India is popular all over the world, for its rich traditions, cultural heritage and festivals. Being a secular country with innumerable languages and religions, we get to see a variety of so many beautiful and vibrant festivals. Every festival has a story behind it, right from the beliefs, to the customs and rituals, the food and the clothing, everything is distinct and unique.Festivals are a great time for families and friends to unite and rejoice. Some of the popular Hindu festivals are Diwali, Holi, Ganesh Chaturthi, and Dussehra. For Muslims, Eid al-Fitr, Muharram, Eid Milan un-Nabi are some of the auspicious days while Christians celebrate festivals like Christmas and Easter. The Sikh community celebrates Baisakhi and Lohri. Today I’ll Dussehra 2018. Apart from these nationally known festivals, there are many regional festivals in various parts of our country.
Among the Hindu festivals, Dussehra is one of the most glorious and vibrant ones. Dussehra is celebrated on the 10th day of the month Ashwin, according to the Hindu Calendar, which falls in the month of September or October. It is celebrated 20 days before Diwali.
The festival celebrates the triumph of Good over Evil. It is celebrated for various reasons and in various ways in different parts of the country. Some parts celebrate Victory of Lord Rama over Ravana, while some others celebrate it as the triumph of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura. People seek blessings from Goddesses, give offerings and even observe fasts during the nine days of Navratri.
Let us have a look into the regional variations in Dussehra across India:
In the northern part of India, Dussehra is celebrated in the honor of Lord Rama. Dramas, dances, and music player that narrate the story of the Epic Ramayana are organized at various places and colorful fairs are put up. Effigies of Demons, Ravana, Kumbhakarana, and Meghanada are burnt on bonfires.
Kullu Dussehra is a popular festival of Himachal Pradesh, around 5 lakh people visit from all around the world. The festival is an amalgamation of dance, music, rituals, and food.
In the southern part of India, Dussehra is celebrated as Vijaya Dashmi. People worship goddesses, all the major temples and forts are beautifully lit up. The sight is a delight to the eyes. Mysore is a prominent attraction on the eve of Dusshera. The Magnificent Tipu Sultan Palace is beautifully decorated. People worship Goddess Saraswathi and also their work-related tools, and books are cleaned and worshipped.
In Maharashtra majestic idols of the deities are installed on the first day on Navratri. Devotees visit to seek blessings and chant prayers. On the nine days of Navratri, people play traditional dandiya dance, accompanied by melodious folk songs and even cinematic songs. After the nine days of worship and celebrations, the idols are immersed in water. In Gujarat, people perform their traditional Garba dance during Navratri, they dance enthusiastically to the tunes of traditional beats
In the eastern part of India, Dussehra is celebrated as Bijoya Dashami. There is a great procession, the idols are ceremoniously walked to a river where they are immersed. People distribute sweets and gifts and visit their friends and families. The Durga Pooja in West Bengal attracts tourists from all around the globe. The whole city lights up numerous beautiful pandals, people celebrate with zeal and joy. This year Dussehra falls on the 19th of October. People are eagerly waiting as it is as the date is approaching. Since children have school holidays, families plan for vacations during this time.
These are some of the places where you can spend Dussehra holidays:
Mysore is one of the best places to visit during Dussehra. One of the major attractions is the magnificent Mysore Palace which is beautifully light with over 1,00,000 bulbs. There are various cultural events organized outside the palace. The streets are filled with stalls serving lip-smacking local delicacies. There are numerous pandals erected across the city with events such as folk dance and musical programs.
The capital of India has a very vibrant and fun-filled Dussehra celebration. Colorful fairs are set up, the effigies of Ravana and Meghanada are burnt celebrating the victory of good over evil. There are plays (Ramleelas) conducted all over the city which beautifully emulates the story of the epic Ramayana. Apart from the traditional dandiya nights, there is a fusion of Bollywood music and beats.
Varanasi is also a good place to visit during Dussehra. It is a very auspicious and holistic place for the Hindu devotees. All the temples in the city are beautifully decorated. There are Ramleela shows conducted at various places.
Spending Dussehra holidays in Kolkata is a must have experience. It is a rich amalgamation of music, food, and colors. The streets are brightly illuminated and filled with decorated theme-based pandals, food stalls and stages with dance and music. The Durga Pooja which is also called as Durgotsava attracts tourists from various parts of the world. Along with goddess Durga, Goddess Saraswathi, Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Ganesha, and Lord Karthikeya are also worshipped.
Kullu also known as the Valley of Gods is one of the most mesmerizing places of Himachal Pradesh. This hill town attracts tourists from all around the globe. The grand Dussehra celebrations in the Kullu valley are immensely popular and is the most sought-after location that people visit during the Dussehra holidays. In the year 1972, the Kullu Dussehra celebration was declared as an International event. It is witnessed by over 5 lakh visitors. On the last day of the celebrations, animals like crab, fish, and buffalo are sacrified and bonfires are lit. Around 300 idols of the deities are worshipped in the adjoining villages of Kullu valley. Various cultural processions from different parts of the world are invited. The Kullu Valley Dussehra experience is something one cannot afford to miss!
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