Dussehra or Dasara or Vijayadashami is one of the most popular festivals in India. This festival is observed in different formsthroughout India or Nepal. Dussehra is observed on the 10th day of the Shukla Paksha or bright fortnight in the month of Ashwayuja or Ashwin according to the Hindu calendar.

About Dussehra

This festival marks the majestic end to the famous Navaratri Festival held for 10 days every year. In Nepal, it is the most important festival in Nepal and observed equally by Hindus and non Hindus.

Dussehra or Vijayadashami is called in other names such as Dashahara, Dasara, Durgotsav and Navaratri. Dussehra is observed in the synodic month of Ashwin (normally in September or October). It begins from the Shukla Paksha Pratipada (the day after Bhadrapada) and goes on till Dashami which is the 10th day of Ashwin.

The season of harvesting starts during this period. According to Hindu mythology, the mother earth is the resource of all food, prayers are offered to the Mother Goddess to commence the new crop season and to rejuvenate the energy and fecundity of the earth. This is performed through various customs and rites which appeal to celestial bodies that are assumed to reactivate the earth.

Celebrations Of Dussehra

On the day of Dussehra, images of Goddess Durga are immersed in the river waters. These images are created with mud and the Puja is carried out with turmeric and other articles, which are strong antiseptics and blended in the river waters. The purpose is to make the water helpful for the cultivators to get improved harvest.

The initiator of Hindu Swarajya or Hindawi and the famous Maratha Kingdom, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj constantly paid his respect to Goddess Durga and Lord Shiva. Prior to any war or military campaign, he revered Goddess Bhawani. It is proclaimed that he was sanctified by her own sword on this holy day which is also known as the Bhawani Talwar.

Dussehra is celebrated to observe the triumph of good over evil. Trucks, vehicles and equipments in factories are bedecked magnificently.Vijayadashami is also observed as Vyasa Puja since Veda Vyasa is regarded as the first Guru. Unique features of Dussehra include Shastra puja or veneration of weapons. Astra or Shastra (the weapons) utilized by Goddess Durga are adored on this sacred day.

In states like Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Western Uttar Pradesh, it is customary to sow barley seeds in clay pots on the opening day of Navaratri. On Vijayadashami, the nortas or noratras (9-day old buds) are utilized as signs of fortune. Men put them on their hats or at the back of their ears.

In majority of areas of North India (Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi) and particular regions of Maharashtra, Dussehra is observed more in respect of Rama. Throughout these 10 days, various stage shows and dramas related to Ramayana are presented. These are known as Ramlila. In West Bengal, Dussehra is observed in the form of Durga Puja.

The other festivals except Dussehra celebrated in Delhi are:

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