Devoted To: Tenth Day Of
The Hindu Month Of Ashwin (September - October)
Deity Worshipped: Goddess Durga
Also Known As: Vijayadashmi
Dussehra commences both the victory of the warrior Goddess Durga
(consort of Shiva) over the buffalo demon, Mahishasura, and that
of Rama (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu), over Ravana, the ten-headed
king of Lanka, who had abducted Rama's wife, Sita. Worship of the
Goddess is the oldest tradition, significant in this case as it
represents the female deity's supremacy over the male Gods who unable
to destroy the demon.
Durga worship also has social implications.
As Goddess of war, she is a particular favourite of the Kshatriyas,
the warrior caste, once constituting the ruling elite and aristocracy.
Dusshera is one of the significant Hindu festivals it is celebrated
with much joie de vivre. Brilliantly decorated tableaux and processions
depicting various facets of Rama's life are taken out and scenes
from his life enacted out in a popular form of drama called Ramlila.
Different scenes are enacted in different parts of the town, and
the audience walks along with the actors of the play, involving
themselves physically with the action of the narrative.
On Vijayadashmi day, the gigantic
effigies of Ravana being set aflame by the actor dressed as Rama,
by shooting an arrow into Ravan's navel. It is said that this particular
time is the Vijay Vela when Rama had defeated Ravana and in burning
the effigies the people are asked to burn the evil within them,
and thus follow the path of virtue and goodness, bearing in mind
the instance of Ravana, who despite all his might and majesty was
destroyed for his evil ways.