The famous week-long Kullu Dussehra festival that attracts a large number of people from across the country and abroad to this hilly district of Himachal Pradesh started on Sunday with traditional fervour.
It is distinct from the Dussehra festivities in the rest of the country as there is no burning of effigies of Ravana, his brother Kumbhakarna and son Meghnad.
The festivities, which revolve around the presiding deity Lord Raghunathji, started with arrival of goddess Hadimba from Manali and other deties in colourful palanquins accompanied by huge processions.
Governor VS Kokje witnessed the parade with his family in which about 250 gods and goddesses took part.
The idol of Lord Raghunathji is brought from Sultanpur temple located in the palace of erstwhile ruler of Kullu and taken in a procession.
Deputy Commissioner of Kullu Abhishek Jain, who is deputy chairman of the Dussehra Organising Committee, said elaborate security arrangements have been made for the festival.
Instead of burning of effigies on the concluding day of the Kullu Dussehra, five animals are sacrificed at the banks of Beas river. Goddess Hadimba returns to her abode Manali and Lord Raghunathji is again seated in the temple.
According to local folklore, Kullu Dussehra was started in 1661 by former ruler Jagat Singh.
Besides, traditional songs and dance programmes, Bollywood singer Shreya Goshal and a host of Hindi and Punjabi artistes are all set to regale the audience.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh was to attend the concluding function of the Kullu Dussehra, but with model code of conduct coming into effect he would not make to the occasion now.