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The international festival of Dussera in Kullu Valley, is unique in two ways, because  the idol of the deities are not fixed to the temples but instead on special occasions like Dussera come out, in ornately decorated palanquins in a procession The Kullu Dussera centers on a colorful procession  of (Rama or Raghunath Ji’s  yatra) of gold and silver idols symbolizing the Hindu deities which are brought in from far flung villages in the Kullu Valley. In Kullu, village deities represent a very important element in the perception people have of their history and of their regional and territorial identity. What is perceived here as being specific to the area is the strong attachment of the population to their village deities (Devi/Devta.). They are indeed considered to be local kings exercising their authority and justice over all those villagers who, independently of their cast, live inside their territorial jurisdictions-a village or a wider territory. Many village interactions social and political matters “go through” these deities who are said to express their opinions and points of views through their different representatives: people from temple committees (formed mainly by high caste villagers); institutional mediums many of whom are of low status), and also through wooden mobile supports (the palki) which are carried on the shoulders of ordinary villagers and which are supposed to move according to the deities will. In a deeply religious and a semiliterate society to use Lord Rama as an icon is practically equivalent to the assertion that because the God and the King are one and the same therefore the diktat of the king runs supreme. It is perhaps less about Lord Rama ruling the throne than it is about deifying the king.

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Vijjika Singh 3955
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