Thursday, October 23, 2008

Namasté - Kullu Dussehra and the one that got away.

Downtown Manali.

The many barricades and the seemingly inauspicious presence of armed police was apparently necessary to help maintain a controlled and tranquil scene at the 2008 Kullu Dussehra Celebrations, Ben Ditto and I (Pat Goodman) had the honor of attending.
Police at the 2008 Kullu Dussehra.

The recent bomb blasts in New Delhi and the enduring conflict between India and Pakistan have justly caused law enforcement officials to tighten security twofold. Since July 2008 Troops from both sides of the Line of Control in Kashmir have routinely been violating the cease-fire, I must admit to my minor apprehensiveness, our attendance here was possibly the most dangerous thus far in our Indian adventures.
The chariot of Lord Raghunath being pulled by thousands of devotees.

The seven-day Kullu Valley Dussehra in India’s Himachel Pradesh is unique and one of the biggest traditional, religious and cultural festivals of the country. It begins when Dussehra celebrations end in other parts of the country and unlike the rest, no effigy of Ravana and his brother and son are burnt, although, the festival does end with an animal sacrifice. Traditionally, over two hundred deities converge on Kullu to destroy "the evil empire". They pay homage to Lord Raghunathji while music and color fill the valley. This celebration commenced on the tenth day of the rising moon - the Vijay Dashmi.

A short video shot during the Kullu Dussehra.

When the chariot of Lord Raghunath, the chief deity, accompanied by palanquins of other deities reached the historic Dhalpur Maidan the surreal sounds of beating drums and the playing of shehnais (Indian Clarinet) made the hair stand up on the back of my neck, every person in attendance was in a state of complete awe.

The Thonkru produces a very unique sound.

The birth of the Kullu Dussehra lay in royal fads and it nourished on religious, social and economic factors and ultimately came to be well established, because of the inborn love of the hill-men for fun and frolic, displayed in community singing and dancing. Numerous stalls offer a verity of local wares Kullu and Kinnauri shawls, handicrafts, carpets and dry fruits are a major attraction for the customers. Overall a very amazing cultural experience!

Piles of yummy food for thousands of people.

Our last few days in Manali were spent gathering some unique gifts and bouldering. We had been trying one particular problem that was conveniently located a few minutes walk from our hotel. One fairly big boulder - one fairly hard problem. We never sent it though it’s "the one that got away".

The one that got away..

Our bus ride to Delhi was no biggie, 15 hrs or so and the plane ride was mostly chill aside from some wicked turbulence that lasted for several minutes while we were flying over Russia. I got back to North Carolina just as the Fall colors were at their peak.

Morning smog in New Delhi, India.

Short vid of an Indian truck stop.

How much stuff does it take to play in the mountains??

I need to extend a sincere acknowledgment of gratitude to the following -
Mountain Hardwear, Sterling, Evolv, and Blackdiamond
Without the support of these companies I would be living a far less exciting existence! These companies pour tons of energy, support and product back into the community, I strongly encourage everybody to support them!Beautiful Fall foliage in North Carolina.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a pretty cool trip. Thanks for sharing.

10/31/2008 6:05 AM


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