Kullu: Curtains rang down on the week-long international Kullu Dussehra festival, with symbolic "Lanka Dahan" (Burning of Lanka) on the bank of Beas river and return of presiding deity "Lord Raghunathji" to its abode at Sultanpur.
Earlier, the assembly of Gods, which is called `Mohalla`, took place and it was a rare spectacle to see multi-hued palanquins of Gods around the camp of Raghunathji, paying obeisance to presiding deity.
The devotees vied with each other in pulling the ropes of flower-decked chariot of Lord Raghunathji as it was taken to the bank of Beas and return to the temple.
More than 250 local deities participated in the festival and camped at Dhalpur maidan for a week.
Presiding over the closing ceremony at Lal Chand Prarthi Kala Kendra, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh announced 10 per cent increase in Nazarana (honorarium) of deities and said the government was committed to uphold the sanctity of deities and providing more facilities for organising fairs and festivals.
He said it was due to the participation of local deities that Kullu Dussehra attained the status of international festival and it was a rare occasion for the devotees to seek blessings of hundreds of deities at one place.
The sanctity of the deities would be maintained at every cost and all the deities existing for more than 50 years would be invited to the Dussehra festival, he said, adding the practice to collecting money on the name of local deities was lowering the dignity of the deities.
He said last year Rs 39.29 lakh were given as Nazarana and with 10 per cent increase, Rs 3.63 lakh more would be given this year.
Besides, attendants of deities would get Rs 10,000 per deity as special financial assistance which was 59 per cent more than last year. Minimum charges would be taken from the `Kardars` for staying in the `Dev Sadan` and preference would be given to `Kardars` in providing rooms, he said.
Reiterating that the state government had adopted zero tolerance policy towards corruption, Singh said any body found guilty would not be spared howsoever influential he might be.