Vijayadashami often referred to as Dusshera, is the celebration of the victory of good over evil. In the month of Ashwin (the seventh month of the Hindu calendar), at the conclusion of Navratri every year, Dusshera is celebrated. The name of the festival is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Dasha’ (meaning ten) and ‘Hara’ (meaning defeat).
Why do we celebrate Dusshera?
Dusshera is celebrated to honor the triumph of Lord Rama over the demon king Ravana. From the epics of Ramayana, Lord Rama was the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu who killed the ten-headed demon king Ravana, who abducted his wife, Sita, in the Sat Yuga.
Lord Rama traveled all the way to Lanka (Ravana’s domain) with the support of his brother Lakshman and his devotee Hanuman in order to confront Ravana and get Sita back. Rama prayed to Durga as they were traveling in order to obtain the courage and strength. Ravana’s death marked the end of evil. This day also signifies the victory of the warrior goddess Durga over the buffalo monster Mahishasura.
How do we celebrate Dusshera?
The festival of Dussehra is observed with tremendous zeal and grandeur. In North India, Ramlila, a dramatization of Lord Rama’s life, takes place in the nine days before Dussehra and culminates with the death of Ravana and the burning of his life-size effigy, together with those of Meghnad and Kumbhakaran, on the day of Dussehra or Vijayadashami. As each of Ravana’s heads represents a different negative attribute, Dussehra also represents cleansing oneself of sins or undesirable traits.
Significance of Dusshera
The festival of Dussehra celebrates the triumph of good over evil. Truth and righteousness always triumph, no matter what dark forces try to drive you. Additionally, Dussehra is seen as a good day to make fresh investments or start new enterprises. On this day, tiny children are admitted to schools in various parts of South India.
Best Places to Celebrate Dusshera in India
One of the best spots to see the Dussehra festival is in Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal. A massive procession of gods is led toward the Ganga during the celebration. One of the best ways to observe immersion is by renting a boat.
The idols of all the prominent Himachal Pradesh deities congregate in the Kullu municipality during Dussehra to honor Lord Raghunath. This is undoubtedly a must-attend event.
The Dussehra melas in the Rajasthani city of Kota is well-known. During the occasion, morning religious ceremonies are held in the royal palace. A vibrant parade leads the king and other royal family members.
Mysore is a city in India’s southwestern Karnataka state. The royal family worships the idol of Goddess Chamundeswari (or Maa Durga) during Dussehra at the lit Mysore Palace in Karnataka. Her idol is then brought outside for a parade.
One of the well-known activities that happen during Dussehra is the Ramlila, which takes place in Old Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan. The narrative of Lord Rama’s victory over the evil king Ravana is dramatized during Ramlila. The Ravana effigy is burned after Ramadan.
Dusshera marks the beginning of preparation for Diwali, which occurs 20 days after Dussehra, the day when Lord Rama reached Ayodhya with Sita after 14 years of exile following his triumph over Ravana. The festival of lights, also known as Diwali, is one of the most significant and well-known festivals. Shami tree worship is particularly significant on Vijayadashami since it is said that Arjun hid his weapons there while he was in exile. In several of the south Indian states, Shami Puja is also known as Banni Puja and Jammi Puja. Devotees wish Maa Durga farewell on Dashami, and the visarjan is performed during the Aparahna period or when Dashami Tithi is in effect.
When Maa Durga’s idol is submerged in water on Vijayadashmi, her followers pray that she would bless them and protect them from any harm and misery. Both Vijayadashmi and Dussehra commemorate the triumph of good over evil, and worshippers celebrate the festivals by indulging in a variety of foods with their loved ones.
Happy Dussehra to everyone!