Dussehra marks the tenth and final day of the Navratri festival, and a celebration of the victory of good over evil. It marks the vanquishing of Ravana by the mythological king Rama, as told in the epic Ramayana. Fittingly, the festival itself is of epic proportions, with massive effigies of Ravana burnt. With Dussehra 2017 falling on a Saturday, September 30, this year, it’s a good time to head out and explore how different parts of the country celebrate the festival. We highlight 10 such places to visit during Dussehra. ALSO READ: Importance and significance of Dasara, Vijayadashmi Also Read - 'Be Infected With Coronavirus': Lawyer Curses Calcutta High Court Judge After Unfavourable Verdict
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
The historic city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, by the banks of the Ganga River, is arguably the Hindu spiritual center of India. So it makes sense that the city also celebrates Dussehra in the most traditional way, combining the rites of both Durga Puja. Ramnagar, around 15 km from Varanasi, hosts one of the most famous Ramleela performances, continuing a tradition started centuries ago by the ruler of Kashi. Also Read - Bizarre: Kolkata Sweet Shop Comes up With Coronavirus-Shaped Sandesh, Cake - Will You Eat?
An effigy of Ravana for Dussehra
If world records are your thing, head to the small town of Barara in Haryana, around 80 from Chandigarh and near Ambala. The small town is famous for setting up the tallest effigy of Ravana in the world, standing at more than 200 feet. Naturally, watching fire consume the tallest effigy in the world is a sight in itself. Also Read - 9 PM 9 Minutes: TMC Leader Warns Against Switching Off Lights, BJP Calls it Intimidation Tactic
Kolkata, West Bengal
Durga idol at Ekdalia Evergreen, Photograph courtesy: Biswarup Ganguly/Wikimedia Commons
Kolkata will be celebrating the final of Durga Puja on Dussehra. In West Bengal and other parts of the country, Dussehra is celebrated as Vijayadashami, which celebrates another battle of good versus evil, featuring the goddess Durga and the demon Mahishasura. This is the best time to visit the city of joy to experience its culture and celebrations. CHECK OUT: Durga Puja 2017 celebration in Kolkata: 5 Things You Must not Miss in Kolkata during Navratri 2017
Kullu, Himachal Pradesh
Dussehra in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, Photography courtesy: Wikimedia commons/Kundephy
Kullu valley in Himachal Pradesh celebrates its own way too. Like Mysore, this version of Dussehra also involves royalty, though the customs are very different. For Kullu Dussehra, the local gods and goddesses are brought to meet Lord Raghunath, a deity of Rama. Festivities go on for seven days, with a pile of wood representing Ravana burnt along the banks of the Beas River on the final day.
Dancers playing Garba during Navratri in Ahmedabad
We’ve talked about customs and traditions, but if you want to just get loose and dance the night away, head to the Dandiya and Garba events in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Here, it’s all about dance, dance and more dance, wearing traditional and colorful Gujarati outfits and with (or without) Dandiya sticks in your hands.
A scene from annual Ramlila at Ramlila Maidan, New Delhi, Photograph Courtesy: Ankit Gupta/Wikimedia Commons
If you want to experience a quintessential Dussehra celebration, head to the capital city of New Delhi. Catch the local retelling of the Ramayana at the Ramleela Maidan to learn more about the story behind the festival, first-hand. Cap that off with watching the effigy of Ravana burn through the night as festivities continue. The Red Fort lawns and ground are also great places to celebrate Dussehra.
Mysore too has its own take on the festival: the ten-day Mysore Dasara. This festival essentially extends throughout Navratri, and its history dates back to the days of the Mysore kingdom more than four centuries ago. Even today, Mysore Dasara remains a royal festival, with the royal family taking part and many of the festivities hosted at the Mysore palace. NOW READ: Dussehra 2017: Whats Going to Happen During Mysore Dasara 2017
Garh Palace, Kota, Rajasthan, Photograph courtesy: Ritukejai/Wikimedia Commons
The city of Kota on the banks of the Chambal River in southeast Rajasthan is famous for its Dussehra Mela, which goes on for a month. Head here for the fairs and cultural performances that take place at the fair, topped off with the burning of three 75-foot effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkarna and Meghnath.