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Kullu Dussehra, Kullu

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One of the most important and colorful festivals celebrated at the 'Valley of Living Gods' - Kullu is its Dussehra. When the Ram Lilas come to an end with the burning of effigies of Ravana, Meghantha and Kumbhkarna; in all the other parts of the country, the joyous celebrations at Kullu get kicked off devoid of this burning ritual.

These week long celebrations revolve around the presiding deity "Lord Raghunathji" with the conversion of the sprawling Dhalpur Maidan into a temporary abode of Lord Raghunathji. The festival presents an antique blend of faith and festivity.

The image of Lord Raghunathji is brought to this ground from Sultanpur temple located in the palace of erstwhile Kullu king and is taken in a procession. The local `Deities` also join this procession. The idol of the Lord is placed on a massive chariot. Devotees pull the ropes of this decorated chariot as it is considered auspicious and is a harbinger of fortune and prosperity. Goddess Hadimba also holds a special significance in these celebrations as the celebrations can not be started without her arrival from Manali.

The chariot of Lord Raghunathji is taken near the banks of Beas on the last day of the festival. A huge pile of wood grass is set on fire there symbolizing the burning of Lanka. The sacrifice of five chosen animals follows. This procedure is termed "Lanka Dahan." Goddess Hadimba returns to her abode after `Lanka Dahan` and Lord Raghunathji also returns to His temple. The local deities also leave Dhalpur for their respective villages after this sacrifice.

Being declared an international event by the state government, the festival observes a wide array of cultural performances by local, state, national and international troupes in the evenings.

The festival is also a very good time for the traders. They set up temporary stalls all over the valley offering their wares thus making the festival a ripe time for shopping. The spirit of sheer enjoyment reins the entire region during the festival. The art lovers spend their nights at Kala Kendra enjoying the International Cultural Festival at its open-air theatre. To sum it up, Kullu Dussehra is a festival that brings something for everyone and rejuvenates the spirit of people in its real means.