Shimla: The week-long Kullu Dussehra festival got off to a spectacular start with the traditional Rath Yatra of Lord Raghunathji at sprawling Dhalpur Maidan at Kullu.

The Kullu Dussehra celebrations are different from celebrations in other parts of the country as no effigy of Ravana or Kumbhkarna is burnt and Ramlila is staged.

The celebrations commence on 'Vijaya Dashmi' day and over 250 local deities of the valley assemble and camp at Dhalpur maidan for a week to pay obeisance to Lord Raghunathji, the presiding deity.

Kullu Dussehra is an amalgam of history, culture and customs and the entire valley remains agog with religious fervour for one week and the Raja of Kullu remains the star attraction during the festival.
 
Although the Election Commission has banned all political activities at the venues of religious festivals, Raja Maheshwar Singh of Kullu, who is president of Himachal Lokhit Party and contesting election from Kullu, would have an advantage of being in the thick of all functions and also lead the procession as 'Chharidar' of Lord Ragunathji and pulling his royal chariot.

The Kullu Dussehra dates back to 1637 AD when Raja Jagat Singh was the ruler of the valley.


(Agencies)

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