Shimla: The week long Kullu Dussehra festival will be held from October 24-30 this year with traditional fervor and gaiety. This was disclosed by Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal today who presided over Kullu Dussehra meeting today.
Dhumal said the festival will be inaugurated by Governor Urmila Singh on October 24. Dhumal said international troupes have confirmed their participation in the festival. He said this year troupes from Russia and Brazil have confirmed their participation in the festival.
“Three days folk dance festival will also be a part of the Dussehra fair”, Dhumal said.
Chief Minister said fool proof security arrangements will be made for the fair and all departments have been ordered to work in tandem.
It is celebrated in the Dhalpur maidan in the Kullu valley. Dussehra at Kullu commences on the tenth day of the rising moon, i.e. on ‘Vijay Dashmi’ day itself and continues for seven days. Its history dates back to the 16th century when local King Jagat Singh installed an idol of Raghunath on his throne as a mark of penance. After this, god Raghunath was declared as the ruling deity of the Valley.
According to legend, In the 16th Century, Raja Jagat Singh ruled over the prosperous and beautiful kingdom of Kullu. As the ruler, the Raja came to know of a peasant by the name of Durgadatta who apparently possessed many beautiful pearls. The Raja thought he should have these treasured pearls, even though the only pearls Durgadatta had were pearls of Knowledge.
But the Raja in his greed ordered Durgadatta to hand over his pearls or be hanged. Knowing of his inevitable fate at the hands of the king, Durgadatta threw himself on the fire and cursed the king, “Whenever you eat, your rice will appear as worms, and water will appear as blood”.
Doomed by his fate, the Raja sought solace and searched out advice from a Brahmin. The Holy man told him that in order to eradicate the curse, he must retrieve the idol of Ragunath from Lord Ram’s kingdom. Desperate, the king sent a Brahmin to Ayodhya. The Brahmin took the idol and set out on his journey back to Kullu. The people of Ayodhya, finding their beloved Ragunath missing, set out in search of the Kullu Brahmin.
On the banks of the Saryu river, they approached the Brahmin and asked him why he had taken Ragunath ji. The Brahmin recounted the story of the Kullu king. The people of Ayodhya attempted to lift Lord Ragunath, but their idol became incredibly heavy when headed back towards Ayodhya, and became very light when headed to Kullu.
On reaching Kullu Ragunath was installed as the reigning deity of the Kullu kingdom. After installing the idol of Lord Ragunath, Raja Jagat Singh drank the Charan-Amrit of the idol and the curse was lifted. Jagat Singh became Lord Ragunath’s regent. This legend is connected with the Dussehra at Kullu. This idol is taken in a Ratha to the Dussehra.