Dussehra, or Vijayadashmi is marked on the tenth day after the nine days of Navratri. It is a major festival celebrated with great fervour all over India. Here are 10 places to experience the different flavours of Dussehra.
Go on a pandal-hopping spree where you can see the various statues of elaborately decorated Goddess Durga. Partake of the bhog and sample the famous Bengali sweets. The celebrations culminate with the immersing of the Durga idols in the river.
Kota is known for its month-long Dussehra mela. Artisans and craftsmen from neighbouring towns sell their wares here. You can enjoy cultural performances while sampling the best of Rajasthani food. Remember to stay back for the final Dussehra event where 75 ft-tall statues of Ravana, Meghnath and Kumbhakarna are set ablaze.
Barara, near Chandigarh, boasts of the tallest statue of Ravana made for Dussehra. The last known height was 210 ft and it promises to increase every year. Colourful markets, foot-tapping music and dance add to the festive atmosphere.
A perfect time to combine a visit to the cool coffee county of Coorg is during the Madikeri Dussehra celebrations. Here you can experience festivities for 10 days where they honour the Mariamma Goddess. Karaga dance marks the occasion.
Delhi dons a new avatar during Dussehra with hundreds of special stages set up for the Ram Lila musicals across Old Delhi and elsewhere. Sky-high effigies of Ravana, Meghnath and Kumbhakarana are set on fire on the last day of Navaratri.
Kullu Dussehra starts on the day when the festivities across the rest of the country end. Over 200 deities from neighbouring villages are brought to the Lord Raghunatha Temple and carried in processions to a central place – Dhalpur Maidan. The rath yatra (chariot ride) is accompanied by local dance and music. On the last day, you can witness the burning of Lanka town – symbolised by dry grass and leaves set aflame.
The Mysuru Dasara celebrations are marked by regal grandeur. It’s a royal tradition started by the Vijayanagara kings, over 400 years ago, and later continued by the Wodeyar family. Don’t miss the final day Jamboo Savari where an elaborately dressed elephant with a golden howdah, carries the 750 kg heavy idol of Mysore’s Goddess Chamundeshwari – the one who slew the demon Mahishasura- in a procession.
Join in for some Garba and Dandiya dance while you savour the mouth-watering delicacies of Gujarat. All nine evenings begin with a pooja for Ma Amba (Goddess Durga) and continue till the wee hours of morning as the locals dance the night away.
Head to Ramnagar, near Varanasi, to watch a 200-year-old tradition of the Ramayana on stage. Over a month long performances of various scenes of the Ramayana are held across the town. The day of Dussehra marks Rama’s victory over Ravana as a tall effigy of the demon is set ablaze in the town’s main square.
Experience a tribal celebration of Dussehra at Jagdalpur with some unusual rituals. Here a local Goddess Danteshwari and the temple is the focus of celebrations. The entire festival lasts for 75 days with the last 10 days leading to Dussehra celebrations.