India, the land of shared attitudes, values, goals and practices is known for its rich diversity and traditions. A nation as diverse as India is symbolized by the plurality of its culture.
Preserving our magnificent cultural heritage, we celebrate a festival that marks the victory of good over evil. It is known by the name Dussehra or Vijayadashmi. The festival is celebrated with traditional fervour, devotion and gaiety throughout the country.
The name Vijayadashami finds its roots in the Sanskrit language where “Vijaya-dashami” means victory on the day of Dashami. It is worth noting that the nation encounters unique Dussehra celebrations across different parts of the country.
Kullu is known to be the land of gods and goddesses. It is said that even today, the devta commands and people obey.
The beginning of Dussehra in Kullu dates back to the regime of Raja Jagat Singh, the ruler who ruled Kullu from 1637 to 1672. After an incident that left a deep impact on the king, the Raja sent his order to all the ‘Kardars’ of all Gods and Goddesses of the state to assemble at Kullu on the festive occasion of Vijya Dashmi and to first pay obeisance to Raghunathji and then participate in the festivities thereafter.
On the occasion of Dussehra, Ras Lila, dances related to Krishna and Gopis, and the entertaining plays of Chandravali are performed in Kullu. Kullu Dussehra is a week-long congregation of gods and goddesses, which begins on the tenth of the white lunar period of Asvin and ends on the full moon day.
Mysuru Dasara is the Royal Festival of Karnataka and is celebrated as a 10-day festival in Mysuru. The city of Mysuru celebrates this festival by displaying the beautifully decorated elephants, camels and horses walking together in a procession. Every year, lakhs of people visit the city during the festive season.
Dussehra of Bastar
Bastar is a region in southern Chhattisgarh. Unlike other parts of India, Dussehra commemorates Lord Ram’s victory over the Demon-King Ravana, the Bastar Dussehra is a day of giving thanks to Danteshwari. Danteshwari is the principal deity of the Royal House of Bastar.
It is worth noting that the celebrations in Bastar last for seventy-five days and draw crowds from all over the region. Moreover, the opportunity to participate in the Bastar Dussehra is considered an honour, and the highest blessing from the Goddess Danteshwari.
Dussehra in Telangana
Dussehra is celebrated with great enthusiasm across all temples of Goddess Durga in the state of Telangana. During Navratri, Goddess Durga is adorned in her different forms and avatars like Mahishasura Mardhini, Bala Tripura Sundari, Raja Rajeshwari, Annapoorna, Kali, Kanaka Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati and Gayatri Devi.
It is the time of the year when most of the residents of Hyderabad head for their ancestral homes.
Also, women and children organize a special arrangement of dolls and toys known as ‘bommala koluvu’,. Saraswathi Puja is also performed by many families for initiating their children into education since Vijayadashami is considered highly auspicious for this purpose.
Dussehra in Northern India
In Northern India, Dussehra is celebrated through Rama’s Play or Ramlila. It is a performance of Ramayana epic in a series of scenes that entails song, recital and dialogue. The most eye-catching Ramlilas takes place in Ayodhya, Ramnagar and Benares, Vrindavan, Almora, Sattna and Madhubani.
The majority of the Ramlilas are based on episodes from the Ramacharitmanas. It is performed through a series of activities that lasts from ten to twelve days and some Ramlilas also last for an entire month.
Our popular Indian festivals bring the whole population together, without distinction of caste, religion or age.