Dussehra 2023 is a day when Lord Rama killed demon king Ravana. This day is celebrated as Hindu festival and everyone joins in. Dussehra festival signifies the triumph of good over evil. Dussehra derived from Sanskrit which means dasha (ten) and hara (defeat), 10-headed Ravana defeated. And the enormous effigies of demon Ravana, Meghanath and Kumbhkaran are burnt on Dussehra.
What’s the Story behind Dussehra ?
Difference between Vijay Dashami and Dussehra :
According to Hindu mythology, the demon King Ravana abducted Lord Ram’s wife Goddess Sita and took her to his kingdom, Golden Lanka and held her hostage. To get her wife back Lord Rama traveled to Lanka with Lord Hanuman and an army of monkeys (called ‘vanar sena’). There Lord Rama killed the demon Ravana and got his wife Goddess Sita back and this day is celebrated as Vijaya Dashami oftenly called Dussehra.
Another Story is, the demon Mahishasura got the boon from Lord Brahma, that any deity (Devta) can not defeat him. But later Goddess Durga defeated the demon Mahishasura. So this Dussehra (or ‘Vijay Dashami’) is celebrated on the 10th day of ‘Sharad Navratri’ (after worshiping Goddess Durga for 9 days).
So this depicts the difference between Vijayadashami and Dussehra.
When is Dussehra celebrated ?
Dussehra or Vijaya dashami is celebrated in the month of Ashwina (Hindu calendar) on the 10th day (called ‘Shukla Paksh Dashami’) every year, this year Dussehra is celebrated on 24 October 2023. Dussehra also known as the 10th day of Sharad Navratri ‘Vijayadashami’, the 9 days are dedicated to Goddess Durga who killed demon Mahishasura.
Dussehra marks the beginning of preparation for the Diwali festival which comes after 20 days.
Why does Diwali come after 20 days of Dussehra ?
Diwali comes after 20 days of Dussehra, when Lord Rama killed demon king Ravana and rescued his wife back from Ravana’s captivity. After this Lord Rama returned to his kingdom Ayodhya and he reached after 20 days, i.e. to welcome Lord Rama and his wife Goddess Sita and Lord Laxman. People decorated the entire kingdom with earthen lamps to welcome the Lord Rama and Diwali is celebrated as ‘festival of lights’.
It’s a coincidence or a fact Lord Rama’s traveling time from Sri Lanka to Ayodhya is 20 / 21 days. A person actually takes around 21 days to travel the journey between Sri Lanka and Ayodhya is shown nowadays in Google maps.
How is Dussehra celebrated in different parts or states of India ?
Best places to visit Dussehra in India ?
– Ahmedabad, Gujarat
It’s one of the best places to celebrate Navratri and Dussehra. During this festive season, people gather to show their traditional dance ‘Garba’, play ‘Dandiya’ with sticks and deck up in traditional costumes.
– Bastar Dussehra, Jagdalpur
This 75 day long dussehra is celebrated by tribes of Chhattisgarh with such enthusiasm that everyone must visit this once in a lifetime. Many rituals and events are performed during this 75 days long festival like pata jatra (worship of wood), kachan gaadi (throne installation of Devi kachan) local deity, nisha jatra (night time festival), ohadi (farewell to deities) and many more.
– Madikeri Dasara, Karnataka
10-day festival celebration which is adorned by 4 Karagas and 10 Mantapas, depicts the killing of demons by God and Goddesses. The town is lit up like a carnival, a must visit once in a lifetime like event.
– Kota, Rajasthan
Huge Fair is organized during Dussehra, filled with food stalls, cultural dance, drama, and fireworks, especially the burning of huge effigies of Ravana on Dussehra or Vijayadashmi.
– Ram leela, Varanasi, UP
It is the holiest city, here navratri is celebrated in grand style. Thousands of diyas are lit up on varanasi ghats, aartis performed during dusk and dawn at the ghats must be attended. Ramcharitmanas chanted all over the city, Ramleela is performed in a grand manner and ends with burning huge effigies of Ravana on Dussehra. ‘Ayodhya’ is also a must visit place during navratri.
– Bathukamma Panduga
Bathukamma means ‘Mother Goddess comes alive’. This festival begins on the Mahalaya Amavasya with the start of Navratri and ends on Saddula Bathukamma. It’s a floral festival, in which a beautiful stack of flowers is created in the shape of a temple with seasoned flowers. The festival is celebrated for 9 days with joy, traditional dance, music and much more. On the last day Bathukamma is set float in a water body.
– Kolkata, West Bengal
The best place to celebrate Navratri or Durga Puja or Vijayadashami (Dussehra), huge pandals (‘tents’) created with great statues of Goddess Durga and all this decorated with flowers, lights. Everyone is soaked in festive fervor. Many cultural performances and rituals are performed during this Durgotsav.
– Kullu Dussehra, Himachal Pradesh
Here Navratri is celebrated with Kullu Dussehra in Himachal Pradesh, which lasts for seven days. Thousands of devotees from nearby places and across many states visit Kullu’s Raghunath ji temple. Huge parades with local deities from nearby villages head towards this temple and many events are also held during this festival.
– Mysuru Dasara, Karnataka
During navratri mysore palace is lightened up, many events are held in front of the palace. Goddess Durga image mounted on a golden saddle atop an elephant and horse procession is carried out in the city. Huge procession of elephants and horses with dance groups and musicians are carried out in the city. It’s also called Mysuru Dasara or Nadahabba festival.
The public can watch events live by : https://mysoredasara.gov.in
– Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh
Thousands of devotees visit Kanak Durga temple, Sri Durga Malleswara Swamyvarla Devasthanam, Mangalgiri Laxmi Narsimha temple, where Dasara is celebrated and many events are also held and everyone is in festive fervor.
– Ramlila Maidan, Delhi
The most awaited festival in Delhi is Dussehra, celebrated with great pomp and joy as the capital illuminated with festivity fervor. Fair and events are organized, everyone plays Garba and Dandiya and worship Goddess Durga. Ram leela plays are performed throughout the city, burning a huge effigy of Ravana in Ramlila Maidan.
– Bommai Kolu, Tamil Nadu :
Golu or Bommai Kolu in Tamil, Bommai Koluvu in Telugu. To celebrate Golu, people set up a multi-step staircase display of figurines of God, Goddess, toys and dolls decorated with lights and flowers. The number of steps should be an odd number 3,5,7,9 or 11 and pay homage to Goddess Saraswati, Laxmi, Durga. Ayudha puja is also done in Tamil Nadu. Friends, relatives, neighbors are invited to homes, wish each other and exchange gifts.