International Dussehra Festival in Kullu

December 13, 2018

Himachal Pradesh, The Land of Lords

The festivals celebrated here reflects the rich tradition and culture of the state. Kullu Dussehra is one of such events which is celebrated with great devotion.

The Kullu Dussehra is celebrated in a completely different way as compared to the rest of the
country’s celebration. It does not involve the burning of Ravan’s structure.

The Kullu Dussehra is a week-long festival which starts when the celebrations are over in the other
parts of the country. It is celebrated in the famous Dhalpur Maidan (Ground) in Kullu.
Over 200 Gods and Goddess are carried to Kullu by the locals. The whole vibe during this celebration
is majestic.
Kullu Dussehra is mainly celebrated in the month of October or November.


The history behind this grand festival is quitei interesting. Its comes from the 17th century when Raja Jagat Singh installed an idol of the almighty God Raghunath ji and since then more than 200 deities come together at Kullu for the grand celebration and to pay tribute to Lord Raghunath ji. He is considered to be the holy deity of the Valley.

Raja Jagat Singh was the king of the Kullu valley in the 17th century. During his rule, he got an information about a poor Brahmin named Durga Dutt from a village who has a bowl full of pearls, which was supposedly full of knowledge. After getting this information, Raja sent his troops to fetch the pearls. Durga Dutt was tortured by the troops.

One day, Raja Jagat Singh found that the brahmin has locked himself in a room with his family and set his house on fire. The Brahmin cursed the Raja for his cruel nature. After a few days of the incident, Raja was haunted by the spirit of the Brahmin and started to feel the pain and restlessness caused by his horrifying act. He started hallucinating. He used to see blood in the place of milk and water and worms in the place of rice. He tried his best to get out of this by consulting many raids and hakims but nothing worked. At last a saint, Krishan Dutt came to his rescue and said no medicine would work on the King and only the blessings of Lord Rama can save him. This advice was considered by the Raja and he sent his troops to Ayodhya and asked them to bring the idol of Lord Rama. Krishna Dutt along with a holy priest Damodar Das, installed the idol of Lord Rama at the Raghunath temple in 1651 AD by performing all the rituals.

Soon after this Raja showed signs of recovery and his dreams started vanishing. He also resigned from his throne and started serving lord Raghunath and soon the whole state accepted the lord as their deity and celebrated the first Vijayadashami festival in the state of Kullu . From that day onwards the Kullu Dussehra festival is celebrated with great joy and devotion and is also an international festival which attracts a lot of tourists from the whole world.

On the very first day of celebration, the idol of Raghunath Ji is placed on a chariot which is decorated with traditional gold ornaments which is welcomed by the other deities which are placed on Palkis, beautifully decorated with flowers.

Then the idol is moved from its fixed place to the Dhalpur Ground with the help of big ropes.

The pulling of ropes is considered sacred among the villagers and the whole process is known as “The Rathyatra”. On the following days the Gods are carried in a Palki with traditional dances and
songs to honour the Gods and to seek their blessings.

On the sixth day, a special event called Mohalla takes place. In this all the deities from different villages come together and form a circle around Raghunath ji. This sight is so peaceful and mesmerising. On this day, only the traditional tribal dance of the Malana people takes place, without which the event is considered to be incomplete. Also a special battle between the goats is conducted to honour the Lord which marks as the symbol of strength and power.
On the seventh day, Lord Raghunath ji is moved to the banks of river Beas. A pile of dried grass along with wood is burnt which symbolises the burning of Ravan’s Lanka. After this the holy rituals are performed, the Rathyatra again takes place where the idol is taken back to its original position in the temple. Also the various attending Gods start moving back to their places after seeking the blessing of Raghunath Ji at Sultanpur palace.
Hence, the seven day grand festival comes to an end in a prosperous manner.
The whole city was celebrating the festival with joy and enthusiasm. This whole festival was one of the most rarest things
I have experienced till date and I feel so blessed that i could be a
part of the ceremony.

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