Beautiful hill towns and vibrant festivals are a great combination. Here’s to one such festival in a gorgeous location- the Kullu Dussehra. This highly anticipated week-long festival is quite grand, to say the least! Held every year in Dhalpur maidan, people of Kullu Valley come together to rejoice the triumph of good over evil. The Dussehra celebrations in Kullu are completely different from the rest of the country. Here’s how!
The history of Dussehra celebrations in the district goes back to the 17th Century. According to a local legend, a Brahmin priest was accidentally killed by Kullu’s king Raja Jagat Singh around the 17th century. To make up for this, the king abdicated his crown and put an idol of Lord Raghunath (Lord Ram) on the empty throne, pledging that only the lord and his successors would rule the Kingdom of Kullu thereon. It is believed that since then, Lord Raghunath has invited other gods from the heavens to celebrate Dussehra in Kullu.
Each kingdom in Himachal Pradesh has one main devta whose priests and caretakers are members of that royal family. he concept of demigods, or devtas, is ancient and is prevalent across the Himalayan region. Traditionally, demigod worship is based on the concept that people work for the god and in return, the god provides them with sustenance and protects them from harm. And this is where Kullu Dussehra, an internationally renowned festival, comes into the picture.
The festival is truly unique in the entire Himalayan region, and it continues to grow year by year. The devotees in Kullu carry out a procession wherein they carry the idols of different gods on their heads to meet Lord Raghunath in the temple. Hundreds of gods are brought to the temple grounds on the day of Dussehra, including Hadimba and Jamlu Rishi. It is not just about gods and their devotees—there are other cultural festivals that take place at this time, as well as sporting events and small-scale trading.
Over the years, Kullu Dussehra has evolved and changed, and it is now a more commercial event than it was in the past. Many international travelers like to visit Kullu during Dussehra to witness the grand celebrations. People from Ladakh, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, and other Himalayan states also attend and participate in the festival. The last day has a symbolic significance. Devotees collect a pile of wood and set it on fire to mark the destruction of Lanka and the eventual prevalence of good over evil.
So, if you are planning on witnessing Kullu Dussehra this year, block your calendar from October 8 to October 15. You also have the added advantage of exploring the beautiful hill town and its neighbouring valleys, known for its lovely gorges, wondrous waterfalls, chatty mountain streams and, curious wooden temples, all of which are certainly going to enthrall you.
Have a Happy Dussehra!