Shimla, Oct 23: Despite the tense diplomatic relations between India and Canada, the Indian diaspora celebrated Himachal Pradesh’s famed Kullu Dussehra for the first time in Canada’s Parliament Hill, organisers said on Monday.
The festival to mark good over evil was hosted by Canadian Member of Parliament Chandra Arya and supported by the Himachali Pravasi Global Association (HPGA), a diaspora from Himachal Pradesh that continues to strengthen Canada into the vibrant and diverse country it is.
Himachal Chief Minister Sukhvinder Sukhu addressed the Indian diaspora on Sunday along with other attendees in Canada through video message which was played at Parliament Hill, Bhagya Chander, HPGA’s one of the board of directors, told IANS over phone from Ottawa.
During his address, the Chief Minister invited investors and individuals to visit Himachal Pradesh for business and tourism.
The event was attended, among other dignitaries, by High Commissioner of India to Canada, Sanjay Verma, besides 25 Indo-Canadian diaspora organisations and international diaspora.
A cultural programme was performed by HPGA members that comprised Himachali Naati.
Ramlila, the traditional performance of the Ramayana, was staged. A colourful decorated palanquin carrying the idols of deities to pay their obeisance to Lord Raghunath, the presiding deity of the festival, was performed.
During lunch, ‘dham’ was served to the audience. The ‘dham’ is a mid-day meal served in Himachali culture on the occasions of marriage or religious days. In the ‘dham', cooked rice and moong dal are served.
Himachal-origin Bhagya Chander, Arun Chauhan, Ashutosh Kalia and Vivek Nazzar thanked Member of Parliament Arya for organising the event.
Back to Himachal, the world-famous Kullu Dussehra celebrations that are believed to have started in the 17th century when the ruler, Raja Jagat Singh, installed an idol of Lord Raghunath in a Kullu temple to remove a curse and seek his blessings begin on Vijaya Dashami, the day Dussehra ends in the rest of the country.
The celebrations last for a week. This time the festivities, an amalgamation of Hindu and local ‘pahari’ traditions, are being held from October 24 to 30.
The HPGA is a non-profit organisation with an aim to promote, inculcate Himachali and Indian culture and contribute to the development and growth of all socio-economic domains in diaspora.