The country will celebrate Holi festival on March 16 but a unique 40-day-long festivity began in Kullu town on Friday.
Lord Raghunath's (Rama) palanquin was brought to Dhalpur ground here by hundreds of devotees and enjoyed the event by throwing gulal at each other.
Local people have been following the tradition since 1660 AD when the then emperor of Kullu kingdom Jagat Singh had brought the idol of Lord Raghunath from Ayodhaya and installed it at Sultanpur in Kullu. People gather at temple to apply gulal on the idol of Raghunath and celebrate the festival.
Hundreds of devotees pulled the chariot of Lord Raghunath on the ground amid the sounds of drum beats and trumpets.
A huge crowd from the Valley surrounded the chariot to pay obeisance to Lord Raghunath.
Ramesh Thakur, a resident of Kullu, said, "Starting on the occasion of Basant Panchami, the idol of Lord Raghunath will be bathed with colours till March 16."
Thakur said Basant Panchami marked the beginning of spring season, but in Kullu its importance was associated with Lord Rama and Hanuman.