Kullu Dussehra to be a sombre affair this year due to COVID-19

Kullu Dussehra to be a sombre affair this year due to COVID-19

Kullu, popularly known as the Valley of Gods, is famous for a number of reasons. Apart from its grandeur and immense religious significance, the festival also made it to the Guinness Book of World Records in 2016 for bringing together 9892 dancers together. It is also celebrated as the largest cultural event in the Kullu district. Yet, like most festivals and events in 2020, the Kullu Dussehra would also be a sombre affair this year to dissuade people from collecting in large numbers and risking another COVID outbreak.

Unlike every year, when the Kullu Dussehra sees palanquins and coming together of hundreds of deities (it is believed that idols of these deities mark their presence for the festivities), the festivities this year would miss the regular luster. Reportedly, 331 deities were invited last year for the week-long festival; 250 deities usually grace the festival on the first day of the festival every year. In contrast, only seven deities will be a part of the customary rituals this year; also no deities have been invited for the festival. The Kullu district administration is yet to decide if palanquins would be allowed, or if the festival would see only symbolic presence of the said deities.

Kullu Deputy Commissioner Richa Verma commented on the same, “Cultural programmes including international folk dance festivity have been cancelled. None of the deities have been invited officially. Following the government orders, only 100 persons will be allowed to take part in the rath yatra. All of them will have to undergo Covid-19 test and will need to wear face mask and maintain social distancing.”.

The decision has left a number of locals and enthusiasts, who were planning to travel to Kullu to participate in the festival, disappointed.

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