Himachal Pradesh High Court has ended the battle of supremacy among the followers of deities Shringa Rishi and Balu Nag in the Kullu Dussehra festival as the Hon’ble Court has ordered the organisers to honour Shringa Rishi in the centuries-old festival.

The high court directed the organisers of the festival not to bar Shringa Rishi’s participation in the annual rituals during the Dussehra festival and honour the sanctity of the deity. In its judgment, Justice DD Sud has observed that

The grievance of the petitioners is that since 2010 Shringa Rishi deity is not being invited to participate in Kullu Dussehra festival which is in fact illegal and arbitrary

The week-long Kullu Dussehra is a centuries-old festival famous across the world. The festival dates back to 1637 when Raja Jagat Singh was the ruler of Kullu. He used to invite all local deities in Kullu Valley from various temples to perform a ritual in honour of Lord Raghunath during the festival. Since then, the annual assembly of deities from hundreds of village temples has become a tradition.

The administration has been inviting over 250 deities ever since the rule of princely states came to an end. From 2010 onwards, however, Shringa Rishi and Balu Nag were excluded from the august list of gods and goddesses due to their feuding devotees, who wanted a special place of honour for their respective God in the annual procession. According to tradition, the idol of the superior deity is carried on the right side of the chariot of Lord Raghunath (Lord Ram), the chief deity, during the procession taken out on the first and the last day of the festival. Balu Nag, who is considered the incarnation of Lord Ram’s brother Lakshman, was supposed to follow Shringa Rishi because he was in the role of the younger brother.

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