Dussehra is a major Hindu festival celebrated mainly in September or October all over India. The festival marks the conquest of good over evil, as it was on this day that Lord Rama, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, destroyed the ten-headed demon king Ravana.
Also, the victory of Goddess Durga over the buffalo demon Mahishasura. Dussehra is derived from Sanskrit words where “Das” means ‘ten’ and “Hara” means ‘defeat’.
Dussehra is known by various names, such as Dussehra, Dashain in Nepal, Durgotsav, Navratri and Vijayadashami in India. It is one of the prominent festivals celebrated in India as well as in neighbouring Hindu countries.
According to the Hindu calendar, Dussehra is celebrated on the tenth day of the Shukla Paksha (Waxing moon period) in Ashwin (September-October). In 2023, Dussehra or Vijayadashami will be celebrated on Wednesday, 23 October and Tuesday, 24 October.
According to mythology, it is the day when Lord Rama killed the ten-headed demon Ravana, the king of Lanka. Goddess Sita, the wife of Rama, was abducted by Ravana and taken to Lanka as a prisoner. A fierce battle ensued for ten days between Lord Rama and King Ravana to rescue Goddess Sita.
On the 10th day, the war culminated, and Lord Rama successfully killed ten-headed Ravana and brought goddess Sita back home. Therefore, the victory of good over evil and the homecoming of Lord Rama, his consort Goddess Sita, brother Lord Lakshmana and Lord Hanuman is celebrated with great enthusiasm by Hindus all over India as Dussehra.
In the Northern region of India, including Delhi, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, Dussehra is the last day festival celebrated after the nine long fasts of Navratri. Delhi, the capital of India, celebrates Dussehra with much fun, fanfare, and dance.
The city is also known for organizing the best Ram Leela shows. Varanasi, a city in Uttar Pradesh known as the holiest place in India, also organizes Ram-Leela shows on this day.
Dussehra in Mysore, the second largest city in Karnataka, has been celebrated for a long time, and the whole town is illuminated to mark the auspicious occasion.
Along with this, Goddess Chamundeshwari is worshipped on this day, and a grand procession of her idol is also carried out in Mysore. For Kullu, a city in Himachal Pradesh, Dussehra is a royal-led festival lasting 7-8 days.
Meanwhile, in the eastern region, including West Bengal, Bihar and Odisha, Dussehra is celebrated as the end of Durga Puja, known as Vijayadashami.
On this day, married women wear red saris and offer sweets, flowers and vermilion to Goddess Durga. For Bengalis, it is an emotional festival where an idol of Goddess Durga is immersed in water while singing Bengali folk songs.
Vijayadashami is another name for Dussehra and is celebrated in different ways in every part of India, including holding public processions, Ram-Leela performances, Ravana Dahan, vibrant exhibitions and fairs.
People also burst crackers on this day and end the festival with a huge feast. Also, people in some parts of India wear new clothes and visit puja pandals, relishing traditional cuisine and enjoying it with friends and families.
Dussehra is a significant Hindu festival celebrated in the month of Ashwin according to the Hindu calendar.
Different names mark Dussehra, culminating after the 9th day of Navratri and also coinciding with the end of Durga Puja. It is a festival to celebrate the triumph of Lord Rama over the demon Ravana as well as the victory of Goddess Durga over the buffalo demon Mahishasura.
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