Be it pandal-hopping in West Bengal or doing ‘Garba’ the whole night in Ahmedabad; enjoying delicacies in Kerala or witnessing spectacular Ram-Leelas in Varanasi- Dussehra is a celebration of “Good over Evil” and devotees from all over India celebrate the day in their own grand and special ways
Here, is a brief journey through cities that celebrate the day through utmost enthusiasm and their own special local practices.
Think Dussehra in Kolkata?
Think colourful pandals, mouth-watering Bengali sweets, sacred bhogs and crazy energy.
Kolkata is considered to be the Dussehra capital of India. The ‘City of Joy’ certainly does justice to its name once the celebrations start and the ambience is filled with the vigour of the festivities.
If you’re headed to Kolkata this Dussehra, do not miss out on the pandal-hopping spree and immerse yourself in the musical celebration, moving along with the dhaak beats.
Besides, treating yourself to unique cultural experiences through visiting pandals and introducing your taste-buds to heavenly snacks, you can also visit the traditional Bonedi Pari Pujas to explore the local culture and rejoice in the vibrant ambience of the festival.
Dussehra in Ahmedabad is a scene straight out of a movie. The colourful folk-dances, the lively Garba you can participate in, the colourful lights adorning the city- make the experience of Dussehra in the city truly dream-like.
The festival is celebrated as ‘Navratra’ here and days and nights are marked by the performance of aarti around the statue of Goddess Shakti, prayer offerings to Goddess Durga and the famous folk-dance of Garba.
So, the next time you are here during Dussehra, get your ‘Kedias’ and ‘Lehenga-cholis’ ready and immerse yourself in the infectious energy that sweeps over the city during the festival.
Dussehra in Kullu is marked by the popular festival of Kullu Valley. The festival is one grand occasion and consists of various dance and music performances that display various local traditions. The entire Kullu Valley is displayed with bright colours and a huge procession carrying idols of gods and goddesses to the main ground for the festival, can be witnessed. The festival concludes with the very famous performance of Lankadahan by the side of Beas River, that you cannot miss at any cost!
The State Government even accorded the status of ‘International festival’ to Kullu Dussehra which attracts more than 4-5 lakhs people from different corners of the world. The experience of celebrating Dussehra in Kullu is truly once you’ll remember for a lifetime.
Dussehra or as it is alternatively known, ‘Dasara’ in Mysuru is celebrated with great enthusiasm and vigour. The legend that travels in the city is that, on this auspicious day, Goddess Chamundeshwari (also called Durgaa) had killed the demon Mahishasura.
Until today, the Goddess’ courage and bravery is recounted and celebrated on the day of Dasara. For this effect, many military parades, athletic performances and cultural performances are showcased. The royal tradition’s legacy is carried forward and the Mysuru Palace is grandly decorated and the Durbar there is visited by the royalties, locals and tourists.
On the final day of the celebration, the ‘Jumbo Savari’ is carried out in the bustling streets of the city and you can spot an elaborately dressed elephant with a golden howdah, carrying an idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari. It’s a sight you certainly wouldn’t want to miss!
Varanasi- a city known for its unique blend of spirituality, tourism and culture- brings all these elements to life during the celebrations of Dussehra every year. Navratri brings along with it various Ramlila events- the grandest one being held in Ramnagar.
These lively events are of great entertainment to the audience, as they outline a 200-year-old tradition of Ramayana on the stage. Usually, local actors play the various characters in the place and entire villages plan out the proceedings with great unity and an infectious enthusiasm. Over a million pilgrims arrive annually for the vast processions and performances of Ramlila. Spiritual visits to temples are also a great way to reconnect with yourself and the spiritual spirit of the city- during the auspicious time of Dussehra.
Vijayadashami in Kerala is celebrated in its own unique way. The Keralites prefer to instil their own values of education, offerings and worship of domestic animals, vehicles etc- in their celebrations.
On this day, they worship Goddess Saraswati and students keep their books in front of her idol for two days along with other offerings such as sugarcane, jaggery etc.
On the tenth day of this celebration, a special puja is done after which the books are taken back, and other items such as domestic animals, instruments etc are worshipped by the Keralites.
The celebration of Vijayadashami is blended with Kerala’s own local culture and traditions and a taste of the same by any passing tourist, is indeed a soulful experience.
The City of Nawaabs, celebrates Dussehra as a dedication to Goddess Gauri called ‘Bathukamma’. Lord Ganesha is worshipped and women dance around temple gopurams that are adorned with beautiful decorations to catch any fleeting traveller’s eye.
The fireworks in the city are a treat to the eye and will always put you in a good mood. The city is blessed with beautiful colours and unlimited food options during this time. Food items like ‘payasam’ and ‘sabudana vada’ are utter delicacies that you should always get a taste during the festival season.
When you think about celebrations in the capital city, you always enter the place with high expectations.
The festivities in the Capital during Dussehra lives up to those expectations, more often than not. Spanning over 9 days, Dussehra in Delhi is no small affair. Dramatic Ram-Leelas, fireworks, elaborate pandals in every nook and finally the burning of the effigies of Ravana on the last day of the festival- Dussehra in Delhi is one of the most lively and enchanting celebrations of all time.
Dussehra in Punjab is celebrated in the honour of Goddess Shakti. The first seven days of Navratri generally involves observance of a fast after which they perform ‘Jagraata’-that is devotional songs-and put the whole audience into a lively mood. On the eighth day of the celebration (Ashtami), hey open their fast by arranging a Bhandara for nine young girls, worshipping them all the while.
Dussehra in Punjab is marked by their spirit of selflessness and charity and can be a really heartfelt experience.
The people of Tamil Nadu rejoice and celebrate the day in their own unique way by worshipping Goddesss Laxmi, Durga and Saraswati. People visit their friends and relatives, greeting each other, and exchanging gifts. Special delicacies are cooked and a feast is set. Married women visit each other’s homes and exchange bangles, coconuts, money, Kumkum etc as gifts.
Yet, even when every place cherishes the day in its own way, Dussehra marks that one day in the calendar when communities come together and diversities flourish in a special unity- joy becoming the sole mode of communication between people of various races and languages.
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