The festive season is ongoing with the nine-day celebration of Navaratri. The nine-day celebration will end in Dussehra also called Vijayadashami on October 25. This day marks the culmination of Navratri. However, although everyone else celebrates it as the end of the festival, in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu region people celebrate the beginning of another festive occasion with this day.
The event called the Kullu Dussehra will commence from October 25 and go on for the next 7 days.
Due to the lockdown and restrictions of COVID-19, this celebration will be low-key. Before this holiday, let us further understand the date, significance and celebration.
Kullu Dussehra Dates
Kullu Dussehra on the tenth day of the rising moon, the dashami tithi. Therefore, it will start on the day of Vijayadashmi ie October 25 this year. The seven-day celebration will go on till October 31.
Kullu Dussehra History and Significance
According to legend, Maharishi Jamdagni, one among the Saptarishis went to hermitage at Malana. He carried a basket that was filled with images of 18 different gods.
While crossing through the boring Chanderkhani pass, there was fierce storm and the basket fell off.
All the Gods’ images were abandoned in distant places and people believed that they took the form of deities. So a deity worship began in Kullu valley. The celebration of Kullu Dussehra is linked to worshiping Lord Raghunath. A deity of Lord Raghunath was taken away by a Brahmin from Ayodhya to the Kullu King Raja Jagat Singh. The king was cursed of ill fate by a peasant who held pearls of wisdom and knowledge. The Brahmin had stolen the deity to lift off the king’s curse. On reaching Kullu Ragunath was installed as the reigning deity of the Kullu kingdom. After installing the diety, the curse was lifted and from this day onwards, the deity is taken in a Ratha in a procession on Dussehra.
Celebrations of Kullu Dussehra
Kullu Dussehra is a huge event that sees a massive turnout of more than thousands of tourists every year to Himachal Pradesh. The celebrations sees palanquins and a procession of Lord Raghunath along with other deities. All the major festivities take place in the Dhalpur maidan. There are several cultural events and entertainment programmes for all the guests visiting here for the festival. Thousands of people from all over the country and world visit this place during Dussehra. The last day of the celebrations sees a sacrifice and a big bonfire celebration.
This year, the celebrations have been toned down and everyone will have to strictly follow the social distancing protocols at all times. This time only 7 deities will be a part of the procession, unlike 250 to 300 deities in previous years. The Kullu district administration is yet to decide if palanquins would be allowed.
This year, the celebration has waned, and everyone must always strictly abide by the social distancing agreement. This time, only 7 gods will participate in the parade, compared with only 250 to 300 gods in previous years. The Kuru district administration has not yet decided whether to allow the sedan chair.