhabited the valley and the Parshuram temple in Nirmand is regarded as a living testimony of this mythological association.


According to some legends connected with the Ramayana period, Shringi Rishi, who had his abode near Banjar, attended the ‘Putreshti Yajna’ organized by Raja Dashratha after which Lord Ram was born. The name of the river Beas is assigned by common tradition to the celebrated saint Vashishtha, whose references are found in the Ramayana. Having become weary of life after the death of his sons, Vashishtha is said to have thrown himself in the river with his hands and feet tied. But the pious river burst his bonds and wafted him ashore unhurt. The river came to be known as ‘Vipasha’ or ‘the liberator of bonds’. Sage Vashishta then threw himself into the Satluj but the pious waters of the river divided themselves into hundred shallow channels and left the sage on dry land. The river became known as ‘Satadree’ or ‘the hundred channeled’.


The land is also replete with many legends associated with the Pandavas, who are believed to have spent a part of their exile in the valley. The Hidimba temple in Manali, the Shangchool Mahadev temple in Sainj and the Dev Dhank in Nirmand are believed to be associated with the Pandavas. According to one legend, one of the Pandavas, Bhimsen killed a strong and cruel demon Hadimb and married his sister Hadimba, a powerful deity of Manali. Ghatotkachh, the son of Bhim and Hadimba, showed unparalleled heroism and velour in the Mahabharata. According to another legend, Arjuna, under the advice of Sage Vyas, practiced austerities in a cave called ‘Arjun Gupha’ in the mountain of Inderkila (now called Deo Tiba) in order to get the powerful Pasupati Astra from Indra. The great sage Vyas is said to have performed his tapa in this valley during the Mahabharata period, at a place called ‘Vyas Kund’ on Rohtang Pass. It was because of this that the river Vipasha got the present name of Beas. 


The Dev Sanskriti of the valley is born out of an interesting mythological legend. It is believed that the powerful deity of Malana village, Jamlu was once crossing the Chandrakhani pass with a basketful of Gods, which he opened on top of the pass. A strong breeze dispersed all the Kullu Gods to their present locations, leading to Kullu being known as the valley of Gods

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