She is the goddess of victory and the Dussehra celebrates the victory of Rama
over Ravana, the demon king, the conquest of the
evil. The Dussehra celebrations at Kulu are aimed at the homage paid to Rama or
Raghunathji by the village devtas, far and near. About 150 to 200 of them are brought by
the villagers to Kulu, some in their chariots or palkis and some carried by their
devotees. There is an order in which they are brought to the Kulu Raj Palace.
The first one is Hidimba Devi, the demon-
goddess of the royal family. The idol is carried on a rath (chariot) twen
ty four miles down the valley from the Dungri temple above Manali. The
main devotee ("chela") in his religious frenzy shakes violently and the rath
oscillates but does not turn over.
Trumpets blow along with the raucous beating of
the drums and a lamb will be thrown up into the air and caught by the devotees. The lamb
is to be sacrificed at the end of the Dussehra. The Rai of Kulu ceremoniously pays homage
and the deity is carried into a decorated room and set down. The deity of Tripura Sundari
of Nagar comes from her three-tired quaint temple built of deodar wood.
The temple is in the Pagoda style with three
successions of superimposed roofs, each one a little smaller than the one below it. This
is an uncommon type of temple in this area. She is taken as the mother-goddess. Then other
devis and devtas arrive and the same ritual of paying homage is done. Raghunathji, the
presiding deity of Kulu, is carried to one end of the maidan. It is a smaller bronze image
only a few inches high.