Wednesday, 26 September 2018

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Dussehra or Vijaya Dashami is an important Hindu festival celebrated in the Hindu Vikrami Calender month of Ashwin (September / October). This is also the festival marking end of Navratri and the immersion of Durga idols which are worshipped for nine days prior to Dussehra. 

This day marks the triumph of Lord Rama over Demon king Ravana. On this day, Rama killed Ravana and freed his wife Sita after leading an army of monkeys. Sita was taken by Ravana from Rama’s Ashram to avenge the insult of his sister Shoorpanakha who had proposed to marry Ram (or Lakshman) but got her nose cut off by Lakshman when she tried to hurt Sita. As per Ramayan, Ram did Chandi-Puja and invoked the blessings of Durga to kill Ravana. The war against Ravan lasted for ten days.

It is a time-honored belief that if any new venture is started  on this day, it brings success. Hence, all the undertakings be it laying-in of foundation of a new building, opening of a new commercial establishment or even initiating a child into the world of learning- are started on this day. Houses and shops are decorated with flower studded strings called 'Torans' (Floral Gateways) Also on this day  vehicles, machineries, books, weapons & also tools are worshipped.

On this day, the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakaran and Meghanad are burnt, which are stuffed with crackers. In burning these effigies the people are asked to burn the evil within them, and thus follow the path of virtue and goodness. Especially children enjoy seeing this because of the beautiful fireworks on the ground. The festival which is thought as the 'Victory of Good over Evil' & "Return of God from Exile'.

In Himachal Pradesh, it is famous as "Kullu Dussehra", a week long fair in the hill town of Kullu, is a part of the Dussehra celebrations. From the little temples in the hills, deities are brought in procession to the 'maidan' in Kullu, to pay homage to the reigning deity, Raghunathji.

In Bengal, the festival is celebrated as Kali Puja or Durga Puja .The vibrant festivities last for ten days, of which nine nights are spent in worship, 'Navaratri'. The tenth day is devoted to the worship of goddess Durga. Beautiful idols of the Mother Goddess are worshipped in elaborate pandals for nine days, and on the ninth day, these are carried out in procession for immersion (visarjan) in a river or pond.

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