Kullu Dussehra 2018
Kullu celebrates the festival of Dussehra with a unique enthusiasm and enjoyment. Dussehra in Kullu, celebrates the defeat of the demon Ravana with a massive mela (carnival) and parade, led by the huge rath (chariot) holding the statue of Lord Raghunath from the Raghunath Temple in Sultanpur. Kullu Dussehra is celebrated on the tenth day of the new, or "white" moon in October, around 200 to 250 devtas (deities) make their way to Kullu to pay homage to Raghunath ji. Kullu Dussehra 2018 will be celebrated on the occasion of Vijayadashami starting from 19th October 2018.
Nine days long festivities will be held on the occasion of Kullu Dussehra 2018. Every year a mela is being organized, a temporary bazaar (market) is set up, which sells everything from locally made kullu shawls and shoes, to colorful plastic toys. The graceful Natti dance is being performed by several local groups, hence a great interest to be watched. Many travelers actually stay in Kullu town and the only real attraction is the annual Kullu Dussehra festival.
All over India, Dussehra festival celebrates the defeat of the demon Ravana, by the god Rama, a story told in an ancient Hindu epic, Ramayana. In Kullu, local traditions add their own spice to this festival. These traditions started back in the 17th century, when the ruler, Jagat Singh, accidentally caused the death of a Brahmin priest. To make up for his sin, he established deity Raghunath on his throne and pledged that thereafter he and his descendants would rule Kullu. The image of lord Raghunath was brought all the way from the holy town of Ayodhya, the birth place of Lord Rama.
From then on, every September/October, Lord Raghunath "invites" all the local gods and deities of the valley, to celebrate Dussehra in Kullu. These gods, around 250 of them, include Hadimba, the deity of the Kullu rajas from Manali, and Jamlu Rishi (sage), the prevailing deity of Malana who administers justice via the village priest. The gods are carried on palanquins (buggy) from their own temples and arrive at the Dhalpur Maidan in a cheerful parade (yatra) accompanied by the energetic beat of drums.
Kullu Dussehra Images
Temples in Kullu
Kullu serves as a perfect transport hub if you're traveling going to Parvati Valley, or the several temples situated around the town, some of which provide beautiful valley views. In October, when the entire residents of the valley and surrounding villages comes to town to celebrate Dussehra, the city takes on a life of its own.
Kullu’s most famous temple, the Raghunathji Mandir is home to a sacred statue of Lord Raghunathji, a manifestation of Rama, brought to Kullu by Raja Jagat Singh in the mid-seventeenth century. The raja had been advised by his priests to install the sacred icon here and crown it king in his place, and to this day the Kullu rajas consider themselves mere viceroys of Raghunathji, the most powerful devta in the valley and the focus of the Dussehra procession. The temple is tucked away behind the Kullu rajas’ Rupi Palace above the bus station. Half an hour’s walk further up, the paved trail leads beyond the village of Sultanpur to a high ridge, with excellent views over the Beas River to the snow peaks in the east. Vaishno Devi Mandir, a small cave-temple that houses an image of the goddess Kali (Durga), is a stiff 3km further on.
Bijli Mahadev Mandir
Another important temple, the Bijli Mahadev Mandir, stands 8km southeast of town, atop the bluff that overlooks the sacred confluence of the Beas and Parvati rivers. Although it’s closer to Bhuntur than Kullu, you have to approach the temple via the Akhara Bazaar–Tapu suspension bridge and a well-worn track south along the left bank of the Beas. Bijli Mahadev is renowned for its extraordinary lingam. Bolts of lightning, conducted into the inner sanctum by means of the 20m, trident-tipped pole, are said to periodically shatter the icon, which later, with the help of invocations from the resident pujari, magically reconstitutes itself. From the temple, which has a basic rest-house, there are superb panoramic views of the Parvati and Kullu valleys and Himachal’s highest peaks.
Read More: Bijli Mahadev Trek, Kullu
Image from ellen reitman @flickr