Online Encyclopedia

KULU

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 945 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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KULU, a subdivision of Kangra district, Punjab, British India, which nominally includes the two Himalayan cantons or waziris of Lahul and Spiti. The tahsil of Kulu has an area of 1054 sq. m., of which only 6o sq. m. are cultivated; pop. (1901), 68,954. The Sainj, which joins the Beas at Largi, divides the tract into two portions, Kulu proper and Soraj. Kulu proper, north of the Sainj, together with inner Soraj, forms a great basin or depression in the midst of the Himalayan system, having the narrow gorge of the Beas at Largi as the only outlet for its waters. North and east the Bara Bangahal and mid-Himalayan ranges rise to a mean elevation of 18,000 ft., while southward the Jalori and Dhaoladhar ridges attain a height of 11,0Oo ft. Ther,higher villages stand 9000 ft. above the sea; and even the cultivated tracts have probably an average elevation of 5000 ft. The houses consist of four-storeyed chalets in little groups, huddled closely together on the ledges or slopes of the valleys, picturesquely built with projecting eaves and carved wooden verandas. The Beas, which, with its tributaries, drains the entire basin, rises at the crest of *the Rohtang pass, 13,326 ft. above the sea, and has an average fall of 125 ft. per mile. Its course presents a succession of magnificent scenery, including cataracts, gorges, precipitous cliffs, and mountains clad with forests of deodar, towering above the tiers of pine on the lower rocky ledges. It is crossed by several suspension bridges. Great mineral wealth exists, but the difficulty of transport and labour prevents its development. Hot springs occur at three localities, much resorted to as places of pilgrimage. The character of the hillmen resembles that of most other mountaineers in its mixture of simplicity, independence and superstition. Tibetan polyandry still prevails in Soraj, but has almost died out elsewhere. The temples are dedicated rather to local deities than to the greater gods of the Hindu pantheon. Kulu is an ancient Rajput principality, which was conquered by Ranjit Singh about 1812. Its hereditary ruler, with the title of rai, is now recognized by the British government as jagirdar of Rupi.
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