India is a country well known for its festive spirit. Indians celebrate countless festivals with immense enthusiasm throughout the year. Dussehra is one of the major festivals celebrated in the country. The celebration encompasses incredible decorations, brilliant fireworks and delectable feasts. Entire country lights up in delight to commemorate the victory of good over evil. Every place in India celebrates Dussehra in its own exceptional style. So here we are with a list of top 5 places to visit during Dussehra for a memorable experience.
Dussehra is celebrated with great splendour in Mysore. Mysore’s royal family leads this 10 day celebration to honour the victory of Goddess Chamundeshwari on demon Mahisasura. Mysore Palace is elaborately decorated with a myriad of lights. On the last day of the celebration, an ornately dressed elephant carries a large idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari in a procession that begins from the palace and ends at Bannimantap Ground. Many athletic competitions, military parades and cultural performances take place. Also, a Dasara exhibition is held every year that offers delicious local food and remarkable joy rides.
Durga Puja is celebrated with great excitement in Kolkata during Dussehra. The festival fills the city with colour and energy. The city is loaded with decorated pandals, each telling its own story. They offer various mouth watering bhogs and Bengali sweets. The energetic and vibrant cultural performances during aarti time are worth seeing. On the last day of celebration, married women participate in a ceremony called ‘sindoor khela’, where they wear traditional sarees and smear each other with sindoor. The celebration is concluded with submerging the deities of Goddess Durga in river.
Ramnagar, located about 15 km away from Varanasi, holds one of the best Ramlila shows during Dussehra celebration. Organizing this show is a 200 years old tradition started by the king of Kashi. Talented actors perform scenes from Ramayana on beautifully built sets beside Ramnagar Fort. The performance is complimented by masks, music and huge papier-mâché figures. On the day of Dussehra, a large statue of Ravana is burnt in the main square to honour the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana. Immersion of Goddess Durga’s idol in river adds a flavour of Kolkata’s Durga Puja to the celebration.
Dussehra celebration in Kullu begins on Vijayadashami and continues on for seven days. A large number of devotees carry idols of various gods and goddesses on their heads and join the energetic procession heading to the famous Ragunath Temple. On the last day of celebration, the procession is led to river Beas where wood and fodder are set ablaze to symbolize the burning of Lanka. Also a local fair organized during Dussehra celebration can give a glimpse in Kullu’s unadulterated culture.
Bastar, located in the state of Chhattisgarh, is very famous for its one-of-a-kind 75 days long Dussehra celebration. The festival is celebrated to honour Devi Danteshwari, main goddess of Bastar’s tribal community. The tradition of organizing this celebration was initiated by the king of Bastar, Purushottam Dev, in the 13th century. This festival offers a peek in the tribal lifestyle of the town. Many deities from the neighbouring towns and villages are brought to the Danteshwari Temple in a chariot procession. The celebration includes a lot of unique and unusual ceremonies and rituals like worshipping wood, posting pillars, installing urns, setting up a throne for Devi Kanchan, holding a meeting of tribal leaders and so on. At the end of this festival, devotees bid goodbye to their deities through cultural music and dance performances.
These were some of the places infamous for their distinctive Dussehra celebration. So, let your festive spirit soar by having one of these once-in-a-lifetime experiences on Dussehra.
Q. When is Dussehra celebrated?
Dussehra is celebrated either in late September or early October annually. The exact date is decided as per the Hindu lunar calendar.
Q. Are there any Dussehra celebrations outside India?
Yes, some countries like Nepal and Bangladesh also celebrate the festival. Dussehra has been declared as national day in Malaysia.
Q. What route does the Mysore Dussehra procession take?
It starts from the palace and heads towards Albert Victor Road. It leads to K.R Circle, takes a right towards Sayyaji Rao Road and keeps moving along the same path, passing by Bamboo Bazaar and Highway Circle. Then it finally enters Bannimantap Grounds.
Q. What are the best places to eat in Kolkata during Dussehra?
Street food shops in Kolkata are very popular during these times. You can have your fill of delectable street food at every nook and cranny of the city. Rolls shops in New Market and Park Street are quite popular during Dusshera. Best puchkas in Kolkata are found in Vivekanand Park.
Q. Does Ramlila performed in Varanasi end on the last day of Dussehra?
No, an event ‘Bharat Milaap’ is organized the next day. The actors perform the scene of Ramayana where Lord Rama reunites with Bharat after his return to Ayodhya.