The residents of Kullu district, known as the land of gods where hundreds of deities congregate at the historical Dhalpur ground during the Dussehra festival every year, have deep faith in their local deities, which they inherited from their ancestors since times immemorial.
Even in this modern era, the people of Goshal village in the district have a strange tradition of refraining from work in their fields for 42 days beginning Makar Sakranti under a belief that their local deity Gautam Rishi goes on meditation every year during this period and they do not want to disturb him.
They also keep their television and radio sets switched off completely during this period and even put their mobiles on silent mode to avoid din.
This curious tradition of Goshal village in Manali subdivision, which is 50 km from Kullu district town, makes it a centre of attraction for tourists, who make it a point to visit this place having an ancient temple of Gautam Rishi.
Talking to Hindustan Times, temple priest Rama Kant Sharma said, "With the start of Makar Sakranti, the deity goes on mediation for the next 42 days, which requires tranquility in the village and people believe that if they will indulge in noisy activities, it would disturb the meditation of the deity and may bring them ill fortune".
Nathu Ram, a septuagenarian resident of the village, said, "During this period, nobody in the village cultivates their agricultural land with the help of plough and spade and even trimming of apple plants is prohibited. Even the village women don't use the spade to clean the dung of cow in cowsheds".
The residents of Goshal also cover the Shivalingam installed inside the temple with wet clay on the day of Makar Sakranti. After 42 days when the deity returns after the mediation period as per their belief, the Shivalingam is uncovered and the pieces of dry clay are distributed among the villagers.
The residents claim that these pieces of dry clay sometimes contain coal, gold, silver, wood or other items inside them through which the deity predicts the auspicious and inauspicious happenings for the coming year.