Indian culture is so beautiful that even the end of a festival has its own charm and grandeur. The tenth day of Navaratri, namely Dussehra is one such example. While the nine day long festivities of Navratri culminates on Dussehra, it symbolizes victory of good over evil. It is celebrated in so many different ways in different parts of India, that they make for good stories to show and tell kids.
Let’s see the best places to visit in India to celebrate Dussehra:
After nine nights of revelry, praying and fasting, Dussehra marks the day of feasting. On this day, Gujaratis consume fafda (a savoury made of chickpea flour) with raw papaya salad and a sweet-spicy chickpea curry, and jalebi. Since very early in the morning, you will find long queues outside sweet shops that do brisk business during this day.
For nine days, many big and small maidans in Delhi hold Ramleela. On the evening of Dussehra, they burn massive effigies of Ravana, his brother Kumbhkaran and his son Meghnad made of straws and firecrackers. It’s a delight to watch it as it gives an inner sense of peace to know that good always triumphs over evil. Kids are naturally left in wonder!
On the first day of Navratri, people plant barley, which by the tenth day, grow into shoots. On Dussehra, sisters put vermillion on their brothers’ forehead to wish them victory in all their endeavours and place these newly sprouted shoots behind their ears as symbols of good luck.
According to a legend of Mahabharata, the Pandavas hid their weapons during their 13 years of exile under a Shami tree, and these weapons were retrieved on the day of Dussehra. Hence, Dussehra is considered an auspicious day to start any new venture. In Maharashtra, people exchange leaves of the Shami tree as a sign of good luck and prosperity. People also worship their professional tools this day. So you will find software professionals worshipping their computer, businessmen their account books, cobblers their tools, and others.
After four days of Durga Puja, Dussehra / Vijaya Dashami is the day to see off Goddess Durga. So she is given a grand send-off back to her husband’s place by the folks at her mother’s place (earth). The large idols of Goddess Durga are immersed in water bodies. The women apply sindoor to the forehead of Goddess Durga, her children (Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartik, Ganesh) and even the carrier animals of each of these God family members. Finally all women apply ‘sindoor’ to each other and dance together to the tunes of ‘dhaak’ with divine fervour.
Dussehra in Karnataka is a 400-year old grand affair, and a visual treat. The legendary Mysore palace is decorated and lit up for 10 days during the festive season of Dussehra. Every household, locality and street is vibrantly decorated with flowers, diyas and light bulbs. There are gala processions of richly embellished elephants on the decorated streets. Close to Mysore, in the city of Mangalore, the Dasara festival is celebrated with tiger and lion folk dances and beer dances.
In Kullu valley, the festival of Dussehra is not limited to one day, but the celebrations last for 7 days following Dussehra. On the fairground of Kullu, the idols of local gods and goddesses are bought through a holy procession. The celebration comes to an end when a huge heap of wood and grass is set to fire on the bank of the river Beas symbolizing the burning of Lanka.
So, what say, pick one destination, pack your bags and get ready to revel in the festivities of Dussehra with your kids!
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