Kullu Dussehra festival to see participation of 20 countries, will revive tourism: CM Sukhu

Shimla: Despite the worst-ever natural calamity in Kullu this monsoon, the upcoming Dussehra festival in the district will be a gala affair, with troupes from 20 countries participating in it, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said on Sunday.

Releasing the promo of the ‘International Kullu Dussehra Festival’, Sukhu said this event would mark the revival of tourism in the region by sending across the right signal that the situation has normalised in Kullu and Manali and these places are all set to welcome tourists. He also virtually inaugurated several development projects worth Rs 12 crore for the Kullu assembly constituency, including a four-storey multipurpose building of the Deputy Commissioner Office, constructed at a cost of Rs 5.49 crore, a statement issued here said.

Following the inauguration, the chief minister presided over a meeting of the Kullu Dussehra Committee here, to review the preparation for the festival, the statement said. During the meeting, the chief minister directed the authorities to undertake the repair and restoration work on the Mandi-Manali National Highway on a war footing to ensure uninterrupted connectivity to the region during the event. Addressing media persons after the meeting, Suku said this year the Kullu Dussehra festival will be celebrated from October 24 to 30.

The Kullu Dussehra, which commences on Vijay Dashmi and continues for seven days, usually sees a footfall of about 4-5 lakh people every year. The festival dates back to the 17th century when King Jagat Singh installed an idol of lord Raghunath on his throne in Kullu as a mark of penance. Following this, Raghunath was declared as the ruling deity of the Valley. Speaking to reporters, the chief minister said that Himachal Pradesh was fully prepared to welcome tourists once again. Highlighting the grandeur of this year’s Kullu Dusshera, Sukhu said cultural groups from different states of India, along with participants from foreign countries including Russia, Israel, Romania, Kazakhstan, Croatia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, Panama, Iran, Maldives, Malaysia, Kenya, South Sudan, Zambia, Ghana, and Ethiopia would take part in the festival.

The festival will feature a cultural parade on October 25 and the Kullu Carnival on October 30. Additionally, 13 departments of the state will set up exhibitions in Pagoda tents, showcasing the region’s rich heritage, the statement said. The chief minister said fairs and festivals play an important role in preserving and celebrating the rich cultural heritage of the state. He reiterated the government’s commitment to conserving these cultural treasures, with Kullu Dussehra being a global symbol of religious beliefs and cultural values. The Kullu district has suffered losses of about Rs 140 crore so far since the onset of the monsoon on June 24 in the hill state, the state emergency operation centre said.

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