Rath Procession

The Tradition of Kula Devi Idol

Kaulantak Peeth also known as Kulant Peeth or ‘Kula Peeth’ is famous for special idols of Devi Devatas, Rishi, Munis, Yaksha, Nagas, Gandharva, Beera etc. There are different types of idols which would leave you awestruck. Few idols are consecrated and established like in most temples in India, while most idols are living and moving idols which are known as Deva Rath, Mali Mukh, Kardi and ‘Nashan’.

The meaning of ‘Rath’ is chariot. But these chariots are sans the wheels but look like the palanquins because these Raths, Mali Mukh, Kardi and ‘Nashan’are special structure that carry the powers of the Devi or the Devata.
You must understand different types of Raths, Mali Mukh, Kardi and ‘Nashan’

Different types of ‘Deva Ratha’

Deva Ratha is a royal wooden structure, that looks similar to palanquin, which is decorated with metal masks that are made of Gold, Silver, Guilt, Iron, Copper etc. You can identify two types of Deva Ratha easily:

The most common Ratha is carried on two poles known as ‘Jamana’ (poles) on the shoulders of two men. The other Ratha is carried by one man on his head.

The Ratha that is carried on head is lightweight and can be carried by one person. In ancient times, there were just few Ratha in the Kaulantak Peeth because of the geography of Himalayan area, it was easier to carry the Deva Ratha on Head and visit any place of spiritual importance, like the temples and villages.
a) These types of Ratha are known as Karadu. Karadu means the Holy Basket. The Karadu is of different shapes and sizes, made up of wood, metal, bamboo etc. and decorated with pieces of long silk and brocade cloth. These Karadu holds the Mali Mukh (Masks) of the respective Devi-Devatas.
b) There is another Karadu that looks similar to ‘Palaki’ (palanquin).
One can easily identify the big Ratha which are ‘Pheta Ratha’ (Slanting) and ‘Khada Ratha’ (standing).

Khada Rath

This Rath is identifiable by its unique either mushroom type canopy or the dome shaped canopy (made up of metal).
Another unique feature of the mushroom type canopy is that one can see black hair inside the mushroom canopy.

Then comes the neck area of the ‘Khada Rath’ wherein there are total eight Mukh of Devi-Devata in four directions. One can see this type of ‘Khada Rath’ in Saraj Valley of Kaulantak Peeth.

The ‘Mushroom’ type of ‘Khada Rath’ means that Gods and Goddesses are seated in ‘Dhyana Bhav’ (meditative posture) like Siddhasana, Padmasana. In Kaulachar mushroom canopy represents, ‘Chatush Pramukh Amanaye Vidhi’.

Pheta Ratha

This looks similar to big chair decorated with different Mukha seated on the front side only. In Kaulachar it represents ‘Ek Amanaye’, which means omni-dimensional, that is always ‘Uttara Amanaye’ and the Bhav of this Deva Rath is ‘Veer Bhav’, that is always ready for battle like the great warrior.
Now how would one identify whether it is the God’s Rath or the Goddess’ Rath? The Goddess’ Rath would be decorated with the long ‘Chunri’.

Devi Kurukulla Ji Rath: Kaulantak Peeth

Goddess Kurukulla’s temple is situated in Kotla village of Saraj Valley in Kullu District. It is obvious then, that the Rath of Kurukulla Devi Ji is similar to other Rath with the mushroom type canopy with the brilliant, mesmerising long ‘Chunri’ of the Goddess.

The Rath of presiding Devi Kurukulla Ji is unique. In the front side, there is the ‘Mukth’ (mask) of Kurukulla Devi Ji and in the back side, is the ‘Mukh’ of Vikulla Devi Ji, which is the ‘Tamasic’ form of Kula Devi Ji.

These are in total eight Shri Mukh on the Ratha of Kurukulla Devi Ji. The main Mukh is decorated with ‘Monal Kalgi’ and the feathers of ‘Jujurana’ bird and other ‘Kalgis’. The Devi wears big ‘Nath’ (Nose ring) and the different types of earrings with ‘Mang Tika’ (ornament worn on forehead) with a ‘Mukut’ (crown). Devi wears ‘Chandrahaar’, ‘Chauki’, and different ‘mala’ (garland) of different kinds of jewels, flowers and feathers. The Goddess has long black flowing hair. On the top of the Ratha, above the mushroom canopy, is the ‘Chatra’ made up of metal.

In the front side, just above the two Shri Mukh of Kurukulla Devi Ji, there is a special ornament called ‘Chanani’. The other Shringar of Devi changes according to every occasion, festivals and different Poojan.

In addition to the Rath of Kurukulla Devi Ji, there are also the three ‘Kardi’ of Devi Kurukulla in Kaulantak Peeth. It is made up of copper and inside it there is the ‘Mali Mukha’ of Devi made up of ‘Ashta Dhatu. Because Kurukulla Devi Ji has three main ‘Swaroop’, manifestations, so She has the three Kardis.

The first Kardi carries the Shri Mali Mukh of Sukulla Devi Ji. The second Kardi carries the Shri Mali Mukh of Kurukulla Devi Ji while the third Kardi carries the Shri Mali Mukh of the Tamasic form of Kurukulla Devi Ji known as the ‘Vikulla Swaroop’ of the Devi.

Besides the Kardi, there are the ‘Nashana’ of the Kurukulla Devi Ji. Here are few ‘Nashana’ of Kurukulla Devi Ji.

  • Teer (metal Arrow)
  • Shanghal (metal chains)
  • Chimta ( Metal tongs)
  • Chakra (Metal)
  • Khatvanga
  • Gaz (pointed metal rod)
  • Vajra (Panchashool)