Covid puts the breaks on Lord Raghunath’s chariot, only 200 to pull it at Kullu Dussehra fest

Even as Lord Raghunath’s priests have started preparations for Dussehra festivities, which commence with the Rath Yatra, arrangements are being made to ensure strict compliance with social distancing rules
Last year’s festivities: Devotees carry the palanquin of deities at the Dhalpur ground in Kullu.(HT Files)
Last year’s festivities: Devotees carry the palanquin of deities at the Dhalpur ground in Kullu.(HT Files)
Updated on Oct 12, 2020 03:40 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Shimla | ByNavneet Rathore

Shimla: Every year, more than a 1,000 persons pull the chariot of Lord Raghunath during the historic week long International Kullu Dusshera Festival. This time, however, because of the Covid-19 outbreak, just 200 will be present.

Only a few chariots of other gods and goddesses will be present at the yatra , it has been learnt.

Even as Lord Raghunath’s priests have started preparations for Dussehra festivities, which commence with the Rath Yatra, arrangements are being made to ensure strict compliance with social distancing rules.

The Dussehra Festival Committee is also planning to ensure less crowding as the grounds are readied for the chariots. There’s no confirmation as yet on the cultural festivals and arrival of traders for setting up stalls.

The Kullu district administration has also sought guidelines from the state government on organising the festival.

“Dusshera will be celebrated according to state government orders and preparations are being made for the festival as well as Lord Raghunath’s Rath Yatra,” said Maheshwar Singh, chief priest of the Lord Raghunath temple.

“Due to the pandemic, however, people will have to take care of a lot of things,” he warned.

Every year, more than 300 deities congregate at Kullu’s Dhalpur ground to honour Lord Raghunath, who is the presiding deity of the town, during the festival, which attracts four to five lakh people from across India and abroad.

In 2020, things are definitely going to be different because of coronavirus.

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