The dramatic reenactment of Lord Rama’s life is Ramlila which ends with a ten day battle fought between Lord Rama and Ravana according to the religious epic, Ramayana. Ramlila takes place in the ten day period of Sharad Navratras. It starts with the festival of Dussehra. Most of the plays take place on the Vijay Dashmi day which is the tenth day of Dussehra when Lord Rama killed Ravana along with his brother Kumbh Karan and his son Meghanath. The actors of the Ramlila generally take a procession throughout the city and go towards the place where the Dussehra Mela is being held. The final enactment of the play takes place in the Mela where the effigies of Ravana, Kumbh Karan and Meghanath has already been set up so that they can be burnt. The abhishek of Lord Rama to Ayodhya also takes place. It is more like a culmination of festivals where there is joy everywhere.

Most of the Ramlilas in the Northern part of India are based on the Avadhi version of the Ramayana, known as Ramcharitmanas which was written in the sixteenth century by Gosvami Tulsidas. It is in the form of verse which is staged by the local committees of Ramlila often known as Samitis and they perform for the local people of the city. These Ramlilas are often like the folk theater, known as Rasa Lila which is on the life of Lord Krishna.

There are several styles of Ramlila too which have been started by the people these days. The Ramlila played in Ramnagar, Varanasi is staged over different venues all over the city and there are different jhankis which is popularly known as the Ramlila of Varanasi. There is another style developed by Ravi Shankar in Almora where the play is enacted by the musical kathas which narrate the story of the Ramayana. You can also see a priest or a singer who narrates the verses of the Ramayana between the different acts.

Ramlila is represented with great perfection throughout the world and has become very popular. It is extremely admired in Indian Diaspora and even in the regions where Hinduism is followed. In the year 2005, Ramlila was considered a Masterpiece of Oral as well as Intangible Heritage of India by UNESCO. There was also a two hour documentary named “Ramlila - The traditional performance of Ramayana” which was produced by the Government of India and IGNCA for UNESCO. Since the year 1972, Bakshi ka Talab, which is a place 20 kilometers away from Lucknow, hosts a unique Ramlila where the characters are played by the Muslims. It starts on the first day of Dussehra and lasts for four days. They have also been converted into radio plays by the All India Radio (AIR) which had won an award in the year 2000 for Communal Harmony. Ramlila has travelled all over the globe and is liked everywhere. Ramlila takes place not only in India, but also in different parts of the world where Hinduism is not even spread at a great degree.

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