Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu inaugurated the curtain raiser and released a brochure for the upcoming International Kullu Dussehra Festival, marking a significant step in the promotion of tourism in the region.
While presiding over a meeting of the State Level Kullu Dussehra Committee here today, the Chief Minister said that this year the weeklong festival will be celebrated from 24th to 30th October, 2023.
The Chief Minister directed the authorities to undertake the repair and restoration work on the Mandi-Manali National Highway on a war footing to ensure uninterrupted connectivity to the region during the event.
He said that this monsoon season has impacted the tourism sector severely, particularly in Kullu district. However, he commended the district administration, all the departments and other agencies and people for their remarkable recovery and resilience efforts during the disaster.
He said that Himachal Pradesh was fully prepared to welcome tourists once again, with the upcoming Kullu Dussehra celebration serving as a significant milestone in this regard.
Highlighting the significance of the Kullu Dussehra in boosting tourism and fostering cultural exchange, the Chief Minister said that this year's International Kullu Dussehra Festival was all set to be a truly global event.
The celebration will feature cultural groups from different states, along with participants from 19 countries, including Russia, Israel, Romania, Kazakhstan, Croatia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, Panama, Iran, Maldives, Malaysia, Kenya, South Sudan, Zambia, Ghana, and Ethiopia, adding a diverse and international flair to the festivities.
He said that the festival will feature a cultural parade on 25th October and the Kullu Carnival on 30th October. Additionally, 13 departments will set up exhibitions in Pagoda tents, showcasing the region's rich heritage.
The Chief Minister instructed the implementation of adequate security measures to ensure the safety of all participants and attendees. He stressed the importance of promoting traditional sports and local folk artists during the festival to preserve cultural traditions as well.
The Chief Minister said that the fairs and festivals play an important role in preserving and celebrating the rich cultural heritage of the state. He reiterated the government's commitment to conserving these cultural treasures, with Kullu Dussehra being a global symbol of religious beliefs and cultural values.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister virtually inaugurated several development projects worth Rs. 12 crore for the Kullu Assembly constituency including a four-storey multipurpose building of the Deputy Commissioner Office in Kullu constructed at a cost of Rs. 5.49 crore.
This impressive structure not only features two conference halls but also provides various rooms and parking facilities. The Chief Minister also inaugurated the Indoor Badminton Hall in Dhalpur, a Rs. 3 crore project set to become a sports hub for enthusiasts and budding athletes and dedicated a Women Police Station in Kullu, constructed at a cost of Rs. 3.51 crore as well.
Deputy Chief Minister, Mukesh Agnihotri, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Sunder Singh Thakur, MLAs Bhuvneshwar Gaur, Ravi Thakur and Surender Shouri, Principal Advisor (Media), Naresh Chauhan, Chief Secretary, Prabodh Saxena, DGP Sanjay Kundu, Principal Secretary, Bharat Khera, Joint Secretary ICCR, Anju, Deputy Commissioner Kullu, Ashutosh Garg and other dignitaries were also present on the occasion amongst others.