The International Kullu Dussehra will be organised from 15 October to 21 October 2021, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said on Monday.
The decision was taken after a detailed discussion on various issues related to the organisation of the International Kullu Dussehra Utsav amid the Covid pandemic in the meeting of the state-level Kullu Dussehra Committee that was held in Shimla today.
Jai Ram Thakur was directed to complete all preparations related to the Dussehra festival in a time-bound manner.
He also directed to ensure proper security system, uninterrupted electricity supply and adherence of Covid-19 guidelines.
Thakur stated that fairs and festivals represent our rich cultural heritage and the state government is committed to the conservation of these fairs and festivals and has been taking various steps in this direction.
“Kullu Dussehra is not only known across the state but is known globally for its unique identity.
This is a reflection of our religious belief and cultural values,” he added.
He further stated that the Covid pandemic had affected the entire world which had also impacted various activities along with the fairs and festivals in the state.
State Education, Language and Art Culture Minister Govind Singh Thakur detailed the meeting that was held with the district-level committee and District Kardar Sangh related to the Dussehra festival.
He also gave various suggestions related to the successful organisation of the festival.
It was decided in the meeting that all deities would be invited for the Dussehra festival while all religious ceremonies would be organised traditionally but the cultural and commercial activities would not be held this year.
It was also decided in the meeting that the Language, Art and Culture Department would provide an additional amount of Rs 10 lakh to district administration Kullu for organising the Kullu Dussehra festival.
It is worth mentioning here that over 200 local deities from various parts of Kullu district participate in this festival which is organized at Dhalpur Ground to pay their respects to the presiding deity, Lord Raghunathji.
Kullu Dussehra celebrates, like the rest of the country, the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana but while the rest of India burns Ravana’s effigy to mark the occasion, the festival celebrates and honours Lord Rama himself.
The Lord Raghunathji temple is the centre of all celebrations though most of the activities happen at the Dhalpur Maidan in Kullu.
The local gods and goddesses of the Kullu district are brought to the temple to honour the presiding deity and give their blessings.
Kullu Dussehra festival dates back to the 17th century when king Jagat Singh is said to have incurred the wrath of a local peasant, Durgadutt while he was looking for some precious pearls.
Cursed and ridden with guilt, the king sought the advice of a saint who advised him to bring the idol of Raghunathji from Ayodhya after which the ruler requested the sage to bring the idol, for it was the only solution to rid of the curse.
Upon the king’s request, the saint left for Ayodhya and he took the idol from the temple after which he started the journey to Kullu but as he was tired, he decided to rest along the Saryu River.
However, by then, the Ayodhya residents got to know about the missing idol and caught the sage. But as they were taking the idol back, it started getting heavier on the way to Ayodhya and lighter while moving towards Kullu.
They considered it as a sign from the gods and the saint was allowed to take the idol to Kullu that eventually freed the king from the curse.
Since then, the festival is celebrated in seven days of music, tradition and dance wherein thousands of locals along with tourists from across the world participate in the festivities.