Weeklong Kullu Dussehra festivities end

October 12th, 2011 - 6:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Alex Ferguson Kullu (Himachal Pradesh), Oct 12 (IANS) The weeklong Kullu Dussehra festivities, unique to this town, ended Wednesday as 226 assembled deities started their journey back to their temples in beautifully decorated palanquins amid the blowing of trumpets and beating of drums.

Kullu Dussehra is a centuries-old festival and celebrations begin on Vijaya Dashami, the day Navratra and Durga Puja festivities end in the rest of the country.

“All the assembled deities at the Dhalpur grounds have started moving back to their respective areas after performing the Lankadahan ceremony. The festival ended peacefully,” Deputy Commissioner B.M. Nanta, chief organiser of the festival, told IANS.

The Dussehra festivities came to end with the chariot of chief deity Lord Raghunath, being pulled by thousands of devotees, returned to the Lord Raghunath temple here.

The festival dates back to 1637 when Raja Jagat Singh was the ruler of Kullu. He invited all local deities in Kullu from various temples to perform a ritual in honour of Lord Raghunath during Dussehra.

Since then, the annual assembly of deities from hundreds of village temples has become a tradition.

The administration has been inviting the deities ever since the rule of princely states came to an end and has been giving an honorarium to the ‘kardars’ (attendants of the deity concerned) for participating in the festival.

Unlike other places, effigies of Ravan, Meghnad and Kumbhakaran are not burnt here.

All the assembled deities, before departing for their temples, participated in the Lankadahan ceremony on the banks of the Beas river, Nanta added.

Every year the festival attracts scores of tourists, especially foreigners, and researchers to know more about resident “gods” and “goddesses” of the Kullu Valley.

“It’s really a divine congregation. I have never seen such a huge gathering of gods and goddesses at one place anywhere in the world,” said Alex Ferguson, a tourist from Britain.

During the festival, transactions worth millions of rupees took place. Kullu and Kinnauri shawls, handicraft, carpets and dry fruits were the major attractions.

The picturesque Kullu Valley is known for its local demigods and ancient shamanistic traditions that govern the lives of the ethnic communities.

Every village has several resident “gods” and “goddesses” - who are invoked as living deities.

The conduit between the mortals and the deities are the “gur” - the traditional shamans of Himachal, who form the core of the communities’ spiritual sustenance. The “gur” mediates between the people and the gods.

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