India is the land of festivals. All around the year, there is some or the other festival goes on in the country. Among all the major festivals, Dussehra or Vijayadashami has a special place. It is the time of the year when in the Eastern part of the country, especially West Bengal, people celebrate Durga Puja. In North India, West India, and Central India, people celebrate Navratri, which is then followed by Dussehra. And in the Southern part of India, people celebrate Dasara. The 10-day long celebration includes melas and Ramlila – an enactment of the scenes from Ramayana. On the 10th day, the scene of Ravana Dahan is enactment. This is followed by the burning of the effigies of Ravana, Meghnath, and Kumbhakarna. And we learn about their locations and ways of celebration, so scroll below to enter India’s cultural glow.
1. Kullu Dussehra
Kullu Dussehra has earned a big name among the people looking for exceptional celebrations around the globe. Kullu is one of the best places to visit in Dussehra. Even for India, the celebrations in Kullu are a little different as they start when the revelers in other states are heading home after the 10 day-long festivities. Celebrations in Kullu start on the 10th day of Dussehra and it goes on for a week. For witnessing the best Dussehcelebration in India, make a visit to Kullu. It is just one of the ways the Dussehra celebration in norra th India takes places. Events during Kullu Dussehra celebrations make it one of the most happening Dussehra in India. Historical phool yatra, international folk festival, Nainadevi fair, and Kullu Fair in October are some of the well-known events to look out for. Procession and rath yatra on the 1st day and Ramlila throughout the entire week till the burning of effigies are other major attractions. The Folk performances of Gaddi Shepherds; and of course, the famous procession makes it one of the most famous Dussehra in India.
Delhi is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in India where to celebrate Dussehra. The city brightens up with Navratri that lasts for nine long days. People in Delhi eat vegetarian food items in these nine days and you can see theater actors indulging themselves in the dramas that depict the life of Lord Ram and how he won over Ravana. To see the most popular Ramlila musicals, you can head to Ramlila Maidan, located in Old Delhi. On the day of Dussehra, the effigies of Ravana are burnt and people celebrate the day. Several notable committees organize performances across the city at Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, Lal Qila Maidan, August Park and Madhavas Park. The food stalls, choreographed performances, celebrity actors, use of technology and glitz lights definitely add glam to the celebrations.
3. Mysore Dasara
One of the best Dussehra celebrations in India, Mysore observes Dussehra as a commemoration of the event the city is named after.
According to the legend, this is the land where Goddess Chamundeshwari slew the demon Mahishasura, to end evil on earth. In view of such a heroic tale, this city makes military parades, cultural performances and athletic contests a part of their Dussehra celebrations. The Mysuru Palace is lit up and a special Durbar is organised for everyone. Remember to keep a lookout for the majestic Dasara procession called Jumbo Savari that floods the streets of the city every year. The illuminated Mysore palace is a delight to the eye while the cultural programs inside the palace are equally cherishing at Mysore Dussehra. The grand procession, march pasts, tableaus, dances and martial arts performances are once a lifetime experience. Jumbo Savaari or the elephant procession where the decorated royal elephants lead the procession.
4. Bastar Dussehra
Dussehra in India is most uniquely and weirdly celebrated in Bastar, Chattisgarh. It is very important in the region but does not relate in any way to the triumphant return of Lord Rama. Dussehra in Bastar is dedicated to the local goddess. It is one of the longest festivals in the world which runs for 75 long days. The 13th day of the bright moon in September and the day after Dussehra in October. The region’s tribes dressed brightly in traditional attire, rare rituals that intrigue you like a youth buried shoulder-deep in a pit for nine days, a massive chariot pulled by 400 people and energetic dancing, drumming and celebrations surround the place.
5. Varanasi Dussehra
Varanasi is one of the most important religious places in India renowned for Kashi Vishwanath temple. Traditions have been followed in this city throughout the years. And here is where you will discover the oldest Ramlila performances now running for more than 200 years old. The Ramlila takes place for a whole month every year which starts with the incarnation of Lord Ram and ends with the demon king Ravana’s death. Most major attractions ramp up in the last 3 days hence it is ideal to visit on the 8th day. The festivities take place on the banks of the Ganga river in Ramnagar. A special ‘aarti’ takes place in the ghats. People gather with specific ritual acts like taking a holy dip in the river, lighting incense and offering flowers to the river. The people gather in groups to sing devotional songs and flow earthen lamps in the river water.