Shimla, Oct 11: The historic International Kullu Dussehra got off to a spectacular start with traditional Rath Yatra of Lord Raghunathji today, while effigies of Ravana, Meghnath and Kumbhkaran were burnt in other parts of the state.
Navratras and Durga Puja also concluded with immersion of idols of Durga at various places. Himachal Pradesh Governor Acharya Devvrat inaugurated the Dussehra at Kullu while chief minister Virbhadra Singh consigned to flames effigies of Ravana, Meghnath and Kumbhkaran at Jakhoo here.
Singh also inaugurated the Rs 1.30 crore 'Kirtan Hall' constructed by Sankatmochan Temple Trust. As many as 245 local deities, who converged at Dhalpur Maidan to pay obeisance to presiding deity Raghunathji, participated in the Rath Yarta.
Kullu Dussehra is unique as there is no Ramlila or burning of effigies of Ravana. It commences when Dussehra celebrations end in other parts of the country and continues for seven days.
Dating back to the 17th century, Kullu Dussehra is a blend of rich culture, history and rituals and thousands of people gather on the first day of the celebrations to pay respect to Lord Raghunathji.
The idol of Lord Raghunathji is brought from Sultanpur temple and is installed on a beautifully designed chariot. The fair concludes with sacrifice of five animals and on the last day the chariot is brought to the banks of Beas River where a mass of wood grass is burnt, signifying the burning of Lanka.