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Guide to 2014 Dussehra Festival in India

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Musicians sounding long horns during the Procession of Gods at Dussehra Festival.
Richard I'Anson/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images
The tenth day of the Navaratri festival is known as Dussehra. It's devoted to celebrating the defeat of the demon king Ravana by Lord Rama.

When is Dussehra Celebrated:

Usually in late September/early October each year. In 2014, Dussehra is being celebrated on October 4. The date of the festival is determined according to the lunar calendar.

Find out the date of Dussehra in future years.

Where is Dussehra Celebrated:

Dussehra is predominantly a northern Indian festival. Delhi and Varanasi are popular places to witness the celebrations.

The biggest Ravan effigy in India can be found in the small town of Barara (approximately 80 kilometers from Chandigarh). It will be 200 feet tall in 2013!

Elsewhere in India, Dussehra festivities take place in the Kullu Valley of Himachal Pradesh, Mysore in Karnataka, and Kota in Rajasthan. Mysore Dussehra celebrations are particularly famous.

In West Bengal, Navaratri and Dussehra are celebrated as Durga Puja.

How is Dussehra Celebrated:

In northern India, plays and dance performances known as Ramaleela, depicting the life of Rama, commonly take place in the lead up to Dussehra day. These shows are especially big in Varanasi and Delhi. Don't miss these 5 Popular Delhi Ramlila Shows.

Then on Dussehra, huge effigies of the demon Ravana are burned all over India. See the Ravan effigies being made in Delhi.

In Mysore, as well as cultural performances and fairs, the highlight of the 10 day Dussehra celebration is grand parade of decorated elephants and guards mounted on horse back to escort the goddess through the city.

In Kullu, goddess deities are carried around on colorful chariots, and there is much dancing and revelry.

What Rituals are Perfrormed During Dussehra:

Dussehra is considered to be an auspicious time to worship tools used to earn an income. Nowadays, this includes laptops and cars! According to the legend in the epic Mahabharata, Arjuna hid his weapons in a tree and when he returned a year later, on the day of Dussehra, he safely retrieved them. He then worshiped the weapons, along with the tree.

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