Old-timers say it's a centuries-old tradition that helps keep evil spirits at bay. It's a festival of hurling choicest abuses at each other.
The Diyali festival was celebrated by locals on Tuesday night at Naggar village, known for Russian painter and philosopher Nicholas Roerich's estate, 25 km from this town.
"More than 2,000 villagers took out processions in the village with torches of pine and deodar twigs," local resident Sushil Sharma said.
According to the tradition, the festival, which is marked by invoking gods amid the beating of drums and blowing of trumpets, is celebrated on the night of the new moon ('amavasya' or moonless night) in the Poush month (December 16 to January 13).
It is mainly celebrated in villages located in the picturesque Kullu Valley which are normally marooned in snow in winter.
The first torch is lit at the Jagti Pat temple, located in Naggar village, the erstwhile capital of the Kullu rulers. From there, the locals take the torches to their village and home for lighting.
"The locals take out processions through the villages, carrying a man on a pole with sheep horns adorning his head. During the procession, they sing abusive phrases. The abuses help warding off evil spirits," said octogenarian Dule Ram.
Womenfolk are barred from participating in the procession.
After the culmination of the procession at the Jagti Pat temple, the temple priest reads out the forecast of the year ahead.
"Like Diwali, houses are cleaned and 'puja' is performed to mark Diyali. It is also marked by merrymaking and singing of folksongs," Ram added.
The torches would continue to light up their houses for the next two-three days, locals said.
The festival also sees purchase of utensils and clothes and cooking of special dishes.