Weeklong Kullu 'Dussehra' in Himachal Pradesh

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Kullu, Sep 29 (ANI): It was a sea of humanity as thousands of people including domestic and foreign tourists gathered at the picturesque hill station of Kullu to herald and participate the week-long 'Dussehra' festival, which commenced on Monday.

The history of Kullu 'Dussehra' dates back to the 17th century when the King Jaganand installed an idol of Raghunath (Lord Ram) on his throne as a mark of penance, after which Raghunath came to be known as the ruling deity of the valley.

During the seven-day long festival, idols of the various Gods and Goddesses of the valley are brought down and assembled at the ground.

"Here Dussera begins with the Utsav (procession) of the chariot of Lord Rama from the main temple. Lord Raghunath stays for seven days at the temporary camp on Dhalpur grounds and on the seventh day goes for Lanka dahan (destruction) and then returns to the temple," said Raghunath, a temple priest.

A large number of visitors from home and abroad throng Kullu to witness this unique congregation of deities during the festival.

"I find it very interesting how people celebrate and how they represent their gods here around and I like the vibration from the music. It is a really nice feeling," said Anna, a tourist from Germany.

Dussehra in Kullu is unique unlike the rest of the country. It is celebrated without the Ramlila or the burning of the effigies of the demon-king Ravana, and his son Meghanath and brother Kumbhkaran.

The festival was declared an "international festival" in 1972. Since then, it has assumed a multilingual dimension and cultural troupes from abroad also perform during the festival, besides from various regions of the country.

It ends with the sacrifice of a buffalo, a rooster, a lamb, a fish and a crab. Simultaneously, a huge pile of grass is set on fire symbolising the burning of Lanka, the kingdom of demon king Ravana. (ANI)

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