There are many unique traditions in the hills of Himachal Pradesh, especially in Kullu valley, also popularly called Dev Bhoomi. The Kullu valley has presence of hundreds of deities and deity culture is having deep imprint on life and culture of people. Since the deities are an integral part of religious, social and cultural life, people follow many distinct traditions and practices.
One such tradition is followed in nine villages of the district; where the villagers take pledge to observe silence for 42 days to appease a local deity, Gautam Rishi. Beginning, from day the Hindu festival of Makar Sankranti is celebrated by people of the area, the entire populations of these nine villages maintain complete silence till February 25.
The residents of villages i.e. Goshal, Solang, Shanag, Kothi, Palchan, Ruar, Kulang, Majhach and Burua took pledge this year to observe silence during this period.
This practice is followed by the residents as an old age tradition according to which the local deity Gautam Rishi located in village Goshal leaves for Dev Lok to attend the assembly of deities on the auspicious day of Makar Sankranti and returns back to its abode after sojourn of 42 days.
The villagers believe since the deities are involved in intense dialogue and meditation during the sojourn they need complete silence and should not have any disturbance, at all.
And to maintain the sanctity of the assembly of the deities, the villagers observe silence, keep their mobiles phones on silent mode and do not watch TVs and listen to Radio programmes.
The work in fields also come to stand still as they do not make use of agriculture implements to avoid noise and even works like digging and cutting are not undertaken.
The villagers after sweeping the floor of the temple of Gautam Rishi put a veneer of mud on it and open the doors of the temple after 42 days.
It is believed, on opening the doors of the temple if plants germinate and flowers grow on the floor, it symbolizes happiness and prosperity for people, besides good harvest in the coming period.