Kullu Dussehra, commemorated in the highland town of Kullu, is one of the world's largest Dussehra festivals. The tales linked with this event, as well as the massive assembly of followers that it attracts, are both completely implausible. Unlike Dussehra festivities in other parts of India, Kullu Dussehra

Did you know that the yearly Kullu Dussehra attracts approximately 4-5 lakh people? This is, in reality, an actual fact. The graceful event is held in Dhaulpur Maidan, and it begins on the tenth day of the rising moon and lasts seven days. The origins of this event may be traced back to the 16th and 17th centuries when a king erected Raghunath as a penance god in one of the temples.

History of Kullu Dussehra Mela

This magnificent Kullu Valley event commemorates the triumph of virtue over evil. Raja Jagat Singh governed Kullu in the 16th century. When the king learned that Durgadutt possessed white flawless pearls, he became eager to possess them. Even when Durgadutt tried to persuade the King that he did not have the pearls, the Raja was unconvinced. Durgadutt and his family set themselves on fire and cursed the Raja. On the advice of a knowledgeable Brahmin, the Raja felt terrible and obtained an idol of Lord Raghunath from Ayodhya. The pandit went missing while travelling with the god from Ayodhya. After a prolonged search, the pandit and the God were discovered on the banks of the Saryu River.

When the pandit arrived in Kullu, the Raghunathji idol was placed in a temple. The curse was lifted after the King prayed with great devotion. From then on, King Jagat Singh began conducting the Kullu Dussehra celebration every year. The celebrations became a symbol of pleasure and plenty in the state with music, dance, colorful decorations, and a captivating atmosphere.

Another Legend of Kullu Dussehra Fair

There is another legend about this festival. It was in the 16th century when Raja Jagat Singh used to rule the kingdom of Kullu. Once on a beautiful day, he came to know that there lived a man in his kingdom, a peasant named Durgadatta who was known for possessing some of the most beautiful pearls in the entire world. Hearing this the king thought that he should be the one possessing such beautiful pearls, after all, he was the king. 

In his greed, he summoned and ordered the peasant to hand over the pearls or otherwise be hanged. Now, knowing his inevitable fate, the peasant ended his life by jumping in the fire and cursing the king. 'Whenever you eat, your rice would appear like worms and the water will appear as blood to you.'  

Fearing the curse, the King went to a revered Brahmin seeking his advice. The Brahmin told him that in order to eradicate the curse he will have to get the diety of Raghunath from Ram’s kingdom, Ayodhya. The king was successful in this act of stealing as he had sent a Brahim over there for getting the deity. Now the people of Ayodhya, seeing the missing deity went in search of the thief who was the Brahmin from Kullu.

After much looking, they found him on the banks of the Sarayu river. On being asked the reason to steal the deity, the Brahmin told them the story of their king.  However, to their surprise, they found that while they tried to lift the deity and take it in Ayodhya’s direction the idol became very heavy and while taking in the direction of the King’s kingdom it became immensely light. Thus, it was decided that the idol would be taken to the king’s kingdom.

Once the idol was installed in the temple. The king drank the Charanamrit from the deity’s feet and as soon as he drank the holy water, the curse was lifted. During Dussehra, this deity is taken to the celebrations in a Ratha with great fervor.  

Also Read - Famous Dussehra Celebration in India

Major Attractions Of Kullu Dussehra Festival

On this day, the statue of Lord Raghunath is hauled out in procession and pushed by locals and devotees using ropes. The chariot is transported along the banks of the Beas river on the last day of this celebration. A mound of wood grass is burned here, metaphorically representing the burning of Lanka. On the sixth day, a parade of local Devtas is performed, and on the last day, several sacrifices are offered, such as a fish, crab, rooster, buffalo, or lamb. Aside from it, the event features many more attractions, such as markets, fairs, performances, dance, and music, to commemorate this magnificent festival. It lasts seven days following Navratri and is one of the most popular festivities.

1. Lalhri Natti 

This is held on the Dhalpur field, also known as the Soh of Thara Kardu, elegantly decked with flowers and tents. People gather here dressed in colourful attires, gold and silver mohoras, and jewellery. The vibes are incredible, with drums, ransingas, dhol, nagaras, and shehnai welcoming Devlok to earth. Folks dance all night gracefully long to embrace this fair to the fullest. 

2.  Muhalla

This event revolves around the fun-filled, thrilling fair with enormous swings, and mesmerising dance performances outside Raghunath Temple. The stunning community acts with Krishna gopis, delectable food stalls, and much more. It is magnificently hosted on the second day of Dussehra. People congregate here all night to imbibe in the pleasure of these celebrations, which encompass a variety of events.

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3. Rath

This is the most desired Kullu Dussehra ceremonial, also known as the Chariot procession, in which wonderfully decked palanquins of Gods and Goddesses are carried by folks and enthusiastic band musicians performing traditional melodies, and Raja taps the rope tied to Rath. This celebration begins at the Royal Palace and is preceded by mass slogans praising the gods and goddesses. It is the most colourful, energetic, and dramatic ritual in the Kullu dussehra festival.

Also Read - Dussehra: Interesting & Unknown Facts About This Grand Indian Festival

4. Jaleb

This ceremony is associated with Raja sitting in his rath, and the Jaleb, or procession, takes place from the camp area. Four devtas and musical ensembles accompanied this event. He is greeted in Dhalpur ground with ransingha, a blowpipe, and shesh. Regarding Jaleb, the consensus of 175 Devtas is that 'no ancient custom should be abandoned and no new tradition should be introduced.' This entire event occurs over a period of six days.

5. Bali 

This is a very significant event in Kullu, also termed "Ashtanga Bali," which signifies "eight animals sacrificed to Devi Hadimba," Kullu's most revered divinity. This is an animal sacrifice ceremony, when goats, buffaloes, and rams are sacrificed on the final day of the celebration. This ritual is based on the notion that Bali was presented by a member of the Raja's family, after which Hidimba returns to her house with the head of the sacrificed animal. It is prominently known as “Ashtanga Bali”, meaning eight animals sacrificed to Devi Hadimba, the most sacred deity of Kullu. 

Also Read - History Of Mysuru Dasara 

6. Lanka

This grand Dussehra celebration is regarded as the most dramatic and magnificent! This event happens on the seventh day of Dussehra, when Gods and Goddesses are said to return home. Around 200 deities engaged in the Dahan. Thousands of devotees dragged Lord Raghnath's sacred chariot to Lanka Bekar, near the holy Beas River. From afar, all the deities watch this incident, and Goddess Hidimba is taken further for the final outcome.

How To Reach Kullu

Kullu in Himachal Pradesh is a wonderfully lovely destination to visit and explore. Kulli is not only famous for its Dussehra festival but also for its picturesque vistas. Adventure-lovers, soul seekers, photographers, and nature lovers love soaking in the beauty of the place and engaging in interesting activities. The destination is famous from a tourism point of view and is easy to access from different parts of the country. Let's review the different options for getting there.

  • Nearest Major City. Ludhiana
  • Nearest Airport. Kullu- Manali Airport 
  • Nearest Railway Station. Joginder Nagar Railway Station
  • Distance from Ludhiana.7 hr 52 min

By Air

If you're travelling to Kullu, the best airport to land at is Kullu-Manali Airport (KUU), located near Bhuntar. It is located on the Beas River's banks and is also recognised as a tough landing spot for pilots. This is mostly owing to its one runway configuration. You will need to use public transit, such as a cab, from the airport to your ultimate destination.

  • Distance from Kullu-Manali Airport.>11 km 

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By Train

Joginder Nagar Railway Station is the nearest railway station. However, because there is no direct connection to Joginder Nagar station from Indian cities such as Delhi, Amritsar, and so on, it is preferable to take a flight or go by road using your own vehicle or public transportation.

Still, if you prefer to go by rail, you must take a train to Chandigarh and afterward take a cab or other public transportation options for the rest of the way.

  • Distance from Joginder Nagar Railway Station. 09 km

By Road

You can also travel to Kullu by car. The roads are well-maintained. Kullu enjoys excellent connectivity from nearby towns and cities. In addition to driving your own car, you can use interstate bus services. The HRTC (Himachal Road Transport Corporation) operates several buses from adjacent cities. Private bus services are also accessible on this route. Here's how to get there from different cities near Kullu.

  • Distance from Manali. 41 Km via NH 3
  • Distance from Chandigarh. 267 km via NH154 or NH 205
  • Distance from Patiala. 300 Km via NH 154 
  • Distance from Patiala. 300.5 Km via NH 154
  • Distance from Yamunanagar. 355 Km via NH 154
  • Distance from Amritsar. 369 km via NH 54
  • Distance from Saharanpur. 384.5 Km via NH 154
  • Distance from Dehradun. 418 km via NH7 or NH 205
  • Distance from Delhi. 498 km via NH 44

Are you planning to be a part of this majestic Kullu Dussehra celebration? Then, mate, you are at the right place. Adotrip is the leading travel service provider presenting users with the most hassle-free, swift and easy booking process. 

Frequently Asked Questions Related To Kullu Dussehra

Q1. How is Kullu Dussehra celebrated?
A1.
Vibrant festivities occur during Kullu Dussehra with spectacular events like Lalhri Natti, Muhalla, Rath, Jaleb, Bali and Lanka, each holding a significant cultural belief. 

Q2. What is the significance of Kullu Dussehra?
A2.
Kullu Dussehra is regarded as one of the major festivals in Kullu, during which Goddess Hadimba, the most venerated divinity in Kullu, is fervently worshipped. It is believed to be the gathering of the deities and the joyous celebrations that occur every year.

Q3. When was the Kullu Dussehra festival proclaimed an international fair?
A3.
Kullu Dussehra festival is famed as the International Mega Dussehra Festival in the month of October in Himachal Pradesh.

Q4. Is Dussehra the same as Kullu Dussehra?
A4.
No, The Kullu Dussehra is very different from the Dussehra celebration. It starts when other Dussehra festivities end in India.

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