Kullu Dussehra: A mountain festival like none other

Himanchal Pradesh
Himanchal Pradesh

Most of us don’t really need a reason to escape the confines of the city to drive down to the mountains. But travel to Delhi, or if you are lucky enough to live in the capital just hop into a car courtesy Savaari Car Rentals and drive down to Kullu, in October, where you can witness the famous Kullu Dussehra. Make the best of the Oct 22nd (Thursday) holiday and hire a car from Delhi to Manali for a 500 kms long journey like none other.

The roads are in great shape; the route post Chandigarh is quaint and scenic. On the Chandigarh – Manali section of the journey there is plenty to do. Dig into some hearty paranthas at Giani Da Dhaba at Dharampur, or stopover at Chail to take in the glories of the palace. On your way to Manali, every village and hamlet offers a photo op. If you time your travel right, during Dussehra, you will come across loads of smiling people dressed in full costume, as Ram, Lakshman and Ravan, headed to the local Ramlila celebration. Driving through a part of India still unsullied by aggressive development, you will truly be transported to a different time and space, as you witness first-hand, how festivals bring the community together.

Kullu does not celebrate Dussehra with the traditional burning of the effigies of Ravan and Kumbhakarn, but the town promises a historical spectacle like none other. When the rest of the country is winding down celebrations, Kullu hosts a glorious week long festival that begins on Vijayadashami day or Oct 22nd 2015. Every night visitors from all over the world are treated to folk dances and music festivals. You can shop for traditional handicrafts at the various stalls set up in the main Dhalpur Maidan. Or get yourself invited to the home of a local resident from any of the villages by the beautiful Beas river for a traditional Gaddi meal. But the highlight of the Kullu Dussehra has to be the rath yatra that carries the beautiful idol of Raghunath Ji from his abode in the Sultanpur Temple. The resident Goddess Hadimba is also brought down from Manali in a grand procession through the city. The idols of countless other Gods and Goddesses mounted on colourful palanquins join the festivities as well.These rituals date back to 1637 AD when Raja Jagat Singh was the ruler of the valley, and installed the idol of Raghunath Ji on the throne, to atone for his sins against a poor subject, Durgadatta. And till today, the Himachalis and the erstwhile royals of the state preserve this age old tradition. So plan a roadtrip to Kullu this October so you can celebrate Dussehra in unforgettable style.  

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