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The victory of good over evil is celebrated with pomp and grandeur in different parts of India. The festival marks the victory of Lord Rama over King Ravan in the mythological Ramayana.

The grandeur of Dasara can be witnessed in different parts of the country. Also known as Vijaya Dashmi (‘Vijay’ meaning ‘victory’ and ‘Dashmi’ meaning ‘tenth day’), this 10-day festival is celebrated in different ways in north and south.

 
 
   
   
   
   
 
 

In north, the main attraction of this festival is the Ramleela, wherein enthusiastic young people take part in an enactment of the great mythological Ramayana, which ends on the tenth day.

On the tenth day, huge effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakaran and Meghnath are erected and burnt as a symbol of the victory of good over evil. One reason for this effigy burning is the onset of cold weather and infections that come along with the cold weather. Hence the effigy burning is seen as an act of purifying the air.

Varanasi

If you want to witness the sheer drama of Ramleela, Varansi is the place to be. Saint Tulsidas is believed to have started the tradition of Ramleela and the enactment is based on Ramcharitamanas, by the great saint-poet.

The Ramnagar Ram Leela (at Varanasi) has a historic and cultural significance. It dates back to the nineteenth century and saw the beginning under Maharaja of Benaras, Udit Narayan Singh. It is enacted in the traditional style and lasts for nearly a month. Hundreds of sadhus called the ‘Ramayanis’ come to watch and recite the Ramayana.

The town is transformed into a vast stage and many structures are built in different parts of the town. The audience moves with the performers to these locations like Ayodhya, Lanka, etc.

Purifying rituals like Chandi or Durga Homam are performed in temples.

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In the east
, Dasara is known as Durga Pooja and celebrated in the form of Durga Ashtmi. In Bengal, Assam & Orissa, Goddess Durga is worshipped in the form of Kali Mata as a symbol of Shakti (Power).

Kolkata

Idols of the goddess Durga are worshipped for nine days in huge pandals in different parts of the city and immersed on the tenth day (similar to the Ganesh Chaturti in other parts of the country).

The traditional image of Durga is depicted during the festival showing her four children - Kartik, Ganesh, Saraswati and Lakshmi, representing respectively; the protector, the initiator of the pooja, knowledge and the provider.

These pandals have many stalls serving authentic Bengali food. These pandals become the meeting point for devotees and many vibrant cultural activities take place during the 9-day long festival.

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