Opening Asia for Russia

05.03.2018 181 просмотров

Shrouded in legends and mysteries, the Kullu Valley is an extraordinarily beautiful corner in the Himalayas, which is visited by tourists coming to India with pleasure. It was on this earth that the Aryan sages learned the divine wisdom. The Valley of the Gods is surrounded by giant mountains, they inspire genuine respect. This place is considered one of the most beautiful in the world.


Delhi greeted us with merciless heat, even in the pre-morning hours the temperature was steadfastly kept at around 30 degrees Celsius. Yes, and the first day of the journey through the endless plains of the state of Haryana and Punjab was saturated with the same heat and the endlessly unfolding road in front of us, which seemed to have no end. Only approaching the Himalayas we felt some relief. Finally, the breeze breaking from the snowy peaks, filled with coolness and smells of flowering gardens, returned our vitality and made it possible to move around.  

< img alt="India, Kullu" src="/upload/medialibrary/2da/2dac0f00c255304aa40b033b0d269a26.jpg" title="India, Kullu" width="800" height="533">
On the road to one from the Upper villages - Rumsu - we constantly met local residents, their smiles accompanied us for a long time. The house itself, built in the traditional style of Himalayan cedar, is also interesting. It has been preserved almost unchanged since the 19th century. Naggar - Rumsu village, Kullu valley, Himachal Pradesh India. Photo: Alexey Antonov


Our acquaintance with the Himalayan valleys began with an inspection of one of the few Shiva temples of the 9th - 11th centuries AD, in the town of Banjara ( Banjaur). Like many other temples of this period, it is richly decorated with stone carvings, on three sides there are niches in which there are statues of Shiva, his companion Kali and their son Ganesh, the god of wisdom and knowledge. According to local beliefs, if you buy a small figurine of Ganesh and consecrate it in the temple, and then rub the belly of the god, while making a wish, then he will surely fulfill it. Another entertainment for tourists is whispering their innermost desires into the ear of the mount of the god Shiva, the bull Nandi. But is it entertainment? They say that one woman, having collected the last funds, went to India. She sincerely believed in all of the above and eventually got not only a well-paid job, but also a wonderful husband. 

India, Kullu
Inhabitants of one of the Upper villages - Rumsu - do not shun foreigners , new trends or technologies, but at the same time they try to adhere to old customs and traditions. The old Jamadagni temple serves as just an additional reminder of this. His name is already mentioned in the Rig Veda, the first of the Vedas. Arriving on the territory of the Upper Villages, torn apart by inter-clan conflicts, he established peace by introducing new values and laws into people's lives. Rumsu village, Kullu valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. Photo: Aleksey Antonov


In Kullu, the legend of the victory of the ruler of Shambhala Rigden-Japo (Gesser Khan) over his enemies from Ladakh at the walls of this temple is still alive. < br>

India, Kullu
Through the Rohtang Pass for many centuries trade caravans went and went. Rothang Pass, Himachal Pradesh, India. Photo: Alexey Antonov

The road winding at the foot of the mountains along the Beas River is one of the most beautiful in the world. These places, starting from the city of Velaspur and up to Naggar and Manali, are associated with Vyasa (Vyasa) - the sage, the author of the last of the Vedas - the Atharvaveda and the collector of the songs of the Mahabharata, Alexander the Great, the Pandava brothers, the main characters of all the books of the Indian epic. For modern inhabitants of the Kullu Valley, the exploits of Arjuna and Bhima are as real as the deeds of Alexander the Great. 

India, Kullu
Once a year, more than three hundred gods of the Kullu valley visit the main god of the valley Ragunatha (Rama) for the holiday of Dussehra or Dussera. Among them is Tripura Sundari - the Beauty and Mistress of the Three Worlds. In Kullu, the administrative capital of the valley, a tent city is set up - a place of temporary residence of the gods, a fair is held and bhajans are heard throughout the city for seven days - Indian religious songs, in which endless love and devotion to the Almighty finds its expression. The holiday itself is dedicated to the victory of Rama (the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu) over the Rakshas - the king of Lanka - Ravana, who kidnapped Sita. Naggar, Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. Photo: Aleksey Antonov


In autumn, after the monsoon rains, when the temperature drops to an acceptable 20 - 25 degrees, the Beas (Beas) river overflows, and in its now lazy and transparent waters are reflected as if magically the clouds and slopes of the Himalayas. Passing through another village, you can see an unusual procession consisting of musicians and men carrying a palanquin on their shoulders - this is a god who went on a holiday or just to visit his neighbor in the valley. And no matter how strange it may sound, the valley is still ruled not by a raja or a council of elders, but by Ragunath. In the 16th century, on both sides of the Beas River, among the mountains enchanting with their beauty, a bloody struggle broke out for caravan routes. Raja Kullu, having heard about the extraordinary power of Ragunath, went to the Holy City of Ayodhya, the birthplace of Rama, with a request to give the figurine of the god. The local ruler refused, thinking that Raja Kullu was up to something unkind. Then, together with his retinue, Raja Kullu began to fervently pray near the locked temple, and then went home. After some time, the temple was opened, the statuettes of the god Rama - Radhunath were nowhere to be found. And soon the wars in the Kullu valley stopped. So the legend says, but is it true or not - who knows? But the very word "ayodhya" in Sanskrit means "that against which one cannot fight."

India, Kullu
One of the few Shiva temples of the 9th -11th centuries that have survived to this day in Northern India. AD in the town of Banjara (Banjaura). Like many other temples of this period, it is richly decorated with stone carvings, with niches on three sides in which you will find statues of Shiva, his companion Kali and their son Ganesh - the god of wisdom and knowledge. On the fourth side of the temple, there is an altar with a Shiva-lingam, where the service actually takes place. Banjara, Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. Photo: Alexey Antonov


Naggar, which we reached only in the evening, is a quiet, cozy provincial town, with many nice hotels and shops where you can buy local richly at a low price. decorated shawls, wool bags, comfortable colorful purses, gloves, woolen socks or the famous kullu topi - round hats with a flat top, decorated with a geometric multi-colored pattern. In the city center, between two hotels huddled together, in the basement you will find an Internet cafe, where you can also change money. 

India, Kullu
Autumn after the monsoon rains, when the temperature drops to an acceptable 20 - 25 degrees, the river Beas (Beas) floods, and in its now lazy and transparent waters clouds and slopes of the Himalayas are reflected as if by magic. Its shores are inextricably linked with Vyasa (Vyasa) - the sage, the author of the last of the Vedas - the Atharvaveda and the collector of the Mahabharata songs, the Pandava brothers - the main characters of the Great Indian epic, Alexander the Great, who stopped on its shores, never daring to go deep into India . Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. Photo: Alexey Antonov


The very name of the town can be translated as "the habitat of the Sacred Serpent - Naga". Nagas taught people arts and crafts, rain and snow, river floods and droughts depended on the Nagas. Traditions about them are still alive in Kashmir, the valleys of Kullu, Kangra, Kinnor. From the balcony of the hotel where we lived, one could see how its owner performed a ritual of worship every morning on the site of the Naga temple destroyed by time. Literally across the street from Hotel Sheetal is the former summer residence of the Rajas, now partly converted into a hotel, partly into a museum. Among the temples of the city of the 15th - 16th centuries - Vishnu, Shiva and his wife, the goddess Parvati, the Tripura Sundari temple, built in the form of a three-tiered pagoda, each of the floors of which ends with a sloping wooden hipped roof, stands somewhat apart. The upper tent tier is crowned with a bronze ball with the trident of Lord Shiva. The walls of the temple combine masonry and load-bearing wooden beams. The figurines of animals that have been decorating the corners of the temple for centuries are somewhat reminiscent of finds from the Altai and Tuva burial mounds, and at the same time they make one recall the bas-reliefs that look from the walls of Romanesque cathedrals. The most intriguing of them is a figurine of a lion with a tail in the form of a snake. Leo - Sun, courage and valor. Snake - Moon, intuition and wisdom.

India, Kullu
Smiling boy. The photo was taken near the temple of Bijli Mahadev (Electric Shiva), in the vicinity of which in the 30s of the now last century, Ananerbe employees tried to find manuscripts with secret mystical knowledge. Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India.  Photo: Alexey Antonov


Built in 1553 by Raja Bahadur Singh, the Khadimba temple hides behind its massive door a sacred stone with a hole in the middle, into which the blood of sacrificial cows and goats once flowed. In a small niche under its base are two small statues of the goddess Durga dressed up in bright robes, with whom the Rakshasi and Pandava wife Bhima Hadimba eventually became identified. The wall carving near the front door, along with images of horse riders, elephants, gods and goddesses, also contains an ancient Indo-European plot - a deer with a half-turned head and a plot typical for the Mediterranean - two birds quenching their thirst with the nectar of life. Near its walls in the last days of Navaratri, local residents, like their ancestors hundreds of years ago, worship girls up to 11 - 12 years old, seeing in them the manifestation of the Divine Mother, who in all three of Her incarnations - purification and destruction (Kali), creation (Lakshmi ), wisdom (Saraswati) and is dedicated to this holiday, which lasts nine days and nights. 

India, Kullu
The grass is harvested all autumn. Such scenes can often be seen throughout the Kullu Valley at this time of the year. Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. Photo: Aleksey Antonov


In the enchanted forest of Dhungri, one of the Pandava brothers, the strong man Bhim, killed the cruel Rakshasa Hadimba and married with the blessing of his mother Kunti and his brothers his sister Hadimba. The Pandava brothers lived with their mother in these places for about a year. During this time, Hadimba gave birth to her husband and beloved son Ghatotkach. For many years he was devoted to his father and his uncles - the Pandavas, often helping them out in difficult situations. Ghatotkacha died fighting on the battlefield of Kurukshetra from the crushing dart of Indra, thrown by the hand of King Karna, the son of the charioteer's wife and Surya, the sun god. The Dhungri forest is long gone, in its place is now the tourist capital of the valley - Manali, located only 30 kilometers from Naggar and connected with it not by one, but even by two roads. The upper stretches along the mountains and passes along the old pilgrimage route.

India, Kullu
Dussera or Dussera in Naggar. After the end of the solemn service, the drums sound again, and the local residents who came to the holiday all together begin to pull the chariot, and the pujari (servant of God) sitting next to Krishna greets and blesses those present on his behalf. Temple of Krishna. Naggar, Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. Photo: Alexey Antonov


The surroundings of Naggar are also famous for their temple of Krishna and Radha of the 9th-12th centuries. At the beginning of the 20th century, while conducting archaeological excavations, English scientists discovered under its base an altar, a dwelling and a workshop for the manufacture of products from copper and bronze of the end of the second - beginning of the first century BC. Arjuna was also on this mountain, and where he stuck his sword into the ground, a beautiful tangerine tree grew. 

India, Kullu
Altar of God Kali (or Durga), made in the form of a throne . Naggar, Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. Photo: Alexey Antonov


Once a year, more than three hundred gods of the Kullu valley, accompanied by musicians and a crowd of people, go to visit Ragunath (Rama) for the Dussera or Dussera festival. Among them is the goddess Tripura Sundari - Lady and Beauty of the Three Worlds. In Lower Naggar, she meets the formidable goddess Kali, and then they go together to the capital of the Kullu valley, where a tent city is set up - a place of temporary residence for the gods, a fair opens, and bhajans - Indian religious songs sound throughout the city for seven days. The holiday itself has been celebrated for centuries in honor of the victory of Rama over the Rakshas - the king of Lanka - Ravana, who kidnapped Sita.

India, Kullu
Men relaxing in the shade of an ancient temple. Literally two steps away, ceremonies and dances are held on the central square of the village during religious holidays. These places are inextricably linked with one of the seven great sages (rishis) - Jamadagni and his son - Pushurama.  Rumsu Village, Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. Photo: Alexey Antonov


Dussera or Dussera also passes in Naggar - the temple of Krishna and Radha, as well as in Kullu bhajans sound, and in the voice of each singer one can hear, feel love and devotion to God and his beloved. When the bhajans subside and the culmination of the holiday begins, standard-bearers come out of the temple doors, after a few minutes a stretcher with Krishna, setting off for his chariot, appears. After the end of the solemn service, the drums sound again, and the local residents who came to the holiday all together begin to pull the chariot, and the pujari sitting next to the god greets and blesses those present on his behalf.

India, Kullu
Indian tourists, mainly from Delhi and Mumbai, eager to see the spring snow, breathe the mountain air, ski or sled, unwittingly made a 20-kilometer traffic jam at the entrance to the Rohtang Pass from the side of the Kullu Valley. Rothang Pass, Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. Photo: Alexey Antonov


Far from the tourist trails, in one of the most mysterious and mysterious places of Lower Naggar, you can still see two small temples of the 9th century AD dedicated to Shiva - creator and destroyer of the universe, one of the most ancient gods of India. Probably, it was he who was worshiped by the Dravidian peoples who settled in the Kullu valley about a thousand years before the Aryans, at the end of the 3rd millennium BC. Although the temples date back to approximately the 9th century, the place of worship itself was known during the time of the Mahabharata. According to one of the surviving legends, it was here that Arjuna and his warrior brothers performed the now half-forgotten Vedic rituals. From here you can clearly see the mountain of the god Indra, which he liked to visit. On one of the two temples, along with the usual ling and yoni, you can see a slab with an image of Indra carved on it, sitting on a fantastic animal: either on an elephant, or on a turtle, personifying the divine waters of the Ganges River flowing from Heaven. Indra holds a Vajra - lightning in his right hand, a falcon sits on his left hand. Under the image of one of the main characters of the Rigveda, there is a recess in the form of an arch, looking into which you will certainly notice a “cosmic egg” for some reason with eyes, and behind it is a bas-relief of Ganesh and Shiva, sitting in a lotus position. 

India, Kullu
On one of the Shiva temples of the 9th century, along with the usual ling and yoni, you can see a slab with an image of Indra carved on it, sitting on a fantastic animal: either on an elephant, or on turtle, personifying the divine waters of the Ganges River, flowing from Heaven. Indra holds a vajra - lightning in his right hand, a falcon sits on his left hand. Naggar, Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. Photo: Aleksey Antonov


This time there were some adventures. If a little less than a year ago, while in Ladakh, we got into a sandstorm, this time we pretty much stood in a 20-kilometer traffic jam, returning from under the Rohtang Pass (Pass of Bones). 

India, Kullu
Slightly away from the main square is the temple of the local deity - the patron saint of the village. Rumsu village, Kullu valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. Photo: Aleksey Antonov


Leaving the hotel at half past four in the morning and three hours later, having traveled about a hundred kilometers, we met the dawn already high in the mountains, surrounded only by silence and snowy peaks. Local guys had just started opening cafes and preparing horses, and after a few hours, crowds of Indian tourists, mainly from Delhi and Mumbai, poured into these seemingly virgin places, eager to see snow, breathe mountain air and ride sleds or skis. . Those who were hopelessly stuck in endless traffic jams had to go either on foot or use horses.

India, Kullu
Lemons and the temple of Krishna and his beloved Radha, 9th - 12th century, famous for its unique stone carving. At the beginning of the 20th century, while conducting archaeological excavations, English scientists discovered under its base an altar, a dwelling and a workshop for the manufacture of products from copper and bronze, from the end of the second - the beginning of the first century. AD Naggar, Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. Photo: Aleksey Antonov


It was on their shoulders that all trade in this region rested until very recently. And it was they who, passing along the steep winding roads, went up and down the Rohtang Pass, carrying carpets, spices, bronze and porcelain dishes, Chinese tea, weapons, carpets, cotton, woolen and silk fabrics. Many of them, along with their owners, never reached the goal - & nbsp; due to narrow and dangerous paths, strong winds, snowfalls and landslides. Those who were lucky went further to Mandi. In this busy center of trade at the junction of the two valleys of Kullu and Kangra, an exchange took place, and caravans again set off for Persia, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tibet, Mongolia, China, taking with them not only outlandish Indian goods, but also new trends in music, dance, cooking and architecture.

Kullu, India
The image personifying the unity of the male and female principles in the Universe. Tripuri Sundari Temple, Naggar, Naggar, Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. Photo: Alexey Antonov


Trade is still flourishing along with crafts, cattle breeding, agriculture and gardening, which appeared in these places thanks to the British. People are not very rich. Although electricity has already been installed in many houses, there is still no gas and running water. In the cold months, they mainly heat with firewood, they also cook food. Manali, Shimla, Mandi and other cities in the valley use gas bottles. 

India, Kullu
Some locals place beehives on the roof of their houses. For them, honey is a gift from the sun god (Surya). Naggar - Rumsu village, Kullu valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. Photo: Alexey Antonov


Walking through one of the Upper villages, Rumsu, we constantly met with adults and children returning home from school. And everywhere we went, smiles accompanied us.

India, Kullu
Vinshu Temple, 15th century. Behind it you can see hotels that have appeared literally in the most recent years. Naggar over the past 10 - 15 years has transformed from a quiet provincial town into one of the fashionable tourist centers of North India.  Naggar, Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. Photo: Aleksey Antonov


The inhabitants of the Upper Villages do not shy away from foreigners, new trends or technologies, but at the same time they try to adhere to established customs and traditions. And the old Jamadagni temple of one of the seven great sage rishis serves as just an additional reminder.

India, Kullu
Temple of Tripuri Sundari, Mistress and Beauty of the Three Worlds, 16th century. Naggar, Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. Photo: Alexey Antonov


His name is already mentioned in the Rig Veda, the first of the Vedas. Arriving on the territory of the Upper Villages, torn apart by inter-clan conflicts, he established peace by introducing new values and laws into people's lives. Since the 10th century BC, Jamadagni has been revered as a god, and the speaking and wish-fulfilling cow Kamdemnu, who accompanied him on his wanderings, is still mentioned in oral folklore. 

< img alt="India, Kullu" src="/upload/medialibrary/7cc/7cc127dfbbf477c82dadc19ad0d987e5.jpg" title="India, Kullu" width="533" height="800">
Older women, yes and middle-aged women, as before, wear traditional clothing for these places, which is based on a shawl made of coarse woolen fabric, which is fixed at the right and left shoulders with hairpins connected by a chain, and on the belt - with a piece of gacha fabric. A colored or plain scarf is tied on the head, pulling it together with a knot at the back of the head. On the hands are permanent bracelets. Rumsu village, Kullu valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. Photo: Alexey Antonov


For those who are familiar with Velic astrology, the seven rishis: Atri, Vasistha (Vashishta), Vishwamitra, Jamadagni, Gautama, Bharadvaja, Kashyapa symbolize the seven stars of the Great The she-bear that circles over the Kullu valley never goes beyond the horizon. The stars of the Big Dipper are inextricably linked with hermitage, prophecies, the highest spiritual knowledge, they also give knowledge of the harmony of the World.

India, Kullu
The richly carved entrance is perhaps the oldest surviving part of the Hadimba temple . The temple itself was built in 1553 by Raja Bahadur Singh and hides behind its massive door a sacred stone with a hole in the middle, where the blood of sacrificial cows and goats once flowed. In a small niche under its base are kept two small statues of the goddess Durga, dressed in bright robes, with whom the Rakshasi and the wife of the Pandava Bhima Hadimba became identified over time. Temple of Hadimba, Manali, Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. Photo: Alexey Antonov


For the Indo-Aryans who came to these places at the turn of the 2nd - 1st millennium BC, during the sunset of the Age of Heroes and Heroines, the Kullu Valley seemed to be the end of the inhabited world, hence its ancient name - Kulantpiha.

India, Kullu
A cow with a calf, as if descended from the pages of the Rig Veda, the first of the Vedas. During the festival of Vasubaras, women all over India pray to cows and calves and give them grains of wheat. Those who perform these rituals refrain from eating dairy products and wheat products throughout the day. Worship on the days of the holiday and the bulls. Naggar, Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. Photo: Aleksey Antonov


During one of our trips through the valley, we managed to slightly lift the veil of secrecy over the social structure of the society of the Vedic era. The focus of all life in the settlement was a temple or an open-air altar. In addition to the "pujaris" - the servants of God, there also lived a "gur" - the voice of God, who, in case of need, turned to everyone, including the "kardar" - the elder of the village. Following a centuries-old tradition, the gur walked at any time of the year and even today walks with bare legs and wears long hair, which he refers to during predictions. During the ongoing ceremony, the gur distributes to its participants several grains of rice (in the time of the Vedas, it could be grains of barley or wheat), making sure that their number is favorable, then he pours oil in front of the altar and throws a handful of rice towards each of those present, with a sharp movement of the body, throws off his hat from his head, exposing his hair, which is caught by the pujari sitting behind. After prayer and appeals to God, with a barely noticeable movement of the hand, the gur calls to him who wants to receive predictions. On his knees, he bows low, holding out the gifts he has brought. Gur, being in a state of trance, takes a whip of iron chains with spikes and lightly, purely symbolically, beats on the back of a man bowing before him. Leaving the money, the person returns to his seat. The rice that the gur gave at the beginning of the ceremony, wrapped in a piece of clean linen, should be put under the pillow when you return home - the answers will come in a dream.

India, Kullu
Hay is dried on young apple trees. Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. Photo: Aleksey Antonov


Elderly women, and middle-aged women, as before, wear traditional clothes for these places, which are based on a shawl made of coarse woolen fabric - patcha, which is fixed at the right and left shoulders with hairpins connected by a chain, and on the belt with a piece of fabric - gacha. A colored or plain scarf is tied on the head, pulling it together with a knot at the back of the head. On the hands are permanent bracelets. Men continue to wear, in most cases, kullu topi, which I wrote about above. 

India, Kullu
Dushera or Dussera in Naggar. The bhajans subside, and to the roar of drums, the standard-bearers come out of the doors of the temple, and after a few minutes, a stretcher appears with Krishna, setting off for his chariot. Krishna Temple, Naggar, Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. Photo: Alexey Antonov


Already in the 30s of the 20th century, an expedition from Germany was exploring the surroundings around the temple of Bijli Mahadev (Electric Shiva), trying to find manuscripts with secret mystical knowledge . Later, Indian scientists discovered several ruined temples and many objects of archaeological value here. This place has been widely known almost since the beginning of time thanks to lightning that constantly strikes uphill. Even today, the Shiva temple has to be renovated or completely rebuilt every five years. What this phenomenon is connected with is difficult to say. Some point to the presence of ore deposits, others to hidden secret knowledge that the members of the German expedition never found. 

India. Kullu
Evening on Lake Rewalsar. A statue of Guru Rinpoche (Padma Sambhava) rises on the mountainside. Mandi Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. Photo: Aleksey Antonov


Lake Rewalsar, the place where our travels along the Kullu valley often ends, is located at the junction of two valleys: Mandi and Kangra. It is here that you plunge headlong into the ocean of vacationers or pilgrims buying something, countless small hotels, shops with groceries and essentials, smells coming from steamed momos, flatbread, tea and spices. In the evening hours, the sounds of the evening puja float over all this endless diverse sea, connecting the hearts of people, earth and sky. Legends about Lake Rewalsar create an unthinkable semantic pattern, in the labyrinths of which one can wander endlessly. On its banks you can hear stories about the Pandava brothers, about the Great Saint who brought the Buddhist teachings to Tibet - Guru Rinpoche (Padma Sabhava), and his disciple Mandarava, about Guru Nanak - the founder of Sikhism. that there is no end to them, just as there is no end to the roads of the East.


Text, photo: Aleksey Antonov

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