When tourists from abroad in Himachal Pradesh ask you this question, what is there in Kullu which is very famous? So it often comes out of our mouth telling them – Kulluvi Cap! Kulluvi Topi also known as Himachali Topi. And it is famous at home and abroad. To give respect, the Prime Minister of the country, from the Chief Minister of the state to the common man, gifts it as a symbol of respect. But no one knows who was the one to get this recognition?
Late Shri Dinanath Bharadwaj was the one who recognized it. Even before the independence of the country, Late Shri Dinanath Bharadwaj used to make Namde shop in Dhalpur Kullu. He started this shop in 1942 and remained associated with this business till 1962. In this shop, Bhardwaj used to stitch caps along with his craftsmen. He was very hardworking and intelligent. He was very skilled in making nimde (निमदे). His made Nimda was sold for 9-10 rupees. These were often bought only by foreign and rich people. Once a Nimda sold to someone came back due to some error. This caused him a lot of trouble because his many days of hard work was washed away. He was the master of sharp intellect, he cut pieces of lime and made a new type of hat by putting chenille cloth in it, which he named Kulluvi Topi. These caps made by him were sold for Rs 2.50 – 3.00. It was highly appreciated by the people. This is where the kulluvi cap came into existence. Dinanath gradually stopped the work of making Nimde. And it took day and night to unite to make Kulluvi caps and make them famous. People started liking the Kulluvi cap made by him. Seeing them, other artisans of the state also started making similar caps and kept innovating in it from time to time.
Today it is currently available in various formats. The popularity of the hats made by him can be gauged from what was told by his close friend. That once the then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru and Indira Gandhi were going to Manali via Kullu, on the way people gave a grand welcome to them in Dhalpur. People wore him necklaces but Bharadwaj honored him with a kulluvi cap. Her friends tell that Indira Gandhi liked that cap so much that while going back from Manali, she took many caps for her grandchildren and she appreciated this art of Bharadwaj very much. Another friend and colleague of his told that once the shooting of the film “Badnaam” was going on in Kullu-Manali, in which this cap got even more recognition. Kullu cap has got its identity but Dinanath Bharadwaj, who gave it recognition, is not among us. He died on 27th March 2003 in his native village but the Kulluvi cap brought into existence by him will always keep his memory alive forever.