Kullu, October 8
Governor Bandaru Dattatreya witnessed the “rath yatra” and felicitated people of the valley on the occasion of Kullu Dasehra here today.
The descendants of erstwhile ruler of Rupi (Kullu) valley along with the head of family Maheshwar Singh led the “rath yatra” to commence the seven-day long Dasehra celebrations.
The idols of lord Rama and Sita were placed in a decorated wooden chariot called “Rath” and was pulled by hundreds of devotees from the northern end of Dhalpur Maidan to the camp temple of Raghunathji, which was set up in the middle of the maidan where religious activities and meeting of local Gods and Goddesses will be carried out during the festival.
Many palanquins of gods and goddesses with their bands accompanied Lord Raghunath in the “rath yatra”. Men, women and children in their traditional folk dresses, besides hundreds of foreign and domestic tourists, gathered to watch the event. Rhythmical sound of drums and lilting of “shehnais” added to the gaiety and fervour.
Deities from various parts of Kullu district are participating in the festival after the invitation was sent to 331 deities. Kullu Dasehra is being celebrated since mid-seventeenth century and celebrations begin on Vijaya Dashami, the day when the festivities end in the rest of the country.
Later, the Governor inaugurated the exhibitions put up by various government departments, boards, corporations and other non-government organisations. He visited stalls and appreciated the exhibits. The Governor also performed “puja” at the Raghunathji camp temple at Dhalpur ground. Later during the day, he inaugurated the week-long international folk dance festival by lighting a lamp at Kala Kendra, where various cultural programmes were held.
Govind Singh Thakur, Chairman of the Kullu Dasehra Festival Committee and Transport Minister, welcomed the Governor.
‘Evil empire’ to be destroyed on Oct 14
- Unlike other parts of the country, effigies of Ravana, Meghnad and Kumbhakarna are not burnt in Kullu. However, the ‘evil empire’ will be destroyed by the assembled deities during the Lankadahan ceremony on the bank of the Beas on October 14
- Going by the legend, Lord Raghunath’s chariot is wheeled out by the tens of thousands of devotees from his temple in Sultanpur in Kullu town on the first day of Dasehra
- The assembled deities accompany the chief deity. They will all stay at Dhalpur ground till the conclusion of the festival
The legend says…
- The festival dates back to 1637 when Raja Jagat Singh ruled Kullu. He had invited all local deities to perform a ritual in honour of lord Raghunath during Dasehra
- Since then, the annual assembly of deities from hundreds of village temples has become a tradition
- The devotees bring the idol of their deity in a palanquin from the respective temples dotted across the valley, known for its local demi-gods and ancient shamanistic traditions, to the town
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