Bara Shigri is the largest glacier located in Lahaul Spiti region in Chandra Valley, Himachal Pradesh. It is a 30-km long glacier, the second longest glacier in the Himalayas after Gangotri. It flows northwards and feeds the Chenab river. Bara Shigri, Bara meaning big and Shigri meaning glacier, in Lahaul dialect.
The glacier is so heavily covered with surface moraine that ice is not visible for long stretches except along the crevices and in the ablation areas. Estimates differ as to the breadth of the glacier where it is crossed, as owing to its movement and roughness no two caravans cross it in exactly the same way, but it is not less than a mile wide. It is just 4 kms away from Batal and around 40 Kms from Rohatang Pass.
Across the Bara Shigri is another glacier known as Chhota Shigri. It is a comparatively smaller glacier and does not reach down to the bed of the river, but it is most steep and slippery, difficult to cross. There are number of prominent glaciers in Chandra valley in Lahaul. Some of them are, Kulti, Shpting, Pacha, Ding Karmo, Tapn, Gyephang, Bolunag, Shili and Shamundri. Gyephang is the chief deity of Lahaul valley and the Gyephang glacier is named after him.
Mandi is also known as “Chotti Kashi” due to its similarity with Varanasi in respect of Ghats on the bank of Beas River and temples of Lord Shiva near the Ghats. The place is often described as the cultural capital of Himachal Pradesh due to its rich culture, traditions and temple architectural heritage. In ancient times Mandi was not only a business centre on the old silk route to Tibet but also a centre for cultural exchange. Mandi, the abode of Baba Bhoot Nath, was known as Mandavya Nagari as Mandav Rishi meditated on a rock, known as Kolsara, in the Beas river. The famous International Shivratri Fair is celebrated every year during February/March.
In 1877 when Vijay Sen used to be the king of the princely state of Mandi. The country was ruled by the Britisher & George organized a function in Delhi in which the kings of the princely states of the country were called. Raja Vijay Sen of Mandi princely state also went to Delhi to join it. During the ceremony, George V held a car competition there. According to the competition, races were held between horses and cars.
The horse of Raja Vijay Sen of Mandi beat the car and won. George gives a car to Raja Vijay Sen as the prize. But it was not possible to bring the car to the market and even if you brought it, where was it to drive here because there was no arrangement of roads and bridges at that time. King Vijay Sen urged the British government to build a bridge to connect the city of Mandi. British Government promised to build the bridge, accepting the king’s insistence. The king also paid one lakh rupees for construction of the bridge.
The bridge was completed in 1877. The bridge is said to be a duplicate copy of the Victoria Bridge built in England. This is the reason that the British named it the Victoria Bridge while the princely state of Mandi named it the Vijay Kesari bridge. This 76m bridge was built by engineers from London and Kolkata. The engineers had termed its maximum life to be 100 years but it worked till 143 years. However, in the past few years, only light vehicles have been allowed on it.
Initially, the bridge was used by both light and heavy vehicle, but as its condition deteriorated, it was closed for heavy vehicles. The bridge, which withstood many floods in Beas, was rendered abandoned on Dec 8, 2019, when the chief inaugurated a new motorable bridge next to it. Since then, only pedestrians are allowed on this historical bridge.
Naggar is an old town in the Kullu region of Himachal Pradesh and also has a definitely mystical appeal. Its appeal could be credited to the majestic deodars lining the landscape, snow-capped mountains, razor-thin falls, and also a tranquil environment. The charming town Naggar has located 24 km from Manali, near the bank of Beas River. Naggar has actually been capital of Rajas for over 1400 years, till it was transferred to Sultanpur, now referred to as Kullu in 160 AD. A special mix of nature, society, heritage, as well as background, Naggar is the ideal unique destination in Himachal Pradesh.
Constructed 500 years back, the Naggar Castle is a testimony to the marvellous days of Naggar. The Castle was converted into a rest house, a hundred years back and in 1978 this old building was handed over to HPTDC to run as a heritage hotel. This middle ages castle was built by Raja Sidh Singh of Kullu around 1460 A.D. The hotel overlooks the Kullu Valley and apart from the spectacular view and superb location, this has a flavour of authentic western Himalayan architecture. Here, a gallery houses the paintings of the Russian artist Nicholas Roerich. Naggar also has three other old shrines. Hotel Castle is a unique medieval stone and wood mansion, once the home to the Raja of Kullu and now an HPTDC Heritage hotel.