Kullu, Oct 11 : The week-long Dussehra festival commenced at Kullu in Himachal Pradesh, attracting hordes of foreign tourists.
The annual festival begins in the valley on the tenth day of the moon rising or Vijay Dashmi and signifies victory of good over evil.
A procession of Lord Raghunath along with 270 other Hindu deities is taken out. Idol of these deities are brought from different part of Kullu valley and adjoining Mandi District and are kept in camps at Dhalpur Ground along with their devotees.
The royal family of Kullu also participates with full fervor.
The beginning of the festival dates back to 16th century when an idol of Lord Raghunath was brought from Ayodhya by the then ruler Jagat Singh as an act of penance for insulting a priest, after which Lord Raghunath was declared the ruling deity of the valley.
"The family of the Brahmin is still there in Bhuttar. His name is Shaligram Gosain. His ancestor Damodar went to Ayodhya and learnt the whole procedure of worship and from there he stole the deity and brought it here in Kullu. Since then this festival of Vijaydashmi has been celebrated," said Maheshwar Singh, King of Kullu.
The whole valley comes to life with religious ceremonies, cultural activities and shopping. International folk festival is also celebrated during this time.
The festival attracts large number of foreign tourists.
"I really enjoyed the festival. Its energy to see all these people coming from the villages, bringing their gods and deities. It's very different from our culture. We also have big festivals, but they are not so colourful like this," said Nicole Willing, German tourist.
The week-long festival includes performances of various cultural events at the Dhalpur Grounds apart from display of traditional handicraft and hand-woven items of the region.
The event promises to be a gala event but in the wake of recent militant attacks in the country security arrangements have been beefed up. A large numbers of policemen have been deployed and CCTV cameras have been installed at the venue. By Prem