M A I N   N E W S

Kullu Dasehra kicks off amid gaiety, political fervour
Kuldeep Chauhan/TNS

Kullu, October 24
Amidst the beats of dhol and the vibrant sound of ‘shehnai’ and cymbals played by the ‘bajantris’ — traditional musicians — the sacred ‘rath’ (chariot) of Lord Raghunath pulled by thousands of devotees rolled out with gaiety, kick-starting the weeklong international Kullu Dasehra festival at Dhalpur Maidan here today.

With elections round the corner, the event saw a rare politico-religious confluence as a sea of humanity descended on the historic ground, keeping the age-old tradition of brotherhood and goodwill alive.

Unlike Dasehra festivities in the rest of the country, the devotees here do not burn effigies of demon Ravana, Meghnad and Kumbhkaran. The devotees pulled the chariot of Lord Raghunath amidst the chants of ‘Har Har Mahadev’.

Chariots belonging to various gods in the Valley will camp for six days here. Governor Urmila Singh formally inaugurated the festival at Lal Chand Prarthi Kala Kendra and urged people to promote the rich cultural tradition of the state.

It is believed that Lord Raghunath eliminates the demons and heralds an era of peace and prosperity in the Valley of gods.

Like in the past, the two devtas (gods) from Banjar — Shringa Rishi of Kothi Chehni and Balu Nag of Tandi — did not participate in the rath yatra.

The Kullu Dasehra committee under DC Kullu kept them confined to their camps. “We have invoked Section 144 and kept them confined to their camps,” said Kullu Deputy Commissioner Dr Amandeep Garg.

As chief representatives of Lord Raghunath, Maheshwar Singh and his brother Karan Singh, the present scions of the erstwhile kingdom of Kullu, were dressed up in their traditional attire and accompanied the rath. Maheshwar Singh will stay put in the camp for all six days even as electioneering is at its peak.

It is for the first time that Kullu Dasehra has come under the scanner of the Election Commission of India. Election observers are camping at Dhalpur Maidan and are videographing ceremonies to check whether the festive platform is being misused for political gains. Maheshwar Singh heads the Himachal Lokhit Party and his brother is a Congress candidate from Banjar.

Local politicians made their presence felt among devotees (read voters) and sought blessing of the Lord Raghunath and Devi Hidimba.





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |