Good always triumphs over evil – the festival of Dussehra (also called Vijayadashmi) commemorates the message that Lord Rama propagated by killing the demon King Ravana. Fast forward thousands of years after Ramayana, people in India replicate the episode every year through grand festive events. If you have watched the main Dussehra highlights like Durga Pooja in West Bengal and Navratri in Gujarat, it’s time to head towards destinations with over-the-top and spellbinding celebrations during the occasion. Here are some great suggestions to watch Dussehra celebrations in India 2015 that would make your heart skip many beats.
Kullu Dussehra Mela (Fair)
Image Source: Jagran
The pristine valley of Himachal Pradesh on the bank of River Beas participates in the colorful celebrations of 7-day long Dussehra Mela. Scores of Gods and Goddesses (in the form of idols) are brought to Dhalpur where they meet each other and the region’s main deity Lord Raghunath (Lord Rama). The lord is carried in a decorated chariot on a grand procession (called Rath Yatra) and the entire ambiance is filled with enthusiasm and music. Folk dance and music and huge exhibitions of the local handicrafts make Kullu one of the best places to see Dussehra in India. The most convenient way to reach Kullu is by road from Chandigarh which is on route to Manali: You can use Chandigarh to Manali Taxi services for the best journey. Chandigarh has a busy domestic airport and railway station in the region.
Image Source: Merinews
Though an unknown town in the state of Haryana, Barara comes alive during Dussehra celebrations. It has already entered the Limca Book of Records for burning the world’s highest effigy of Ravana, adding few feet to it every consecutive year. In 2013, it was a 200 ft. long effigy which increased in height to 215 ft. in 2014. Visit Barara for Dussehra celebrations 2015 and you would be astounded by the colossal demon dwarfing everything around. The closest airport to Barara is at Chandigarh while Ambala serves as the nearest railway station.
Image Source: Junglekey
Completing 405 years of extravagant celebrations in 2015, Mysore Dasara enjoys the honor of being the state-festival. The captivating Mysore Palace, one of the famous landmarks in India, gets illuminated with 100,000 bulbs every evening during this 10-day long festivity. Local deity Goddess Chamundeshwari’s idol placed on a pure gold carrier placed on a remarkably embellished elephant leads the royal procession. Musical bands, dance groups and majestically decorated camels, elephants and horses add grandeur to the whole environment. Cultural performances and exhibitions make the city bustle with joy. Mysore in Karnataka is easy to access as it is served by a domestic airport, a busy railway station and excellent road connectivity. Bangalore-Mysore is the best route opted by tourists and cabs from Bangalore to Mysore are available round the clock. Also, do note that it is a beautiful city with much to offer. So, even if you miss the dussera, do check out these great places near Mysore.
Home to Dandakaranya Jungles, where Lord Rama spent few years during his exile period, Bastar in Chattisgarh celebrates Dussehra in a rustic flavor. Describing Bastar Dussehra is somewhat difficult. It is not a singular ritual, nor is it restricted to one location. It is NOT exactly what the name suggests. You have to go through the complex history and ethnography of the region to make sense of it. On top of that, it runs for 75 days! Yes, that’s right. Bastar Dussehra is officially 75 days long, which makes it among the longest festivals in the world. However, the bulk of the major events taking place in the last 10 days coincide with Navratri/Durga Puja and Dussehra/Vijayadashami. Access the place by road from the state capital Raipur which also has the closest airport.
Read my detailed post about Bastar Dussehra here.
To know how Dussehra is celebrated in North India, the best place would be none other than the national capital Delhi. While burning of firecrackers, bustling bazaars, towering Ravana effigies and delicious sweets are all great in the city, it is the theatrical presentation of Ramayana (called Ramlila) which is just not worth missing. Use of special effects, dramatized dances and the mesmerizing costumes arrange a spellbinding show. With an international airport and excellent road and rail connectivity, the city is always within your convenient reach.
What are you waiting for? With Dussehra celebrations just around the corner, make sure you are at one of these destinations to watch a new level of carnival altogether.
Also, for those who are visiting India for the first time, check this list of must dos in India. Of course there is more to the country but everyone needs a starting point, isn’t it?