Ever wondered how Dussehra Celebrations across the country differ in their own ways? Read on to find 7 unique ways India celebrates this festival.
It is the season of festivities in India. The North dresses in colours of a jovial celebration and the South prepares itself to carry forward the legacy of their ancestors once again – it is that time of the year again.
We call it by different names – Durga Puja, Navratri, Dussehra, Dasra. The common thread that ties them all together? The devotion, enthusiasm and sincerity of the people. Whether it is the months of preparation for Durga Puja pandals or the 75-day long tribal celebration in Bastar – every state has their own stories.
Let us recall some of these stories of Dussehra celebrations from across the country today!
One of the best parts about festivals is the food. For those who celebrate Navratri, a nine-day fast was observed by the elders of their families. During this time, families worship the many forms of Durga. Every inch of the house would be cleaned and a sattvic lifestyle was followed for the next nine days. Whether it is the dishes prepared to offer the deity or the ones prepared specially on certain days of the nine-day long festival, these Navratri cuisines are not to be missed!
The Hindu mythology introduces Durga as the fearless, formidable warrior goddess who slays a vicious demon after he was rendered invincible by any man or god.
Navratri is predominantly a celebration of women – the ‘Shakti worship’ or divine feminine power, where the female goddess is worshipped in all her manifestations. One can appreciate the deep symbolic significance of the festival in the current times, and how powerfully it resonates with the concept of modern-day women empowerment!
For the rest of the country, the festival is celebrated a little differently. Here’s looking at 7 unique Dussehra celebrations across the country –
1. Bastar Dussehra, Chhattisgarh
Also known as Jagdalpur Dussehra, the festival is dedicated to Goddess Danteshwari Devi. The grandeur of the festival concludes in the spectacular last ten days of Dusshera. Although the festival is popularly called Dusshera, the locals do not celebrate the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana. Rather, the festivities and rituals pay homage to Goddess Danteshwari, one of the 52 Shakti Peeths existing in the country.
The celebrations go on for 75 days and it is the longest celebration in the world. You can read more about it here – Bastar Dussehra – The World’s Longest Celebration
2. Kullu Dussehra
The festival is truly unique in the entire Himalayan region, and it continues to grow year after year. The devotees in Kullu carry out a procession wherein they carry the idols of different gods from their home on their heads to meet Lord Raghunath in the temple. Hundreds of gods are brought to the temple grounds on the day of Dussehra, including Hadimba and Jamlu Rishi.
The dancing, drinking, feasting and merriment continues for a week amidst the breathtaking views of the valley. To know more about the history of this vibrant festival, read – Kullu Dussehra – Where Gods Come Together
3. Dasra in Mysore
A grand Dasara tradition started by the Wadiyar kings exists till date – a Royal Durbar (or the Dasara Durbar) is set up at the Mysore Palace, where the current symbolic king of the state holds court during the festival. He dresses up in his royal garb and takes the throne accompanied by a ceremony. This is then followed by music performances at the court.
Dussehra in Mysore started as a cultural celebration about 600 years ago, initiated by the Vijaynagara emperors. To know more about the rich history of the celebration, read – How I Celebrated Dussehra in Mysore
4. Durga Puja in Kolkata
The Durga Pujo or Durgotsava or Durga Puja is celebrated with immense joy and magnificence by the Bengali community in India. Though it’s a predominantly Bengali festival, everyone joins the celebration without any restrictions on religion, caste, creed or age.
The Durga Puja is celebrated to commemorate the victory of Goddess Durga over the evil King Mahishasura. It is also celebrated to welcome the union of the Goddess with her sons, Ganesh & Kartikeya and husband, Lord Shiva.
It is an incredible sight to witness the evening aarti during the six days of celebrations. Some important rituals include the Ashtami Pushpanjali, Kumari Puja, Sindhur Khela and Finally Vijayadashami Visarjan. People pray with diyas, collars, flowers, loud music and fragrance on all days.
The Dhunuchi dance is so mesmerizing that you would not know when you became a part of it. On the tenth day of Vijayadashami, the idols are taken from the Pandals and immersed in the local rivers marking the end of the festivities. Read more – Celebrate Durga Pujo in the Magnificent Kolkata
5. Golu Celebrations, Tamil Nadu
Navaratri is celebrated to remember the victory of Goddess Parashakti over the evil King Mahishasura. The festival is a representation of victory of good over evil. The tenth day of Navaratri is celebrated to remember the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana.
During the nine days of the festival, women perform various pujas and fast during the day. It is believed that prayers performed during this period is stronger than any time of the year. Every day after the puja and aarti, people offer “Sundal” made from one of the Navadhanyams (9 grains) for the goddess and distribute the offerings to kids and women in the neighborhood.
Evenings are the most pleasant part of the day during the Golu festival. Devotees dress up for the occasion and visit each other’s Golu decorations at home as well as in temples. To know more, read – Golu Celebrations in Tamil Nadu
6. Garba Celebrations in Gujarat
While the rest of the country celebrates this nine-day festival as a victory of good over evil, welcoming Lord Ram back to Ayodhya and so on, the state of Gujarat goes a step beyond and turns it into this cultural extravaganza.
There are about three or four major public arenas where the dance and music events are held. And one would be surprised to discover that the festival is less about the Gujarati community and more about who is ‘best-dressed or the ‘best performer’.
To know about this colourful celebration in a detailed form, read – A Navratri experience in vibrant Vadodara
7. Devaragattu Dasra, Kurnool
Also known as the Banni Festival, Devaragattu is certainly the weirdest and bloodiest Dussehra celebration anywhere in India. Every year on Dasara, the Devaragattu Temple in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh witnesses controlled violence at an unimaginable scale.
Hundreds of villagers from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh congregate in Kurnool to be a part of this rather dangerous celebration. As part of the ritual, devotees gather inside the temple complex with sticks, which they use to injure their opponents on the head. If you do not know about this unique celebration you should read – Devaragattu Dasara – Kill or Get Killed
Experiencing the Many Colours of Dussehra Celebrations
With a drastic reduction in COVID numbers and the fast-paced vaccination drive, travelling is now a safer option. With the long weekend coming up, here’s your chance to witness these diverse Dussehra celebrations across the country.
[Also Read: Spectacular Indian Road Trips this Durga Puja]
Road travel has always been a comfortable and safe mode of transport. Take your next road trip with your family or friends to your desired destinations by simply booking a cab with Savaari. With its presence in over 2000+ cities, Savaari will ensure that no festive experience is missed!