It is that time of the year again..Dussehra. Mythologically, Dussehra is about the conquest of good over evil.
The Ramayana narrates that it was on this day of Dashami that Shri Rama, blessed with powers by Goddess Durga, and aided by his brother Lakshmana and the monkey brigade led by Hanumana, vanquished the demon king Ravana , rescuing his wife Sita and vanquishing the kingdom of Lanka in the process.
Dussehra is the culmination of nine nights of Navratri. During Navratri, many households recite the Sundara Kanda of the Ramayana, and perform Shanti Yagna at home. It is believed that this Yagna keeps the household environment clean and healthy, and rids the household of the ten bad habits, represented by the ten heads of Ravana, which are:
- Kama vasana (Lust)
- Krodha (Anger)
- Moha (Attachment)
- Lobha (Greed)
- Mada (Over Pride)
- Matsara (Jealousy)
- Swartha (Selfishness)
- Anyaaya (Injustice)
- Amanavta (Cruelty)
- Ahankara (Ego)
Dussehra is also known as Vijaya Dashami, and in the Eastern part of the country, it is the culmination of the pre-eminent religious festival, Durga Puja. On this day, the idols of Maa Durga and her progeny are immersed in the river, as a symbolic gesture of her return to her husband’s household.
Whether one believes in the story of Ramayana or not ( and there are historical reasons to believe that it is at least partially true) , Dussehra is an important event in the Indian religious calendar, and it is quite a spectacle in North India. The huge effigies of Ravana , packed with crackers, are put to flames, and the crowds rejoice in this symbolic spectacle of the victory of good over evil. Crowds gather in the Ramleela Maidans, and savour the spectacle. And over the nine nights of Navratri, culminating in Dussehra, the crowds are treated to the story of the Ramayana, full of passion, pomp , fervor and splendor.
The pictures were taken at Ram Leela Maidan, near Chandni Chowk, adjacent to the historic Red Fort, two years back. The Ram Leela festival at this venue is age-old, and was patronized by the Mughal emperor during the days of the Mughal empire.
Happy Dussehra, and may good always triumph over evil.