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Famous India > Festivals in India > Dussehra
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Dussehra is a day when entire India celebrates the conquer of truth over evil. It was on this day according to the Hindu Panchang (calendar), when Lord Rama killed the great demon Ravana. Every year in the month of September or October, the nine day Navratri is followed by the festival of Dussehra, which falls on the tenth day of the Navratri.

The Legend
The legend says, demon Ravana, abducted Sri Ram's wife Sita to his kingdom of Lanka. Sri Ram was a great believer in the powers of Goddesss Durga, and He prayed to Her for nine days before He Himself entered the battlefield on the 10th day.

It is also believed that Ravana had 10 heads, which are probably symbolic of the 10 evil facets of his character - Lust (kama), anger (krodha), delusion (moha), greed (lobha), pride (mada), envy (maatsarya), the mind (manas), intellect (buddhi), will (chitta), and ego (ahamkara).

The Saying Goes
The saying goes that, the word Dussehra comes from the word 'Dus' meaning 'Ten' and 'Hara', meaning 'annihilated'. So Dussehra is the day in which the 10 facets of Evil were destroyed.

It is also believed, that Ravana was a great scholar and a great worshipper of Lord Shiva. His weakness 'that of wanting to possess Sita' destroyed him. At the same time, it is also surprised to learn that His enmity and therefore obsession with Sri Ram fetched him Liberation. Hindu Scriptures claim that you may think of the Lord in whichever way you please, you may pray to Him, complain to Him, talk to Him, Fight with Him...Your obsession with Him will make you a candidate for a Release from the Wheel of Life and Death. It is clearly mentioned in the Scriptures that Sri Ram Himself could not wound Ravana while the latter had his mind fixed on Sri Ram. Ravana's destruction came in, the moment that his concentration was distracted.

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On Dussehra day, people worship weapons (especially the Rajput community). Mother Goddess has been worshipped during the preceeding Navratras and She is the Epitome of 'Fight against Evil'. People in all parts of India, burns the effigy of demon Ravana and makes merry. Fairs and sweet distribution marks the celebration of Dussehra.

Dussehra & Durga Puja
When all of India celebrates Dussehra (Lord Rama's victory over demon Ravana), the people of West Bengal celebrates Durga Puja (Maa Durga's victory over demon Mahisasura). According to the Bengalis, Durga stays for four days - Shashti, Saptami, Ashtami and Nabami (of the same month) along with her children, Ganesha, Laxmi, Kartik and Saraswati and sets for her husband's abode on Vijaya Dashami, (the Dussehra Day).

On the end point of Ashtami and beginning of Nabami day (known as Sandhi Khon, meaning the union of two times) Maa Durga killed the terrible demon Mahishasura, and hence the day is recognised a Mahaashthami day, the most auspicious day in the Hindu calendar year. Durga Puja is the most important festival of Bengalis. The 5 day rituals accompanied with dhak, dhunuchi naach and shiuli, is celebrated with much fun & frolic.

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