Donning a traditional Himachali cap, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was accompanied by Himachal Pradesh Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar and Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur at the Dhalpur Ground of Kullu.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday attended the historic Dussehra festival of Kullu in Himachal Pradesh.
Narendra Modi on Wednesday became the first Prime Minister to join the famous Kullu Dussehra celebrations in its 400-year history. According to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), “The Prime Minister was welcomed and facilitated upon his arrival in Kullu. This was followed by the arrival of Bhagwan Raghunath ji and it marked the commencement of the Rath Yatra.” The PM also waded through the crowd and reached the Rath to take the blessings of Lord Raghunath.
This time the International Dussehra in Kullu festival will be celebrated from October 5 to 11. The festival is unique in the sense that it is the congregation of more than 300 deities of the Valley.
Earlier, the PM virtually sounded the poll bugle in Himachal Pradesh where Assembly elections are scheduled later this year saying that the previous Governments only laid foundation stones and forgot about the actual projects once the elections were over.He asserted that development in the State has been possible because its people voted the BJP to power both at Centre and in the State.
At a rally held at Bilaspur, where Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur presented Modi with a “Ransingha”, a trumpet-like traditional instrument which the PM played and later said, “This marks the beginning of each future victory.” He said the BJP Government not only laid the stones but also inaugurated the development projects.
He addressed the meeting at the Luhnu ground after inaugurating an All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) hospital and a hydro engineering college, the foundations stones for which were laid by him in 2017.
Modi said Bilaspur has got a “double gift” of development with the inauguration of the AIIMS and the Hydro Engineering College. “I am fortunate to have been a part of Himachal Pradesh’s development journey,” he said, adding that development in the State has been possible because its people voted the BJP to power both at Centre and in the State.
Modi began his speech with the slogan “Jai Mata Naina Deviji”, the temple to which is located in Bilaspur district itself and also extended Dussehra greetings. He said Himachal Pradesh plays a crucial role in ‘Rashtra Raksha’ (national security) and now with the new AIIMS in Bilaspur, it will also play a pivotal role in ‘Jeevan Raksha’ (saving lives). Modi said there were only three medical colleges in Himachal Pradesh in 2014. Eight more medical colleges and the AIIMS have been set up in the last eight years, he added. He said the State can benefit much from medical tourism.
The Grand festival of Dusshera in Himachal’s Kullu
Dussehra of Kullu is unique and differs from festival in other parts of the country where it is celebrated by burning effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Meghnad.
Ras Leela, a dance form associated with Lord Krishna and Gopis, and entertaining plays of Chandravali are performed here.
The festival is also a congregation of about 300 deities of Kullu district.The tradition started during the regime of Raja Jagat Singh in the mid-17th century.
The legend says that the king forcefully tried to take away a bowl full of magical pearls from the possession of a poor Brahmin, who immolated himself and cursed Jagat Singh.
To get rid of the curse, the king, on the counsel of a hermit, procured the rare idol of Lord Rama from Ayodhya in July 1651 AD which was installed in Raghunath temple at Sultanpur. As he recovered, Jagat Singh abdicated his throne to the will of Lord Raghunath and became his ‘Charibardar’ while all deities also accepted the overall lordship of Lord Raghunath. Since then, all the deities of the region assemble at Kullu on Dussehra and pay obeisance to the chief deity.
The festival presents a great spectacle, when the deities in their colourful palanquins arrive at Raghunath temple and take part in a procession.”Here, ‘devtas’ or gods command and the people obey. The gods here are not idols and enshrined in the temples; they are alive,” says the 583-page book compiled after a year-long research and field work.The gods “live” among the people and “speak” to their followers and tell them what to do. They have families and relatives who join them in celebrations.