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Kullu Dussehra ends as assembled deities start returning

Kullu, Oct 6 (IANS) The weeklong Kullu Dussehra festivities, unique to this Himachal Pradesh town, ended on Friday as over 225 assembled deities started their journey back to their temples in beautifully decorated palanquins amid sounds of trumpets and drums.

Kullu Dussehra is a centuries-old festival and celebrations begin on ‘Vijaya Dashami’, the day festivities end in the rest of the country.

As per the tradition, the Kullu Dussehra festivities came to end with the chariot of chief deity Lord Raghunath, being pulled by thousands of devotees, returning to the Lord Raghunath temple here.

The festival dates back to 1637 when Raja Jagat Singh was the ruler of Kullu. He invited all local deities in Kullu from various temples to perform a ritual in honour of Lord Raghunath during Dussehra.

Since then, the annual assembly of deities from hundreds of village temples has become a tradition.

The administration has been inviting the deities ever since the rule of princely states came to an end and giving a honorarium to the ‘kardars’ (attendants to the deity concerned) for participating in the festival.

Unlike other places, effigies of Ravan, Meghnad and Kumbhakaran are not burnt here.

All the assembled deities, before departing to their temples, participated in the Lankadahan ceremony on the banks of the Beas river.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh participated in the festivities on the concluding day and announced a hike in honorarium for the attendants to the deity for participating in the festival.

He said this festival not only spoke in volume about the rich cultural legacy of the state worldwide but also provide a platform for the promotion of state’s rich handloom and handicraft.

The picturesque Kullu Valley is known for its local demigods and ancient shamanistic traditions that govern the lives of the ethnic communities.

Every village has several resident “gods” and “goddesses” – who are invoked as living deities.

The conduit between the mortals and the deities are the “gur”- the traditional shamans of Himachal, who form the core of the communities’ spiritual sustenance. The “gur” mediates between the people and the gods.

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