HERE comes the pious season of vibrant evenings; streets lit with hues of sunny yellow, bright pink and snow white emitted by a series of LED bulbs sometimes suspended in strings while the other times found in different formations of mythological characters. Roads jam-packed with devout young and adults trying to get a glimpse of Gods and Goddesses artistically chiseled by murtikaars (sculptors) and placed in beautifully adorned pandals (a fabricated structure) while the aroma of gastronomical delights wafts in the air. The 10 day long festivity of Dussehra definitely seems to have a lot in store.
With so much happening around, our country, diverse from North to South embraces each festival with the same fervour and never fails to add a tinge of their unique identity, therefore making it absolutely necessary for us to know the best of Dussehra celebrations that take place across India.
It becomes inevitable to mention the place where Lord Ram had spent his fourteen long years in exile; the district of Bastar in Chattisgarh observes the longest Dussehra spree starting around the month of August and lasting till October. Initiated by the royal family of Bastar in the 15th Century, the tribes still follow the customs of uniting together at the Danteswari Devi Temple to worship Goddess Danteswari and follow the many practices associated. The Rath Yatra, the traditions of Aarti & Salami and so much more makes Dussehra in Bastar distinctive and more interesting, indeed.
Believing in the mythology of the Goddess Chamundeshwari and the demon Mahishasura, the ‘Nadhabba’ or the state festival of Dussehra in Mysore celebrates the victory of good over evil with a lot of pomp and show during Dussehra. The Mysore Palace is illuminated with thousands of bulbs where various cultural and religious programmes are held. The main highlight of this festival in Mysore is ‘Jumboo Savari’, the traditional procession in which the idol of the Goddess Chamundeshwari is placed on a golden pavilion (which is around 750 kilograms of gold) on the top of a decorated elephant.
It takes more than the customary practices of showcasing Ramlila, burning the effigy of Ravana or the Rath Yatra to get entitled as the ‘International Mega Dussehra Festival’. The Dhalpur Maidan in Kullu witnesses over lakhs of lively reverents each year who specially visit Himachal Pradesh to experience the frenzy of Dussehra that Kullu undergoes. The city is resplendently adorned in advance. The week long fair at Dhalpur has been a favourite among tourists and locals alike. The chariot of Raghunathji is taken near the banks of river Beas on the last day of the festival which is then followed by the ritual of ‘Ravana Dahan’. Moreover, the Indian Folk Festival takes place around the same time giving tourists one more reason to pack their bags and head to Kullu this festive season.
Durgotsava in Kolkata
Kolkata celebrates the prowess of Goddess Durga spectacularly in Kolkata where the idols of Goddess Durga is magnificently bedizened with vermillion and red sequinned ‘chunni’ (a sheer scarf). Prayers are offered to deities every day. The whole city bubbles with drama, dance, feast and cultural performances, engulfed in the spirit of ‘Durga Pujo’. A visit to the area of potters where these statues are sculpted is an enchanting view in itself. The victory of good over evil is undoubtedly best celebrated in this city that leaves you a little heady with the many customs practiced in this course of 10 days.
The Mangalore ‘Dassara’ or ‘Navrathri’ is a gala event of the year where the main attractions have been the tiger dance and the bear dance; a troop of men are garbed up as tigers and bears who set out on the streets to perform on the beats of drum thus showing their devotion towards Goddess Sharada. Homes look resplendent with glitterati and traditional art while the streets dazzle with processions. Moreover,The Kudroli temple trust keeps the `Gangavatharana’ (Ganges water flowing from the crown of Lord Shiva) in operation for all 9 days during the Navarathri. The formation of ‘Shivalingam’ when the water from four sides jet to rush towards the sky looks remarkable.
Navaratri in Ahmedabad
Just like everywhere else, Dussehra in Ahmedabad is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm, the major highlights being ‘Garba’ and ‘Rassa’, their folk dance. The dance floor brims with devotees dancing and forming complex formations such as that of a lotus and many other. The nine forms of ‘Shakti’ (Goddesses Durga, Bhadrakali, Amba, Annapurna, Sarvamangal, Bhairvi, Chandi, Lalita, Bhavani and Mukambika) are worshipped in the course of these nine days.
So stop reading already, take your pick and make sure there’s a check mark against at least one from six five places that witness Dussehra in all its grandeur. To make sure you’ve experienced the culture like a local, stay in one of our Heritage homes that’ll make sure you belong to the place in the best way. Treat yourself with an amazing ‘Happy Dussehra’!