Kooloo Valley Tea Company

Tea was the first cash-crop grown by the British in Kullu. A small garden–the first–was planted in Nagar in the fifties, and in 1861-62 “Kooloo Valley Tea Company” a.k.a. the Kulu Tea Company was established. The company had gardens at Bajaura, Raison, Nagar, Shamshi and Ghurdaur. KTC’s tea even won first prize for ‘the best black tea of India’ at Lahore Exhibition of 1863. But, unsuitable agro-climatic conditions for tea, plus the lack of transportation, proved unprofitable for the business. So, the gardeners shifted their attention to fruits. Against all the odds, how ever, a small tea industry survived as far as the 1930s.

The Birth of Kullu’s Fruit Industry

The first apple orchard of Himachal, or for that matter Punjab, was planted at Bandrole (Kullu) in 1870. In 1846, after the Treaty of Lahore, the British East India Company got Kullu from the Sikhs. Soon after, the valley was … Read more The Birth of Kullu’s Fruit Industry

Goor | Initiation of the Medium

Each devi-deota has a number of karkoon (officials)–kardar, pujari, bhandari, goor, kathiala, kaith etc–cooperating in managing her/his affairs. Among them all, goor holds somewhat supreme authority, for he has a direct contact with the divine. A goor is selected by deota himself, a boy of 14 or a grown up of 40, he may choose any one and irrespective of any caste. Though in most cases hereditary, a goor’s son does not succeed his father until ‘brought out’ by deota himself.

Bhartha | Recounting the divine life

Bhartha (in Kullu, lit. “news”) Ganai (in Saraj) Bhartha is a story–a religious mythological legend–giving narrative of the life of a deity. In a bhartha, goor narrates–in first person–events from birth till final settlement at present abode of deity; place … Read more Bhartha | Recounting the divine life

Kahika | The Festival of Absolution, Death and Rebirth

Kāikā or Kāhikā is a festival, a sort of expiation ceremony, celebrated at various places in the Kulu region. The main purpose of Kāhikā is the transference, and thus removal, of sin (pāp) and baneful influences (dōṣ-khōṭ and kāri-śrāpṇī) to a human scapegoat: first ‘sacrificed’, then brought back to life.