India is becoming a ‘Land of Festivals’ that has several cultures have, over the centuries, made India a land of everlasting festivals. Every small occasion, from welcoming the spring or rain or the harvesting of crops, to seeing the full moon lends itself to joyous celebrations splashed with colours, music, folk dances and songs. Known with different names like, ‘Vijayadashami’, or ‘Dasara’ or ‘Dashain’ or ‘Durgotsav’ or Tenth day of holy Navratri, ‘Dussehra’ is amongst the most significant Hindu festival celebrated across India and other countries like, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Dussehra is celebrated by different ways in different part of India. Here, we have mentioned some of the important regions:
In major northern states like, Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand and western Bihar, it is famous tradition to plant barley seeds in earthen pots on the first day of Navratri. On the day of Dasara, the nine-day-old sprouts are used as symbols of luck. Men place them in their caps or behind their ears. Besides the Navratri Pujan and fasts, Dussehra is celebrated more in honour of Lord Rama. During these 10 days, plays and dramas – “Ramlila” is performed based on different chapters of Ramayana. Also, there are outdoor fairs organized and on the day the effigies of Ravana, his brother Kumbhakarna and son Meghanad are burnt to conclude the celebrations.
In the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, the Dasara festival starts with unique performance of Ramlila based on the musical rendering of the katha (or story) of Lord Rama. This style of Ramlila is based on the theatrical traditions set by Uday Shankar during his stay in Almora, which were later enriched by Mohan Upreti and Brijendra Lal Sah. Renowned as the Almora or Kumaon style, Ramlila has been recognized by UNESCO in its 2008 report as one of the representative styles of Ramlila across India.
In the state of Himachal Pradesh, the Kullu Dussehra is a famous International Mega Dussehra festival, which is observed during the month of October. In this mega celebration, over 4-5 Lac people visits the fair from all across the globe. Kullu Dussehra is celebrated in the Dhalpur maidan of Kullu valley. It commences on the tenth day of the rising moon, i.e. on ‘Vijay Dashmi’ day itself and continues for seven days. The history related to 17th century, when local King Jagat Singh installed an idol of Raghunath on his throne as a mark of penance. After this practice, Lord Raghunath was declared as the ruling deity of the Valley. This International festival of Kullu Dussehra allures tourists from across the globe. Enjoy the traditional folk music and dance during the fair. Shop for authentic handicrafts, especially the traditional Pattu patterned shawl or cap. You can also enjoy your stay in the beautiful valley of Himachal and further move to Manali as excursion.
Vijayadashami or Dussehra is celebrated in various ways in different regions of South India. This day is observed to express gratitude to everything which brings success in life. Celebrations take many forms, ranging from worshipping the goddess Chamundeshwari (Durga) to exhibiting colorful toys-, celebrated as Golu in Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu from Navratri onwards. The concluding event in Andhra Pradesh, the Theppotsavam (boat festival) is a striking event held on Vijaya Dasami at Krishna – Thungabhadra Sangamam.
On Vijaydashami day, the conclusion of a colorful 10-day celebration of the Mysore Dasara, the goddess Chamundeshwari is worshiped and then borne in a grand procession on a Golden Ambari (or elephant-mounted throne) across the city of Mysore, right from the historical Mysore Palace to the Dasara parade ground. Don’t forget to catch up the view of delightful Mysore Palace decorated with over 100,000 lights decorate.
Unique Celebration of Dussehra
Dussehra in Bangladesh
In Bangladesh, similar to Bengal, it is a five-day-long festival and celebrated in different mandaps (congregation) containing Maa Durga’s clay statues. The largest festival is celebrated at Dhakeshwari temple and Ramakrishna missionary in the country’s capital, Dhaka. On the day of Vijayadashmi (Dussehra), clay statues of the Goddess Durga are submerged in rivers. The pooja is performed with turmeric and other pooja items, which are added to the river to help the water yield better crops.