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Chronicling Kullu Valley’s sacred journey

Kullu: Starting from the sun temple at Nirath in Himachal Pradesh’s Satluj Valley that traces its origin to the Harappan era, a new book traces the sacred journey of the Kullu Valley as it concludes at the majestic Rohtang Pass, the so-called ground of the dead, after covering the Nirmand, Ani, Banjar and Kullu.

‘A Sacred Journey’ and two other books – one on traditional and popular cuisines of Kullu and the other anthology of excerpts from the accounts left by foreigners who have visited Kullu in the last 1,400 years – were released during the week-long Kullu Dussehra celebrations that began on October 24, Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Kanwar told IANS.

‘A Sacred Journey’ and the other two books were compiled by Minakshi Chaudhry, who now has 16 works to her credit.

In an earlier book, ‘Sunshine: My Encounter With Cancer’, she narrates her innate struggle and captures the intense experience of her journey to recovery. Her books include ‘Ghost Stories of Shimla Hills’, ‘Love Stories of Shimla Hills’ and ‘Whispering Deodars: Writings from Shimla Hills’.

‘A Sacred Journey’ has not only breathtaking and captivating photographs but also interesting information and nuggets, Kanwar said. For example, Nirmand village was established by Parshuram himself who granted land to the Brahmins.

The book also contains information about the earlier travelers like Penelope Chetwode, the wife of British Poet Laureate John Betjeman and the daughter of the one-time Commander-in-chief of the British Army in India, Field Marshal Philip Chetwode, who was so captivated by the area that she made repeated visits to Ani and Kullu as a young girl.

She was finally laid to rest in these hills near Khanag in 1986.

The book has more than 250 photographs and brief descriptions about places of tourist interest, both popular and lesser-known destinations.

The second book is based on the traditional and popular cuisine available in Kullu district.

Most people know that in the last decade Siddu, the steamed and stuffed local bread, has become a hot selling item.

But there are many more delicacies that are waiting to be discovered by the tourists, said Kanwar.

These nutritious items will definitely be relished by the tourists if made available on a commercial scale. This book makes the readers aware about dishes like askalu, babru, femda and geechey.

The book also details the restaurants and hotels where international food is served.

Manali, Kasol, Tosh and other destinations in the district have several eateries that serve authentic Indian, Chinese, Tibetan, Israeli, Korean, Lebanese, Nepalese and German cuisine.

The third book is an anthology of excerpts from the accounts left by foreign travelers who have visited Kullu over the last 1,400 years.

The book starts with the description of Ku-lu-to (Kullu) by Huen Tsang, the 7th century Chinese pilgrim, and ends will a piece written by Cristina Noble in the last decades of the 20th century.

She liked Kullu so much that she married an Indian and made Kullu her home.

The centuries-old Kullu Dussehra celebrations begin on ‘Vijaya Dashami’, the day they ended in the rest of the country.

(Vishal Gulati, IANS)

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