The harmony of different cultures and customs in the social fabric of India is best experienced during Navratri and Dussehra celebrations that take place in every state. The entire country, from Delhi to Mysore and from Gujarat to Bengal, wears a celebratory look and exudes elegant ethnicity. Some states celebrate Durga’s victory over the buffalo demon Mahishasur, while Lord Rama’s triumph over Ravana the King of demons is celebrated in some states. However, victory of the good over the evil is the common purpose of celebrations all over the country. Whichever part of India you visit during the festival, you will find smiling faces, happy minds and devoted souls in common though the way of the festivity is different in different states. Indian Eagle holds a mirror to the different ways of Navratri and Dussehra celebration in 7 best places of India:
Delhi observes the Dussehra festival in celebration of Ram’s victory and Ravana’s defeat. The temples of Lord Ram are decorated with flowers and lit with lamps, in every nook and corner of the capital. Religious music and recital of the Ramayana fill the atmosphere. Ram Leela is the main cultural event, held on the festive evenings in the city. The burning of the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakaran and Meghnad on the last day of the festival is the mainstay of Dussehra celebration in Delhi. This ceremony is followed by an amazing firework.
Experience the festive best of India in Gujarat for nine days of the Navratri festival. Ahmedabad, Surat, Baroda, Gandhinagar and other cities in Gujarat come alive with gusto for celebration through music, dance and food. Gujaratis stick to their age-old culture on nine days of the festivity, no matter how modern they are in the 21st century. Women in lehenga cholis and men in traditional kedias look their best on festive evenings when they gather to perform Garba and Dandiya Rasa, the most popular folk dances of Gujarat. The cultural celebration centers on the worship of Ma Amba, another name of Goddess Shakti. Visit Gujarat to overwhelm your senses with the riot of colors in every nook and corner, during Navratri.
Let’s penetrate into Chhattisgarh and see how the tribal folks of Bastar celebrate the festival. Surprisingly, the celebration spans over as many as 75 days here. Unlike the celebration of Ram’s triumph over Ravana in north India, the natives of Bastar worship Devi Maoli, a local goddess, and her sisters during Navratri . Hundreds of priests join the grand procession which is organized to bring the local deities to the Danteshwari Temple in Jagdalpur. The main attraction of the holy procession is a double-decker chariot or rath. The tribal folks make the 2-ton heavy chariot using traditional tools. The path of the procession between Bastar and Jagdalpur is lit with one thousand lamps by the tourism department of Chhattisgarh.
Navratri brings Varanasi alive with an aura of festivity and spirituality in the blend. For ten days from the beginning of the festival till Dussehra, the city remains a favorite haunt of holy seers and devotees. Ram Leela is an attraction of Navratri celebration in Varanasi. Ram Leela is a dance drama which is performed to enact the lives of Ram, Sita and Lakshman in exile, on a makeshift stage. Though the entire city becomes a Ram Leela ground during Navratri, Ramnagar at a distance of 15 km from the city is famous for this event. The recital of Ramcharitamanas on nine days of the festival is considered a virtue. Devotees hear the recital with single-minded devotion. The way Dussehra is celebrated in Varanasi carries off the bell. The episode of Ram’s reunion with Bharat on return to Ayodhya after his victory over Ravana is commemorated in the Bharat Milaap event on the next day of Dussehra.
Navratri is not as fabulous a festival as Dussehra is in Himachal Pradesh. Kullu Valley is the epicenter of the celebration for 7 days following Dussehra. In Kullu, the festivity centers on the worship of Lord Raghunath on the fairground of Dhalpur Maidan. The idols of local gods and goddesses are brought to the fairground through a holy procession. The entire valley overflows with the joys of festivity for a week. The celebration comes to an end when a heap of wood and grass is set to fire on the bank of the Beas River, the last day. It symbolizes the burning of Lanka, an event in the Ramayana. However, the worship of Lord Raghunath on Dussehra dates back to the 17th century.
If you are flying to Karnataka this Navratri , you stand a good chance to experience the 400-year-old Dussehra festivity in Mysore. The festival is locally known as Dasara in the city. Mysore springs into activity over the celebration for ten days. The illumination of Mysore Palace with as many as 100,000 lights on the occasion of Dussehra is a rare visual treat that no other city offers. Moreover, catching the procession of richly embellished elephants on the decorated streets of Mysore is an experience of the city’s royalty and ethnic culture. The celebration in this princely city of Karnataka is a roller-coaster ride of gastronomic joy too.
As Goddess Shakti is worshipped as Durga in West Bengal, Navratri festival is known as Durga Puja in this state of India. A brand identity of Bengal, Durga Puja is a 5-day long cultural extravaganza. The capital city Kolkata is the hotbed of festivity. The cityscape is dotted with hundreds of different theme based pandals where the life-size idols of Durga and other family members are worshiped for 5 days. The city skyline is lit with beautiful lightings from twilight till wee hours. Kolkata does not sleep for 5 days as the people begin to hop around pandals in the evening and continue throughout the night. Though the festival ends with the immersion of idols on Maha Dashami, the celebration continues over the ceremony of exchanging warm greetings with near and dear ones, and the sweetening of mouths with bites of Rasogolla.
IndianEagle.com offers the cheapest flight for your trip to the cities of India where Navratri and Dussehra festivals are a must experience.