Nicholas Roerich Estate Museum in Izvara
Nicholas Roerich
Estate Museum
in Izvara

Shambhala

Urusvati


Captain C. M. Enriquez says the following in his book “The Realm of the Gods”:

“Naggar is a large village. The gardens are filled with roses, fruit trees and vegetables. The pears and apples of Kulu are famous. There are strawberries, artichokes, cabbages, asparagus, rhubarb and salads all growing up well. In the valley there are deodars, alders and fruit trees; and on the mountains, coming right down to the vale are deodars (pinus excelsa) and blue pines (kial). Glorious snows completely encircle this favored spot. Many of the surrounding peaks are fourteen thousand feet high. Those up the valley, shutting out Lahoul, are considerably higher; and Ghepan’s Peak is nearly twenty thousand. The last winter’s snowfall had been the heaviest known for years, and even the Bubu Pass, which is only ten thousand feet, is not yet open for pony traffic. Naggar is five thousand, nine hundred feet above sea level.

“Such is Kulu, a land of great beauty, cool breezes and luscious fruit—an ideal holiday ground. Trout are breeding in its streams. There are chicore and munal innumerable on the hills. Four kinds of pheasants can be shot. There are dozens of black bear in the forests; and below the snows you can get tar, gurul and red bear. The red bear are not as plentiful as they were, but a good Kulu sportsman assured me that other kinds of game were now more plentiful than they used to be twenty years ago… For the artist Kulu offers unlimited scope, and the naturalist will be delighted with the butterflies and birds of paradise. Leading out from the main valley there are endless miles of wooded uplands to explore.

“There are few parts of Kashmir, which are more attractive than the upper portions of Kulu.”

In A. H. Francke’s “Antiquities of India and Tibet” we read the following:

“Let me now add a few notes on Mandi, collected from Tibetan historical works. There can exist no reasonable doubt as regards the identification of the Tibetan Zahor with Mandi; for on our visit to Ravalsar we met with numerous Tibetan pilgrims, who said that they were traveling to Zahor, thereby indicating the Mandi State, if not the town. In the biography of Padma Sambhava, and in other books referring to his time, Zahor is frequently mentioned as a place where this teacher (750 A.D.) resided. The famous Buddhist teacher Santa Rakhshita, who went to Tibet, was born in Zahor. Again in the days of Ral-pa-can (8oo A.D.) we find the statement that during the reigns of his ancestors many religious books had been brought to Tibet from Gya (India or China), Li, Zahor and Kashmir. Zahor was then apparently a seat of Buddhist learning and it is even stated that under the same king, Zahor was conquered by the Tibetans. But under his successor, the apostate King Langdarma, many religious books were brought to Zahor, among other places, to save them from destruction.

“Among the Tibetans there still prevails a tradition regarding the existence of hidden books in Mandi, and this tradition in all probability refers to the books above mentioned. Mr. Howell, Assistant Commissioner of Kulu, told me that the present Thakur of Kolong, Lahoul, had once been told by a high lama from Nepal, where the books are still hidden. Unfortunately the Thakur had entirely forgotten the name of the place. My enquiries on the spot were of no avail, as none of the lamas and Tibetan laymen could or would tell where the books were concealed. I can suggest only one way of finding out the truth (or otherwise) of the tradition. A reward in money might be offered to the Thakurs of Kolong in order to induce them to make another attempt to find the old books.”

And two doctors, A. R. and K. M. Heber in their book “In Himalayan Tibet,” refer to Kulu in the following way:

“Our further travels through Kulu and Mandi State are in better known regions, and need no description here, save that one cannot refrain from referring to the country there as one of the most beautiful handiworks of our Creator.”

In such enthusiastic words the experienced explorers describe the beautiful Kulu Valley.

Silver Valley! Silver ore is brought. Antimony is brought. Many chemical processes have taken place underneath the fertile soil.

The great Arjuna laid a subterranean passage from Naggar to Manikaran—from the Silver Valley to the Fiery Spring.

In Bajaura there is an old temple, the origin of which is attributed to Buddhist times. It is said that the Blessed Rigden-jyepo, pursuing his enemies from the side of Ladak, captured and destroyed them at Bajaura. Thus this great name is connected with the Kulu Valley.

The village of Manali has received its name from the first law-giver—Manu. On the rocks of Lahoul are two images, a man and a woman, about nine feet high. A legend concerning these images states that they are the ancient inhabitants of this place. The same legend, as is well known, also surrounds the gigantic images of Afghan Bamian. Thus many great traditions are connected with the ancient valley of Kulu. And the Pandavas themselves, after the great war of the Mahabharata, regarding Nag-gar as the best site, settled there. On the high hill above the Thata temple can be seen ruins of the castle of these great warriors.

The Kulu Valley has its hero-protector—Narasimha, a Rajput Raja. A beautiful legend surrounds the name of Narasimha. The Raja had to flee from Rajputana. As a humble coolie the learned ruler hid in the Kulu Valley. Under the mantle of a simple worker he hid his identity but his great erudition did not permit him to remain unnoticed. The light of his justice and knowledge shone over his neighbors. The people guessed that no ordinary man had come among them and they of their own free will accepted Narasimha as their Raja. The ruins of the castle of Narasimha still stand, in Naggar and an image of the hero is erected under an old deodar. According! to legends, Narasimha protects the Kulu Valley. And woe to him, who evokes the just anger of the hero Raja. As a majestic white-bearded seer he is said to visit his country by night and many people have seen him and have been blessed by the ruler.

Narasimha protects the rich harvests. He fills the valley with fragrant flowers, and at the will of the hero, the trees are covered with luscious fruits. Now he will protect Urusvati, our Himalayan Research Institute!

And above the image of Narasimha rises the white summit of the Guru Guri Dhar—the path of the Spiritual Teacher.

Naggar
1929



Museum Address: 188414, Izvara Village, Volosovo District, Leningrad Region, Russia.
Phones: +7-813-73-73-273 (group tours); Phone/Fax +7-813-73-73-298 (general)
Museum Director: Cherkasova Olga Anatolievna E-mail: isvara_museum@mail.ru