Kullu, Oct 8 : Over 200 Gods and Goddesses assembled in this Himachal Pradesh town for the week-long Kullu Dussehra festivities that began on Tuesday amidst religious fervour.
The centuries-old Kullu Dussehra celebrations began on 'Vijaya Dashami', the day they ended in the rest of the country.
"More than 200 deities have arrived. The invitation was extended to 330 deities," an organiser told IANS.
Unlike other parts of the country, here effigies of Ravan, Meghnad and Kumbhakarna are not burnt.
However, the 'evil empire' will be destroyed by the assembled deities during the Lankadahan ceremony on the bank of the Beas river on October 14.
Going by the legend, Lord Raghunath's chariot is wheeled out by the tens of thousands of devotees from his temple in Sultanpur in Kullu town on the first day of Dussehra.
The assembled deities accompany the chief deity. They will all stay at Dhalpur ground here till the conclusion of the festival. This time, the festival concludes on October 14.
Governor Bandaru Dattatreya participated in the inaugural festivities. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur will preside over the concluding function.
The festival dates back to 1637, when Raja Jagat Singh ruled Kullu.
He had invited all local deities in Kullu to perform a ritual in honour of Lord Raghunath during Dussehra.
Since then, the annual assembly of deities from hundreds of village temples has become a tradition.
After the abolition of princely states, it is the administration which has been inviting the deities.
According to tradition, the devotees bring the idol of their deity in a beautifully decorated palanquin amid the sounding of trumpets and drums from the respective temples dotted across the picturesque Kullu Valley to this historical town.
The Kullu Valley is known for its local demi-gods and ancient shamanistic traditions that govern the lives of the ethnic communities inhabiting the lower Himalayan slopes.
The valley is also popularly known as 'Devbhoomi' (the land of Gods).
Every village has several resident "Gods" and "Goddesses" -- who are invoked as living deities.
The conduit between the mortals and the deities are the "gur"-- the traditional shamans of Himachal, who form the core of the 'communities' spiritual sustenance. The "gur" mediates between the people and the gods.
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