Kullu Dussehra to be a tepid affair under Covid shadowUpdated: Oct 21, 2020, 21:47 IST
The centuries-old Dussehra celebrations and Lord Raghunath yatra in Kullu will be a humble affair this year, owing to the stringent Covid pandemic guidelines which call for limited participation, social distancing and wearing of masks.
Usually, over 300 deities congregate at Kullu’s famous Dhalpur ground, the venue for the Dussehra celebration. However, this time the district administration has allowed only seven while a maximum of 100 persons is permitted to pull Lord Raghunath’s chariot.
Last year, the district administration had invited more than 330 deities for the festival. As many as 250 deities participated in the rath yatra. Kullu Dussehra is the largest cultural events in the state where more than three lakh people take part in the festivities that span over a week.
The district administration on Wednesday issued the standard operating procedure (SOP) for the Dussehra festival. It has only permitted Lord Raghunath, Hadimba Mata, Tripura Sundari Naggar, Bijli Mahadev of Kharahal valley, Lord Jamlu of Peej, Adi Bhrama of Khokhan, Lord Laxmi Narayan of Sainj (Raila) and Lord Bir Nath of Dhalpur, along with the limited numbers of bajantaris, gur, pujari, kardars and hariyans, to take part in the traditional procession.
The kardars of the deity have to submit a list of persons accompanying them before October 23 to enable the health authorities to take their samples accordingly. No deity except the ones mentioned above shall participate in the festivities.
Only 200 persons, including the Hariyans Devlus of the above mentioned deities, having a Covid negative report shall be allowed to participate in the rath yatra of Lord Raghunath with face masks, gloves and social distancing.
No persons other than those having permission to participate in rath yatra shall be allowed on the procession track and the inner and outer peripheries of the Dhalpur ground shall be completely sealed during the yatra — first and the last day of the festival.
The persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 are advised not to attend the festival. All the devotees accompanying the deities shall ensure self-monitoring of health, downloading Arogya Setu app reporting to the authorities in case of any illnesses. All the devotees and visitors will not be allowed in without masks.