Kullu Dussehra and Holi – Main Festivals of Kullu
The Main Festivals of Kullu are Dussehra and Holi. Kullu has managed to retain its rich cultural heritage, local art and traditional charm. Its famous Dussehra and Holi festivals are known world-wide today. People throng in thousands to witness the festivities during Dussehra. All hotels and accommodations are totally booked during this period and visitors must make arrangements in advance.
The Famous Kullu Dussehra
Kullu Dussehra celebrations spanning seven days is a world renowned event today. The festival takes place in October or November based on the Hindu calendar. Dussehra is a celebration of Lord Rama’s victory over the ten headed King Ravana symbolizing the victory of good over evil. As a unique tradition, Kullu Dussehra celebrations begin on Vijay Dashmi day when the Dussehra festival ends in the rest of the country.
The religious beliefs and cultural practices of the people are beautifully showcased during the festivities. Around 200 visiting deities from the villages in the district are carried in a dancing frenzy with traditional drums and trumpets, colorful costumes and enthralling processions. Thousands of people from all over the world throng to the Dussehra grounds to witness the grand celebrations. Visiting pilgrims from the neighboring villages are accommodated in the tents specially set up in the Dussehra ground.
A 10 day fair with hundreds of colorful shops selling everything from footwear to kitchenware is a major attraction for the locals. Keeping the approaching winter in mind woolens, quilts, carpets etc are sold in large quantities. One can eat to their hearts content, shop till they drop and enjoy the amusement rides or just walk around taking in the vibrant atmosphere.
Kullu Dussehra has been accorded the status of an International Festival. Kullu Dussehra has become a matter of immense pride not only for the locals but also for the Local Administration which organizes the event. The last few years, the local administration has been taking great pains to broaden the cultural horizons by inviting performing artists from more than 25 countries from across the world including England, Finland, African sub-continent and Europe. Cultural programs are held every evening for 7 days. Prominent Indian singers, dancers and artists from other genres are also showcased.
Like in the rest of India, the festival of Holi is much awaited in Kullu. Holi, also known as the festival of colors is celebrated over a period of two days. The celebrations begin from at the local temple where all the villagers gather in the morning and offer prayers. They then proceed to the homes of their friends and relatives playing drums and singing songs.
People smear each other with colors in merriment. Food and drinks are served to the revelers as they walk from home to home playing their drums.The entire village participates in this fun festival including young and old, men and women. Schools, shops and all business establishments are closed during Holi.