Dussehra in India is a festival that recalls the greatness of victory over evil. It is the Hindu festival celebrated every year on the 10th day or Dashami. After 9 days of the Navratri celebration, Dussehra marks the end of Durga Puja. It is the day when lord Rama defeated asura Ravana and ignited the lamp of hope, power, faith, and devotion.
Dussehra in India is celebrated with joy, following traditional rituals. It is the festival of hope. A true reminder that there is light waiting outside the dark tunnel, and there is victory over the struggles of life. That is the reason this day is also called Vijayadashmi, the glorious victory day. This year Dussehra will be celebrated on the 5th of October, 2022. The festival season is the most awaited time of the year, which can be celebrated with friends and family. In this article, I’m going to share famous places and their significance to celebrate Dussehra in India.
Kullu, Himachal Pradesh
Kullu Dussehra is the most unique and famous festival. It is celebrated on Vijayadashami at Dhalpur Maidan in Kullu valley. It begins on the day of Dussehra and continues for 7 days. The festival celebrates the triumph of lord Rama. It is their tradition that they all celebrate this festival ceremoniously in the temple of Raghunathji. Around 200 local deities including goddess Hidimba from Manali, are bought in the traditional way to the temple of Raghunathji. They recall the events of Ramayana by symbolically burning Lanka and Ravan Dahan. Kullu is one of the best places to celebrate Dussehra in India.
Dussehra at Mysore is a royal festival that lasts for 10 days. Mysore Dussehra also called Nadhaba, means the state festival of Karnataka. The main attraction during Dussehra is the Mysore palace which is illuminated daily with nearly 100 thousand light bulbs on all days of the festival. This festival is celebrated with their traditional procession locally known as Jumbo Sawari which is held on the streets of Mysore city. According to Hindu mythology goddess, Durga slew the demon Mahishasura on this auspicious day. The main attraction of the procession is the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari, which is placed on the golden mandapa on the top of the decorated elephant. The procession includes thousands of local people and tourists walking around the streets of Mysore with music bands, horses, camels, and dance groups. It indeed is a royal scene.
The Kota Dussehra celebration begins with the Kota Dussehra fair which includes cultural programs and gives the opportunity to prominent artists to take part and showcase their talent. The main attraction of Kota Dussehra is the 75 feet tall effigies of the demon Ravana. This celebration includes the procession and spectacular representation of the life of lord Rama and other prominent characters from the Ramayana. It is the most unique way to celebrate the festival of Dussehra in India.
Dussehra at Baster is the most important and actively celebrated festival. It is traditionally celebrated when all the deities from the surrounding villages unite at the temple of Danteshwari in Jagdalpur, the district headquarters. Unlike Dussehra in other parts of India, here it is not linked with Lord Rama. In Bastar, the tribes celebrate Dussehra as a congregation of Devi Mavli (Bastar’s native deity). Lasting over 75 days Dussehra in Bastar begins on Amavasya in the month of Shravana and ends on the 13th day of the bright moon in the month of Ashwin. A grand procession is carried out where all the idols of God and goddesses from the nearby villages are bought with great devotion. The main attraction of the holy procession is the double-decker chariot, which is uniquely decorated, This prominent way of Dussehra is joyously celebrated by the tribal folks every year.
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Navratri makes Varanasi most alive, it is the time when the people of Varanasi soak themselves in devotion and festivities for 10 days. From the beginning of Navratri till Dussehra the city remains a favorite place for sages and devotees. The main attraction during the festival is Ram Leela, folk dances, dramas, and dance acts performed from Ramayan’s incidents. it is one of the most alive and joyous ways of celebrating Dussehra in India. It is celebrated at Ramnagar at a distance of 15 km from the city. The whole Ramnagar town serves as a set in order to represent various scenes for Ashok Vatika Panchavati, Janakpuri, and Lanka. Local actors play a variety of characters of Ramayan for this Holy festival.
Dussehra in Delhi is celebrated by decorating lord Rama temples with unique decoration ideas, flowers, lamps religious music, folk dance, and reciting of Ramayana to fill the atmosphere. There are around a thousand Ram Leela and more than 250 Pooja pandal events held in the cities that can be visited during the Dussehra festival. Dussehra in Delhi is one of the most dramatic and entertaining forms of the festival, after 9 days of fasting the holy day of Dussehra arrives which is celebrated by fireworks, cultural events are performed at the famous Ramleela maidan and one at the Red fort lawns, the burning of the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkaran, and Meghnath on the Dussehra festival is the main attraction of Dussehra celebration.
Kolkata, West Bengal
In Kolkata, Dussehra is popularly known as Vijayadashami. After the divine Durga Puja, the Vijayadashami arrives. It marks the final day of Durga Puja when the idols of Goddess Durga and her 4 children are taken to the river for immersion. The capital city of Kolkata is decorated with beautiful lights, lamps, flowers, and several pandals are decorated on different themes. It is the most joyful celebration of Kolkata, which is also celebrated with music, and folk dances. This is definitely the best time to visit Kolkata.
During Dussehra, a beautiful floral festival is celebrated and is dedicated to the Goddess Gauri. Bathukamma literally translates to “mother goddess come alive”. It is celebrated across Telangana and in parts of Andhra Pradesh. The festival starts with worshipping lord Ganesha followed by women dancing around flower arrangements on folk songs. Coinciding with Navratri, Bathukamma starts on the day of Amavasya and culminates on Ashtami. It is then followed by Buddemma, a 7-day festival that signifies the ending of monsoon and the start of autumn.
A colorful yet unique carnival-like festival is celebrated amidst the serene hills of Coorg. Madikeri’s Dussehra has a long and fascinating history that takes us back to the reign of Haleri kings. There are four temples dedicated to the goddess Mariamma, after whom the celebration is also called as Mariamma festival. Each has its own unique Karaga, a ritualistic folk dance dedicated to Draupadi, that is performed during the festival. This festival keeps Madikeri alive even at night. The cold breeze around the mountains makes the festival more interesting as it marks the beginning of autumn. Various traditional dishes are also served during the carnival.
Apoorva is a Data Analyst by profession, Data Enthusiast, and likes to work and analyze data. She is a published poet, writer, painter, art, and music lover. She likes to chant Vedas and loves reading books in several genres. She believes that life is a series of tiny miracles and we just need to notice them, we just need to enjoy the ‘life’ ride patiently.