As Ravanas burnt, Goddess Durga leaves for her heavenly abode (Lead-Dusshera festival)

November 14th, 2007 - 2:37 am ICT by admin  
Effigies of demon King Ravana and his brothers- Kumbhakaran and Meghnath were burnt with actors dressed as Hindu Gods Rama, Laxmana and Hanumana marching the grounds, depicting the famous mythical battle.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi were present at one such ceremony in the national capital, which was held at the historic Ramlila ground.

Priyanka Gandhi was also present along with her kids at the ceremony.

Dusshera marks the end of the nine-day long Navratri festival. The day signifies the victory of Lord Rama over demon king Ravana, who had abducted Rama’s wife, Goddess Sita.

In the Muslim-dominated town of Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh, people take part in the annual Ram Lila even with much enthusiasm, where they enacted the scenes from Holy Hindu scripture Ramayana.

“The importance of this Ram Lila is that only one per cent of people here are Hindu and the rest are Muslims; but Ram Lila is organised with enthusiasm and Muslims come here in large numbers to witness the play,” said Pankaj Darpana, who directs the Ram Lila in Moradabad.

In Ambala in Haryana, people burnt a 120-feet tall effigy of the demon king, which the locals claimed as one of the tallest. Around 12 workers from Agra were utilised to construct the ‘record breaking’ effigy. Here the effigies of Meghnath and Kumbhakaran were 70 and 65 feet respectively.

As rest of the country burnt effigies of demon king, villagers near Kanpur worship Ravana on this day.

“We pray to ‘Ravana’ because of the legend that says Rama offered prayers to the demon before killing him,” said Sunil Tiwari the priest of the ancient temple where the idol of Ravana is worshipped.

The locals revere the demon king as ‘Ravana Baba’ and feel that the demon king protects their habitation from evil designs.

The day was also celebrated as Vijay Dashmi, the last day of the ten-day long Durga Puja. The festival, which is celebrated with fervour and zeal mostly in eastern part of the country, today came to an end with the immersion of idols of Goddess Durga in rivers, ponds and other water bodies.

The ten-day long festival also symbolizes the victory of good over evil as the goddess kills the demon Mahisasura, according to Hindu mythology.

Bengalis, for whom the celebration of the festival is part of their culture and time to meet their near and dear ones, consider that the Goddess Durga comes on earth during this time and on Vijay Dashmi she leaves for her heavenly abode.

From afternoon devotees started gathering along the makeshift camps (pandals), where idols were kept for the last ten days, for the immersion ceremony.

Married ladies, including mothers, wives and daughters with their faces smeared with vermilion joined together to bid adieu to the Goddess.

They applied vermilion on each other, praying for the well being of their better halves, asking the Goddess for her blessings, seeking prosperity, health, wealth and peace.

In Agartala, where the festival is celebrated with pomp and fervour, people danced around in the rhythm of the dhakis (drummers) playing the dhak (traditional drum) with their maximum strength bidding the Mother Goddess farewell.

Vijay Dashmi, as the day is known, is a mixture of joy and sadness as it marks the end of the puja but with better hope for the coming year.

“We prayed that Goddess Durga should grace her earthly abode again next year. The festivities bring us closer and for this year were ending. It is a moment of happiness for all of us here and at the same time we are sad that the puja is ending,” said Reba Chakraboty, a devotee.

The Durga Puja rituals start with Bodhan, the invocation of goddess Durga on the first day, and ends with ‘Sindoor khela,’ the ritual where married women put vermilion on each other before the immersion march of the Goddess Durga begins. (ANI)

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