The festival of Dussehra is celebrated all over the country with much fervour and enthusiasm. Also known as Vijayadashmi, it is one of the major Hindu festivals and is celebrated at the end of Navaratri and Durga Puja. This year, the suspicious festival will be celebrated all over India on October 8. It marks the victory of good over evil. Dussehra celebrations in India include everything from the immersion of Goddess Durga to burning of the Ravana effigies to signify the end of evil. Dussehra festival also marks the beginning of preparation for Diwali festival.
According to popular Hindu beliefs, Lord Rama fought against Ravana for ten days and defeated him to save his wife, Sita. The victory of Lord Rama over Ravana signifies good over evil. In most parts of the country, people fast for nine days after which Dussehra is celebrated. The eastern states celebrate Durga Puja signifying good over evil after Goddess Durga killed demon Mahisasura. While in the Southern states, Goddess Durga or Goddess Chamundeswari is worshipped who defeated demon Mahisasura and his army on Chamundi hills to protect the people. Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess Saraswati, Lord Ganesha and Lord Kartikeya are worshipped are also worshipped on this day.
In the southern states, the day is known as Vijayadashami where special prayers and rituals are performed in temples and households. The festival is also celebrated on a large scale in the neighbouring country of Nepal by a large population.
During this festival, Ramleela or plays are organised in temple grounds and at other events that enact the tale of The Ramayana. Idols of Goddess Durga are immersed into the water following grand processions and special prayers. Food being an integral part of India’s festivities, Dussehra or Durga Puja also with the esses preparation of sweets like rasgula, halwa, ladoo, barfi and various other dishes.
The puja is performed for ‘Astra’ and prayers are offered to Lord Ram, Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughan. On this day puja is performed by keeping coins, roli, rice, flower and Chuara intwo bowls. Fruits such as banana, radish, gwarphalii, jiggery and rice are offered to Lord Ram. Lighting diya, dhoop and intense sticks are a part of the ritual.