google-site-verification: googlee1556601ef56efc4.html The Charming Himalayas: NAGGAR-KULLU'S ANCIENT CAPITAL.

Friday, 25 September 2015


About half an hour drive from the tourist spot Manali, lies this beautiful place called Naggar. This was once a capital of Kullu.It stands away from the hustle and bustle of Manali, which these days is full of tourists especially in the summer season. I preferred going to Naggar rather than spending half a night on the way to Rohtang, waiting for the roads to open at dawn.

Naggar is situated in Kullu valley, about 22 km from Manali. The roads to Naggar are present a picturesque view of the surroundings. One can see beautiful snowy mountain tops as well as greenery all around. About 5 minutes after we started our journey, we came across a religious procession of a local goddess. It was a pleasure to see the rituals carried out in Himachali tradition and we felt very close to the culture. The procession did block our road for about 10 minutes, but we really didn't mind the delay as we got to see something quite unexpected and unique.
Procession of a goddess on our way to Naggar.
We first decided to take the route to Nicholas Roerich art gallery. Nicholas Roerich was a great Russian artist, painter, philosopher,archaeologist as well as a writer, who was born in St.Petersburg in Russia but spent most of his life in various parts of the world and a good amount of time at Naggar, a place he loved and where he died in 1947. He had a passion for mountains, which is seen in many of his paintings at his home, which itself is an art gallery. He founded the Himalayan Research Institute to study the Himalayan culture and history.

It was a short climb to a mountain top which took us to the art gallery. The place is very serene and one comes across many Russian as well as European tourists having interest in Roerich's work. Roerich's car is parked in the museum. One gets to enjoy a celestial view of Kullu valley from this place.

Road to Roerich Art Gallery.
View of Kullu valley from Roerich Art Gallery.
Roerich Art Gallery.
After spending about a couple of hours at the art gallery, we climbed down the mountain to reach an architectural marvel called Naggar Castle.

Naggar Castle is a beautiful palace made of wood and stones. It used to be the residence of Kullu's maharaja. A part of it has been converted into a heritage hotel by HPTDC. There are three small shrines inside and within the premises. One of the temples, the Jagati Pat temple has a slab inside it, which is believed to have been carried here by bees from a nearby mountain. Roerich's paintings are also displayed in the castle.The castle has river Beas flowing nearby. The castle overlooks view of Kullu mountains from its gallery.

Jagati Pat temple inside Naggar Castle.
Naggar Castle.
Beautiful view of Kullu mountains from Naggar Castle.
These two places at Naggar are definitely worth visiting when you plan your stay at Manali. One can even stay for a couple of nights at Naggar Castle. Just a walk around Kullu valley, the breath of fresh air and the view of  tall snow capped mountains make a refreshing change from one's daily life.

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