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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)

Kullu district map

Kullu or Kulu is a city and District in Himachal Pradesh.

Variants of name


It is located on the banks of the Beas River in the Kullu Valley.

Jat clans


V. S. Agrawala[3] writes that Ashtadhyayi of Panini mentions janapada Kuluta (कुलूत), under Kachchhadi (कच्छादि) (IV.2.133) (शैषिक अण्। काच्छ:)[4].

V. S. Agrawala[5] writes that Ashtadhyayi of Panini mentions janapada Trigarta (त्रिगर्त) (V.3.116) - It is mentioned by Panini as ayudhajivi sangha, and a confederation of six states known as Trigarta-Shashtha. The name Trigarta denotes the region drained by three Rivers: Ravi, Beas & Satluj, and corresponds to the Jalandhar group of states which had retained their geographical identity all these years. It contains Pātānaprastha (=Paithan or Pathankot) situated at the entrance of Kangra Valley. (p.53)

V. S. Agrawala[6] writes that The central portion of the Trigarta formed by the Valley of the Beas was also named Kulūta (same as the Uluka of Sabhaparva (27.5-16), now known as the Kulū. Its ancient capital was at Nagara on the Beas. Maṇḍamatī was perhaps Maṇḍi, lying to south of Kuluta. Panini mentions special mention of Bhārgāyaṇa Gotra in the Trigarta Country (IV.1.111).

In ancient times it was called Kuluta or Kulut. The Chinese pilgrim monk Xuanzang visited the Kullu Valley in 635 CE. He described it as a fertile region completely surrounded by mountains, about 3,000 li in circuit, with a capital 14 or 15 li in circumference. It contained a stupa (tope) built by Ashoka, which is said to mark the place where the Buddha preached to the local people and made conversions, stupa was taken away by a mughal ruler and put in Feroz Shah Kotla maidan in Delhi. There were some twenty Buddhist monasteries, with about 1,000 monks, most of whom were Mahayanist. There were also some fifteen Hindu temples, and people of both faiths lived mixed together. There were meditation caves near the mountain passes inhabited by both Buddhist and Hindu practitioners. The country is said to have produced gold, silver, red copper, crystal lenses and bell-metal.[7]

"Thus, Ku-zu is the Bu-nan name for Kuḷū. . . . Dr. Vogel in his MS. notes on Lahul gives Ku-zuṅ as the Gārī (Bu-nan) name of Kuḷū. Ku-zuṅ is the locative case of Ku-zu. He adds that Kuḷū is called Ram-ti by the people of Ti-nan, and Ram-di by those of Caṅsa (Me-rlog). The Tibetans call it Ñuṅ-ti."[8]

Kulawat - Rajatarangini mentions Kuluta kingdom, (Book III, p.55) (KulutaKulawat)

The Mahabharata mentions the Janapadas in Himachal Pradesh such as Kuluta (Kullu), Trigarta (Kangra), Kulinda (Shimla hills and Sirmaur), Yugandhara (Bilaspur and Nalagarh), Gabdika (Chamba) and Audumbara (Pathankot).

Visit by Xuanzang in 635 AD

[p.142]: Alexander Cunningham[9] writes that The kingdom of Kiu-lu-to is placed by Hwen Thsang at 700 li, or 117 miles, to the north-east of Jalandhar,1 which corresponds exactly with the position of the district of Kullu, in the upper valley of the Byas river. The Vishnu Purana2 mentions a people called Uluta, or Kuluta, who are most probably the same as the Kaulutas of the ' Ramayana' and the ' Brihat Sanhita.3 As this form of the word agrees precisely with the Chinese Kiuluto, I conclude that the modern Kullu, must be only an abbreviation of the ancient name. The district is stated to be 3000 li, or 500 miles, in circuit, and entirely surrounded by mountains. The size is very much exaggerated for the present restricted limits of Kullu ; but as the ancient kingdom is said by the people themselves to have included Mandi and Sukhet on the west, and a large tract of territory to the south of the Satlej, it is probable that the frontier measurement of 500 miles may be very near the truth if taken in road distance.

The present capital of the valley is Sultanpur ; but the old capital of Makarsa is still called Nagar, or the city, by which name it is most generally known. Hwen Thsang states that gold, silver, and copper are all found in the district, which is only partially true, as the amount of gold to be obtained by washing is very small, and the silver and copper mines have long been abandoned.

To the north-east of Kullu Hwen Thsang places the district of Lo-hu-lo, which is clearly the Lho-yal of

1 Julien's 'Hiouen Thsang,' ii. 203.

2 Wilson's 'Vishnu Purana,' edited by Hall, ii. 3, vol. ii. p. 174.

3 Kern's ' Brihat Sanhita,' xiv. 29.

[p.143]: the Tibetans, and the Lahul of the people of Kullu and other neighbonring states. Still further to the north he places the district of Mo-lo-so, which, from his position, must certainly be Ladak. I would, therefore, alter the Chinese name to Mo-lo-po, which is an exact transcript of Mar-po, the actual name of the province of Ladak, as Mar-po-yul, or the "Red district," in allusion to the general appearance of its soil and mountains. The Chinese syllables so and po are so much alike that they are frequently interchanged, as in the well-known name of Salatura, the birth-place of Panini, which is given in the original Chinese of Hwen Thsang's travels as Po-lo-lu-lo, or Palatura.

In Mahabharata

Kuluta (कुलूत) was a King of Mahabharata priod who hailed from the modern Kulu- Kangra region and fought Mahabharata War on the side of the Kauravas (VI.10.52), (VII.8.45). [10]

Sabha Parva, Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 24 mentions that Arjuna subjugated the countries that lay to the North. Kuluta is mentioned in verse-4, [11] verse-9[12] and verse-10 [13]

Bhisma Parva, Mahabharata/Book VI Chapter 10 describes geography and provinces of Bharatavarsha. Kuluta is mentioned in verse-52. [14]

External links


  1. Mahendra Singh Arya et al.: Adhunik Jat Itihas, Agra 1998, p. 230
  2. Dr Mahendra Singh Arya etc, : Ādhunik Jat Itihas, 1998,p.227,s.n.22
  3. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.497
  4. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.497
  5. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.53
  6. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.54
  7. Watters, Thomas: On Yuan Chwang’s Travels in India. 1904-1905. London. Royal Asiatic Society. Reprint: Delhi. Munshiram Manoharlal. 1973, pp. 298, 335.
  8. Francke, A. H. (1914, 1926). Antiquities of Indian Tibet. Calcutta. 1972 reprint: S. Chand, New Delhi. Vol. II, p. 223, notes
  9. The Ancient Geography of India,pp. 142-143
  10. काश्मीराः सिन्धुसौवीरा गान्धारा दर्शकास तदा, अभीसारा कुलूताश च शौवला बाह्लिकास तदा (VI.10.52)
  11. तैर एव सहितः सर्वैर अनुरज्य च तान नृपान, कुलूतवासिनं राजन बृहन्तम उपजग्मिवान (II.24.4)
  12. स तथ राज्यम अवस्दाप्य कुलूत सहितॊ ययौ, सेना बिन्दुम अदॊ राजन राज्याथ आशु समाक्षिपत (II.24.9)
  13. मॊदा पुरं वामदेवं सुदामानं सुसंकुलम, कुलूतान उत्तरांश चैव तांश च राज्ञः समानयत (II.24.10)
  14. काश्मीराः सिन्धुसौवीरा गान्धारा दर्शकास तदा, अभीसारा कुलूताश च शौवला बाह्लिकास तदा (VI.10.52)