Kullu (Himachal Pradesh), Oct 24 (IANS) The deities of Kullu Valley won't get the 'blessings' of politicians in the week-old Kullu Dussehra festival that began here Wednesday -- thanks to the Election Commission.
More than 220 deities have been assembled here for festival that starts on 'Vijaya Dashami', the day when the festivities end in the rest of India.
"Normally the head of the state (chief minister) participates in the Dussehra festivities," Deputy Commissioner Amandeep Garg told IANS.
He said this time, due to model code of conduct in force on account of assembly elections, politicians cannot use the festivities as a platform for political gains.
All eyes will be on Maheshwar Singh, the scion of the erstwhile Kullu royal family who is the "chief representative" of Lord Raghunath (Lord Ram), Kullu's chief deity.
Singh performs all religious duties. He leads the procession on the first and last days of the festival.
A former BJP rebel, Singh is contesting the election from Kullu.
Garg said the entire festival would be videographed by the Election Commission.
Himachal Pradesh Governor Urmila Singh inaugurated the festival Wednesday and witnessed the arrival of Lord Raghunath's palanquin.
The Kullu Dussehra dates back to 1637 when Raja Jagat Singh ruled the valley.
He invited all the local deities to take part in the festival. Since then, the assembly of deities from hundreds of villages across Kullu district has become a tradition.
Unlike other places, effigies of Ravana, Meghnad and Kumbhakaran are not burnt here.
The Kullu Valley is popularly known as "Devbhoomi" or the land of gods.