Kullu Dussehra is however, different in certain ways from Dussehra celebrations in the other parts of the country. It presents cultural ethos of the people and their deep rooted religious beliefs which manifest during this festival with traditional songs, dances and colorful dress. It begins on Vijya Dashmi and lasts for a week. There is an interesting story behind the beginning of Dussehra Festival. And now also, the internationally famous Dussehra of Kullu is celebrated in the same tradition.
Pipal Jatra/ Vasantotsava:
The traditional name of Vasantotasava is Pipal Jatra or it is also called Rai-ri-Jach. It takes place at Dhalpur, Kullu on 16th Baisakh every year. The Raja of Kullu was used to sit in front of the 'Kala Kendra' on a raised platform of Pipal Tree alongwith his courtiers and the traditional dance was held in front of him. Once about 16 Kullu gods participated in this fair but by and by it lost its grandeur. In 1976 AD efforts were made to revive this fair with the help of Himachal Academy of Arts, Culture and Language. The Baishakha is the month of Blooming spring season in Kullu Valley. So the fair has been renamed as Vasantotsava or Spring festival. Cultural programs are organized with classical music songs and dances. Vanstosava is now held from 28th April to 30th April every year. It is also very significant from the business point of view. The people belonging to Lahaul begin to return to their native place after passing cold wither in the valley. This fair gives them an opportunity to buy their agricultural tools and other useful/ needful equipments and items.
This fair is held on 1st Baisakh (April 13) for one day in village Khokhan. The fair is religious and seasonal. The legend connected with he moved by the alluring beauties of the hill springs used to dance at this place with her girl friends who were daughters of Rishis and Munis. The local inhabitants also regard themselves as the progeny of the daughters of those Rishis and Munis. The goddess is worshiped outside and then it is taken inside the temple. The people offer young yellow sheets of barley which are specially sown for the occasion to be offered to the Devi along with garlands. Then a he goat is scarified. Thereafter the women sing and dance around the Rahta carrying the Devi. The devi is also danced about. Men-fold stay on as spectators and on-lookers.
The fair is held on 1st Ashad (June-July) for 3 days in village Bhunter. The fair is seasonal and religious. The fair was started by the Devta of the ilaqua Suraj Pal. Palaghmiar a Devta from mardo also attends. From this day the use of food grains from the newly harvested crops starts after cooked food offerings are made to the gods and then the meal is shared by other relatives and friends. This is known as 'Tahoolikhana' in the local terminology.
This fair is held in Raila on 21st of Baisakh (April-May) for one day. The significance and legend of the fair is religious and recreational. Idol of Devta Laxminarayana is brought from Raila to Sainj. Thereafter the fair starts with folk dances and songs rhythmical with the beat of drums and trumpets.
This fair is held on Kartik 21 and 22 (October-November) for two days and one night in village Dingidhar at Luhri. The significance of the fair is religious and commercial. The fair is held in honor of Devta Jogeshwar and Khegro Maya. The Devtas are worshiped. Nati dances, mimicking, fold dance performances at night are resorted to.
This fair is held on the 27th Vaisakh (April-May) for two days in village Franali at Anni In the fair deities of the adjoining villages participate. The main attractions of the fair are folk dances and other cultural programs.
This fair is held in the month of Bhadon for three days and nights in village Soidhar at Dalash. The fair si altogether religious and is held in honor of Devta Jogeshwar Mahadev of Dalash and Bungli Nag. The devtas are worshipped and natti dances, cultural programs and sorts tournaments are performed.
This fair held on Pon 3rd (Dec.-Jan) for one day. The fair is mainly religious and it is said that Rana and Thakurs the then rulers of Kullu valley were at logger head and used to be constantly at war with one another. To commemorate the battle a ram used to be scarified. The practice of ram sacrifice is still in vogue.
This fair is held on Chait 4th (March-april) for two days in village Dawra. The legend connected with the fair is that once mother Parvati asked Lord Shiva to forget Rama saying that even Rama could change. To prove this she went to Rama in the guise of Sita to deceive him. When Lord Rama saw her he could see through the game and addressed Parvati as mother and enquired as to why she has left his guru i.e. Lord Shiva. The fair starts with worship of Vishnu Bhagwan and the village Devi. Natti dances, folk songs and other cultural programs are the main attractions of the fair.
This fair is held on Jaishth 2nd (May-June) for the three days at Dhoongri (Manali) in the memory of Devi Hadimba who meditated at Dhoogri and was married to Bhima one of the five Pandvas. She had a son from him who was named Ghatotkach. He fought in the battle of Mahabharta. The fair starts with the worship of Goddess Hadimba.
This fair held once in three years, dates whereof are decided by the Brahmins. The fair is held for four days. The fair is commemorated in the memory of Lord Parshu Ram who is stated to have meditated here.
On the first day of the fair reception of Devis and Devtas and their attendants takes place. On the second day Devis and Devtas are propitiated through songs and dances. On the third day they are carried in a procession around the village. On the fourth day, the fair comes to an end after serving community feast.
This fair is held on Maghar Amawas for three days in village Nirmand. The fair associated with the battle of Mahabharta which is said to have started on that day. The fair is also held to commemorate the killings of two demons Dano and Asur who resided at village Nirmand in the form of snakes. The fair starts with a brief recital of Mahabharata and story of Raja Bali in folk songs. Two ropes of munj grass signifying the snake demons are cut into pieces by the Kashtriyas.
The fair is is held in the month of Phagun and hence the name Phagli. The fair is held to show the struggle of supremacy between the god and demon, in which ultimately the god emerges victorious. This fair is also held to commemorate the event of killing the demon by god.A person wearing the mask and a grass tied with the help of strings all over the body acts as a demon and god is represented by GUR (god's spokes man). Special dances 'Deo Khel' and 'Raksh Khel' are performed by these people with the rhythm of the drum-beats. The demon is 'Tundi Raksh' who troubled people living from Manali to Archhandi. Manu Rishi with the help of Shandalya Rishi killed him. Phagli is held at Malana, Jana, Halan, Soil and in all temples of Jamlu.
This fair held in the month of Chaitra or Baisakh, through out the district. One day before the first day of the month delicacies are cooked in the houses and sent to all the relatives. The temples are decorated on the first day. All the villagers assembled there and gur of the god performs 'Deo Khel'. Then the god si teken for a round in th village. All the people greet & pay respect to him out side their houses and seeks his blessings. After completing the round, the god returns to the temple.