This tour will make you experience the culture, customs and traditions of the people of Kullu valley, in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India. This tour will also enable you to experience one of the largest festivals (MELA) of Himachal Pradesh, which is unique in its own sense in the whole of India.'
Dusshera Festival at Kullu
Dusshera, commemorating the victory of Rama over Ravana is celebrated all over India, but the Dusshera of Kullu has got its own significance. Dusshera at Kullu commences on Vijaya Dashmi and continues for seven days. There is no retelling of the great epic, The Ramayana.
On the first day, the idol of Raghunathji saddle on a gaily attired chariot and attended to by village Gods mounted in colorful planquins, is pulled from its fixed place in Dhalpur ground to another spot across the ground by big ropes. The local people regard the pulling of ropes sacred. This forms a huge procession. All the Gods of the valley have to visit Kullu on Dusshera in order to pay homage to Raghunathji.
On the following days in the mornings and evenings the Gods are invoked and praded. The people remain busy buying, selling, singing and dancing during all the seven days of the festival which concludes with the burning of Lanka. The chariot of Raghunathji is taken near the banks of river Beas on the last day of the festival where a pile of wood and grass is set on fire which symbolizes the burning of Lanka and is followed by the sacrifice of chosen animals. The chariot is brought back to its original place and the idol of Raghunathji is taken to its tremple in Sultanpur. The attendent Gods also disperse for their native villages.
During the whole seven days the entire Kullu valley is echoing with the musical melodies & notes, people singing & dancing, drums beating and a jubilant mood. The people from all over the valley come to Kullu town to enjoy themselves and also to shop at numerous shops that are set up in the Dusshera grounds.
The Suggested Tour Programme
Day 01: Arrive Manali
Arrive Manali on own and check in at hotel. Day at leisure. Overnight at hotel.
Day 02: In Manali
Morning half day tour visiting Hadimba Devi Temple, Manu Temple and Vashisht. Afternoon half day tour visiting Naggar Castle, Roerich Art Gallery (closed on mondays) and some other old temples in Naggar village. Evening free to explore Manali market. Overnight at hotel.
Day 03: Manali/ Kullu (40 kms)
Transfer from Manali to Kullu. On arrival check in at hotel. Afternoon transfer to Kullu town to view the Dusshera festival preparations. In the evening view the opening ceremony of the weeklong festival. There are hundreds of people, all in a festive mood, trumpets, drums and other local instruments blowing everywhere. In the evening view the local dances and a cultural programme at the Kala Kendra. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 04: In Kullu
An excursion to Manikaran - a pilgrimage place. Manikaran has the World's hottest Sulphur spring water and is holy to both Hindus & Skihs alike. In the evening visit again the Dusshera grounds to view the festive mood and the colourful people. Shop for a few Dusshera souvenirs. Overnight at hotel.
Day 05: Kullu/ Dharamshala (200 kms/ 6 hrs)
Travel by surface from Kullu to Dharamshala enroute visiting Baseswar Mahadev Temple at Bajaura. Mandi town and Vaidyanath temple at Baijnath. On arrival check in and overnight at hotel.
Day 06: In Dharamshala
Morning half day tour visiting Norbulingka Institute and Kangra State Museum. Afternoon a half day tour visiting Dalai Lama Temple, Bhagsunag Temple and St John’s church. Evening free to explore Mc Leodganj market. Overnight at hotel.
Day 07: Dharamsala/ Amritsar (200 kms/ 6 hrs)
Travel by surface from Dharamshala to Amritsar. On arrival check in at hotel. Late afternoon visit Wagah border to view Flag ceremony on Indo Pak border. Late evening after dinner visit Golden temple to view Palaki Sahib ceremony. Overnight at hotel.
Day 08: Depart Amritsar
Intime transfer to railway station to connect early morning Shatabadi express to Delhi.