The week-long international Kullu Dussehra began on Monday with Rath Yatra of presiding deity “Lord Raghunathji” from Sultanpur temple to Dhalpur maidan, the venue of the festival.

The Kullu Dussehra starts when Dussehra festival ends in other parts of the country.

As many as 292 local deities have come to Kullu to pay obeisance to the presiding deity, who would camp at Dhalpur for seven days and religious ceremonies would be held.

Goddess Hadimba arrived at the venue from Manali a day before the Rath Yatra and would leave after the festival is over.

Thousands of devotees joined Governor Urmilla Singh in pulling the ropes of Lord Raghunathji’s Rath as it is considered auspicious.

The Kullu Dussehra, started by then king of Kullu Jagat Singh in 1665, used to be held at Manikaran, but the king brought the old idols of Lord Raghunath from Manikaran to Kullu, said Maheshwar Singh, the present ‘Kardar’ of Lord Raghunath, who is hero of all ceremonies.

Over a dozen cultural troupes from across the country and 11 foreign troupes would perform during the festival. PTI