Jump right in the midst of Dussehra celebrations. Or, steer clear of all the crowd. This Dusshera, ixigo helps you in taking a call. We have got three of India’s most fascinating and unique Dussehra festivities and also a place, where there’s a lack of it.
Celebrate it your way.
Kullu, Himachal Pradesh.
A strange frenzy sets loose at Kullu around Dussehra. A frenzy that’s so alluring that this little town has hordes of tourists pouring in. Travellers, movie directors, photographers and, of course, the religiously inclined ones. Other than the week long Dussehra fair that’s a flurry of colorful activities and interesting rituals, deities, supposedly, descend at Kullu.
Myths and folklore come alive, as various processions become the order of the day. Various avatars of Goddess Durga and Hindu Lord Raghunath/Rama are taken around the place on palanquins. Going by the legends, these palanquins, though carried by devotees and priests, move on their own. No number of carriers can carry one unless the deity wishes to! That’s what the folklore says!
Dhalpur Maidan, the fair ground, gets all the more colourful, with shimmering plastic ribbons flying in the air, colourful balloons, hawkers selling knick knacks and more. The fun part is that unlike the rest of India, the fun begins on the day of Dussehra here, with the first procession coming to the grounds. A week long celebration continues, only to end at the banks of River Beas.
Watch the town come alive as you land here on Dussehra or, maybe, before it. Enjoy the frenzy. And I strongly suggest you to extend your vacation by a week (don’t tell your boss that I gave you the idea).
Nearest Railway Station – Chandigarh (approx 145 km away) & Pathankot. Nearest narrow gauge railhead is some 100 km away at Jogindernagar.
Nearest Airport – Bhuntar (approx 10 km from Kullu).
Travel Tip – Getting a HPTDC bus is one of the best modes to reach Kullu.
There can be no word as apt as ‘grand’, when you say Mysore Dussehra. Mysore becomes the second Vegas, with the whole city shimmering like a river of stars. Lauded as the state festival of Karnataka, Mysore Dussehra sees a steady herd of tourists coming in. While the Mysore Palace is thrown open to the public and the royal crown is put on display, concerts and folk shows capture centre stage.
Talking of rituals, a huge, grand processions sets off from Mysore Palace towards Bannimantap. A rock solid 750 kg gold tableau, with the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari perched atop it, is the highlight of this procession. Just to put a finishing touch to it, a giant elephant carries this tableau from the palace to Bannimantap!
If, by any chance, you get satiated of gazing at the palace that gets lit by around 1 lakh light bulbs, do visit the exhibition. The venue is bang opposite the palace, and you might as well just walk across. Just for a tip, carry a bigger number of memory cards and batteries for your camera. This more than 400-year-old ritual is set to get bigger.
Nearest Railway Station – Mysore Railway Station.
Nearest Airport – Mysore Airport.
Travel Tip – Since Mysore Airport sees a lesser number of flights, you can take a flight to Bengaluru Airport and leave for Mysore. It’s around 140 km away.
Palampur, Himachal Pradesh.
There are travellers who crave solitude when the world all around erupts in a frenzied celebrations. So, if you are one of those, and are searching for a place that can take you away from the Dussehra crowd, you have Palampur. Considered as the territory of demon king Ravana, who was slayed on Dussehra, Palampur sees no celebrations at all. RIP Ravana.
The lanes don’t become overcrowded, neither is the daily work routine thrown off the tracks. The only increase in the number of tourists is because of the start of the paragliding season at the nearby Bir and Biling. The skies are clear and blue, while the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas starts turning fascinating in the background. To spice it up a bit, the place also plays host to the keenly awaited International Paragliding Championship.
If around an hour of uninterrupted, smooth flying is on your mind, this is the place to be. There are a number of trained personnel at Palampur, if you’re skeptical of testing the wind alone. Up there, in the face of the wind from the Himalayas – it can’t be more solitary than that. Go fly, there are no Dussehra firecrackers around.
Nearest Railway Station – Maranda Railway Station (approx 3 km from Palampur).
Nearest Airport – Kangra (Gaggal) Airport (approx 40 km from Palampur).
Tip – Getting a HPTDC bus to Dharmsala/Palampur is the easiest/quickest way to land here.
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