The 9-day International Dussehra festival which began on Tuesday in the green and panoramic Kullu valley of Himachal Pradesh has a special significance for the place, which is called the valley of Gods.
In this festival all the nine Avtaras of Goddess Durga are worshiped for nine Navratras and on the sacred day of Vijay Dashmi when the Goddesse Durga had slaughtered the devil Mahishasur along with Ravana, Megnath and Kumbkaran.
Kulu Valley is the only place in the world where not only the effigies of Ravana and his brothers are burnt, but according to the centuries old traditions the entire kingdom of Ravana is reduced to ashes.
Tourists and travelers from the entire world are attracted to Dussehra of Kullu. Legend has it that when Maharishi Jamdagni was coming back to India carrying a basket of 18 rare images on his head he was overtaken by a high velocity tsunami while crossing the Chandermukhi Passes of the valleys. People carried the beautiful images and started worshiping them. In their homes and villages.
It is also said that those days Raja Jagat Singh was the ruler of the State of Kullu. He was told by the farmers of the state that one of the farmers was owning rare precious pearls. Raja Jagat Singh, announced with the beat of drums that whoever in his kingdom was possessing the rare pearls should immediately hand over them to the king failing which he would be sentenced to death. Panicked by the announcement, the farmer preferred to jump in to Beas than to be deprived over the rare pearls.
Before dying the poor farmer cursed the king, “ O king, throughout your life the water you will drink will turn into blood, and the food corns served to you for eating will convert into swarms.”
It is said in the meantime a strange thing happened as the image of Ram (Raghunath) suddenly was found missing from the temple. The Brahmins of the valley were called who advised that a new image of Raghunath should be brought from the banks of Saryu River and installed in Kullu in according to religious traditions. They did it and the Raja got rid of the curse of the farmer. And he spent the rest of his life happily.
Since then Dussehrah is being celebrated and the state fair elevated as International fair. The hill-folk has ineffable faith in the the gods and goddesses. They play a big role the day today life of the people and it is believed that both humans and animals are protected from the wrath of nature.
Centuries old Raghunath is the royal deity of the Kulu State. On the eve Dusssehra the Shobha Yatra is headed by Raghunath and followed by hundreds of local deities from Kullu and adjoining districts
According to Chief Minister, Jai Ram Thakur, despite bad weather largest number of tourists are likely to converge on Dussehra Festival and the state government would leave no stone unturned to harness the immense potential of tourism in Himachal Pradesh.