Dussehra is celebrated throughout India with different rituals and activities. The Dussehra festivities involve lights, decorations, food, and colourful clothes. However, the celebrations vary across the different regions of the country.
Kullu, Himachal Pradesh
The Kullu Dussehra, which is well-known all over the world, is held in the Kullu Valley of Himachal Pradesh. Around 200 local deities from nearby villages are brought to participate in a religious procession. Another unique aspect is that these celebrations in Kullu begin on Vijayadashami, the day when Dussehra festivities end in India. Further, on the last day of the celebration, a pile of thorn bushes is burnt to depict the burning of Lanka.
Kolkata, West Bengal
The Bengali community celebrates Dussehra with Durga Puja, which transforms entire state into a dynamic and lively hub of culture. Vijayadashami is celebrated on the tenth day of the famous Durga Puja. On this day, married women offer vermilion and sweets to the goddess. They also put vermilion on each other’s cheeks. At night, the idols of the goddess are taken to nearby rivers or water bodies to be immersed.
Dussehra is devoted to tribal deities and has nothing to do with the defeat of Ravana. The festival is celebrated for 75 days and is believed to be the longest festival in the world. The festival is held in honour of Goddess Danteshwari (the guardian deity of the tribal belt of Bastar in Chhattisgarh) other divinities. There are many rituals associated with this festival, including chariot processions, the tribal chieftains’ conference, and the thanks. of Lanka.
The Mysore Dasara has been celebrated for more than 400 years. The Mysore Palace is decorated magnificently and there are many cultural performances that take place during the Dussehra festivities. A procession with 12 trained elephants adorned with colourful attire are taken around the streets. One of them carries the idol of the Goddess Chamundeshwar atop a golden mandap. The procession starts from the mysore palace to Bannimantap.
Almora celebrates Dussehra with a parade of demons. The mountain streets of this small town in Uttarakhand are filled with various villains from The Ramayana. They’re made by local people and are paraded across the town before burning them. A total of 33 effigies of Ravana’s family members are burned to celebrate Dussehra.
Kulasekarapattinam, Tamil Nadu
The Dussehra celebrations at a 300-year-old temple of Goddess Kali, in the village Kulasekarapattinam are very unique. People are required to dress up as gods and goddesses. The people dance holding flaming clay pots throughout the night and end the festival with an enactment of slaying of Mahishasura on the beach.
Did You Know?
Ravana is a symbol of evil for most people across India. However, in Mandore, Rajasthan, people celebrate him as a deity. It is believed that Ravana’s wife Mandodari is from this town. While people remember Ravana for his evil deeds, here he is celebrated for his genius achievements in the field of astrology and ayurveda.
There are some temples in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Andra Pradesh that worship Ravana as a deity.
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