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Durga Puja

Dussehra is the tenth and final day of Durga Puja in Bengal and the rest of East, Navratri in North and West India and ; culmination of Ramlila in some parts of India and Madikeri Dasara in many parts of Southern India. The festival of Dussehra, also known as Vijayadashmi, is one of the fascinating festivals of India and is celebrated with joy and enthusiasm. According to the great Hindu scripture, the Ramayana, Lord Rama performed chandi-puja (holy prayer). This was carried out in order to invoke the blessings of Durga Maa for the killing of Ravana, the ten-headed demon king of the Lanka who had abducted Sita, wife of Lord Rama.

Durga Maa divulged the secret to Rama on how he could slay the great Ravana. Hence upon vanquishing the demon Ravana, Lord Rama with Sita and younger brother Laxmana, returned victorious to his kingdom of Ayodhya on the day which is called 'Diwali'. Revelers across northern India re-enact the legend at sundown in a performance called the Ramlila, featuring actors dressed as Rama shooting flaming arrows at effigies stuffed with firecrackers.

Dussehra symbolizes the victory of good over evil. The entire legend is enacted in various parts of India as Ramlila and finally on the Dussehra day, at sundown, actors playing Rama and Laxmana enact the final moments of the battle. Huge effigies of Ravana, his brother Kumbhakarna and son Meghnad are placed in vast open grounds. Fireworks and crackers of different types are placed in these effigies. Dressed as Rama and Laxmana, actors shoot arrows with flaming tips at the effigies from a safe distance amidst cheers from the crowds and the effigies are slowly engulfed in fire while beautiful fireworks are displayed and crackers with deafening sound entertain the onlookers. Merriment continues while the old and the young partake in games, dance and music. Fairs are held too where people flock to spend the rest of the evening.

Dussehra day is considered a most auspicious day. It is a time-honored belief that if any new venture is started on this day, it is bound to be successful. Hence, all the undertakings be it laying-in of foundation of a new building, opening of a new commercial establishment or even initiating a child into the world of learning- are started on this day. Also on this day implements of agriculture, manufacturer's machines, the intellectuals pens, the household articles, the children's school books are placed before the idol of Durga and worshiped.
Durga Puja Parikrama

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