DUSSHERA DHALPUR, KULLU, HIMCHAL PRADESH, INDIA.

Moving in mysterious ways.

Finely sculpted features adorning the benevolent face of a goddess from Banjar, an adjoining valley 58 kms to the right of Kullu, reflect the high level metallurgy skills of Himachali artisans more widely known for their woodwork. As per some sources Himachal is home to over three hundred gods and goddess, residing in numerous villages and towns. Each with an unique identity and place in the divine hierarchy.

Highly revered by the local populace, the deities are consulted for every need ranging from exorcising evil spirits, stories of which abound in the valley, to advice and guidance in matters of business, happiness and martial bliss.

During the festival of Dusshera that begins as the Bengali festival of Durgostava ends, all divinities are customarily expected to congregate in the town of Kullu to witness the traditional chariot ride of the presiding god Raghunath. Some years, however, a few will choose to be absent expressing divine displeasure with rivals, the people or proceedings – more practical minds label as human politics.

Dusshera in Kullu differs vastly from the traditional effigy burning ceremony of the demon king Ravanna observed in the rest of North India.

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