Durga Puja, Navratri festivities conclude – it’s Dussehra!


New Delhi: Nine days of Navratra festivities culminated Thursday in Dussehra, when effigies of demon king Ravana are burnt to symbolise the triumph of good over evil. It also marked the end of Durga Puja when idols of the mother goddess are immersed in rivers.

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Like every year, the city was was dotted with Ravana effigies, to be burnt later in the evening, celebrating his defeat at the hands of Lord Rama. The effigies are accompanied by fireworks at various parks and open spaces across the city.

While there was fasting and feasting during Navratra, crowds also thronged Ramlila venues.

Ramlila, plays based on the life of Ram, is enacted at numerous places in north India to show his journey as a prince, his 14-year exile in the forest, his wife Sita’s abduction by Ravana the king of Lanka and the war fought to rescue her.

The tale ends with Rama and Lakshmana killing Ravana and effigies of the demon king, his brother Kumbhkarna and son Meghnad being burnt on Dussehra to mark the victory.

Apart from the main Ramlila grounds near Red Fort in Delhi, effigies of all sizes of the trio dot grounds across the capital and in many parts of north India, waiting to go up in flames at dusk.

Thursday also brought to an end the five-day festival of Durga Puja – celebrated by the people of eastern India – when marquees see last ditch festivities, with dhak dhak drum beats and dancing.

The last day witnesses colourful scenes of “sindur khela”, when married women smear vermilion on one another and the Durga idol as it is believed to be a departure for her marital abode.

By afternoon, the scene turns emotional for devotees who bid a tearful farewell to the deity after five days of prayers, feasting and merry-making at marquees across the city that housed the idols of the goddess and her five children.

The idols are then taken for immersion. The capital’s well known immersion spots include Kalindi Kunj near the banks of river Yamuna in east Delhi.