Dussehra is celebrated every year to reiterate the humankind’s faith in truth and
righteousness. In the epic Ramayana, Lord Rama killed Ravana, the demon king of
Lanka who had abducted his wife Goddess Sita. The festival marks the end of a 10
day long battle between Rama and Ravana with his death.
In different parts of India, Dussehra celebration is varied. There are a lot of
legends surrounding this festival, accounting for the different nature of Dussehra
celebration in parts of India.
In Northern India, Dussehra marks the victory of Rama over Ravana. The celebration
is characterised by ‘Ramlila’, which is
a special skit of scenes from Lord Rama’s life to teach valuable lessons to mankind.
The highlights of Ramlila are ‘Bharat Milap’, when Rama unites with his brother
Bharat during the exile, destruction of Ravana’s Lanka and the return of Rama and
Sita to Ayodhya. Another feature of the celebrations is burning of huge effigies
of Ravana, his brother Kumbhkaran and his son Meghanad is wide open grounds. The
ceremony is culminated with spectacular display of fireworks and distribution of
sweets amongst the masses.
In Himachal Pradesh, the festival is celebrated for a week in the Kullu Valley.
Idols of deities are brought to a wide open ground and the ceremony begins with
worship of the reigning deity, Raghunathji. Huge processions of over hundred deities
are taken on the streets of Kullu.
In South India, small dolls called ‘Bommai Kolu’ are made by the women to decorate
their homes. Dussehra celebration in Mysore
is a crowd puller because of their special rituals and extravagance. Grand illumination
of Mysore Palace and gala processions with idols of Goddess Durga and bejewelled
elephants are an important part of celebration of ‘Mysore
In East India, especially West Bengal, Dussehra marks the end of nine-day long festival
of Durga Puja. The idols of Goddess
Durga installed during Navratri are immersed in water.