Temple Architecture of Kullu

Historical Perspective

The natural setting of this region, characterised by verdant valleys and towering mountains, conjures up a vision of serene ambience and natural extravaganza. It is also home to some of the finest and ancient wooden and stone temples.

The history of this region may be traced to a period anterior to the Ramayan age. The discovery of ancient coins may establish existence of a regular administrative system of the Kuloots as early as the first century BCE. The archaeological and literary evidences belonging to this area do affirm that Buddhism had an influential sway in this region as early as the CE 2nd century.

Hiuen-Tsang (in Kullu around CE 634) found Buddhism as a flourishing religion in Kiu-lu-to during his visit.

For such good reasons, next to Kashmir, the Kullu Valley has attracted notice of many explorers, scholars and administrators since the colonial period. Most of them have written at length on the scenic grandeur of the valley, but casually noticed its architectural and archaeological aspects. It was Captain A.F.P. Harcourt, who took note of the architectural grandeur of the temples in the main Kullu Valley. He remained an Assistant Commissioner of Kullu, then a sub-division of Kangra district, from 1869 to 1871. In his pioneering work The Himalayan Districts of Kooloo, Lahul and Spiti, he gave a classification of wooden temples of Kullu.

Penelope Chetwode, who mothered insatiable love for Kulu – The End of the Habitable World offers intimate and first hand information on various aspects of Kullu Valley and reminisces about many interesting events of considerable historical merit. She may also be credited for documenting many new temples of Kullu and the adjoining Shimla district.