The main feature of Navaratri celebrations in Delhi is the Ramlila performances that take place in the evenings all over the city. These plays reenact scenes from the much loved Hindu epic the Ramayana. They tell the life story of Lord Rama, culminating with his defeat of the demon Ravan on the tenth day, Dussehra. Catch the action at these five popular Delhi Ramlila shows. You'll find many of them located in the vicinity of the Red Fort.
Find out when is Navaratri?
1. Shri Ram Lila Committee
- Where: Ramlila Maidan (Grounds), Asaf Ali Road (near New Delhi Railway Station).
- When: The parade starts at 6 p.m.
The Shri Dharmic Leela Committee branched off from the Shri Ram Lila Committee. It's remained an all time favorite and is particularly popular because of its chaat bazaar (food stalls), featuring street food from all over India. New lesser known episodes from the Ramayana are added to the show each year. Even if you're not interested in seeing it, it's worth going there for the atmosphere and of course the food. This is also a more traditional celebration, with Ravan being destroyed amidst plenty of firecrackers.
- Where: Subhash Maidan (Parade Ground), opposite the Old Lajapat Rai Market near the Red Fort.
- When: The snack stalls are open until after midnight, although the show starts at around 7 p.m. and finishes a couple of hours later.
The Lav Kush Ram Lila Committee is a relative new one, established in 1979. It's renowned for inviting celebrities and putting on quite a lavish show, with top professional actors. The burning of Ravan takes place with special hi-tech effects and is particularly dazzling. There's usually a cultural show afterwards.
- Where: Lal Qila Maidan (Red Fort Ground) at the Red Fort.
- When: The performance gets underway at 7 p.m. nightly.
Nav Shri Dharmik Leela is another of Delhi's premier Ramlila performances. The Committee has been in existence since 1958. It also makes the most of technology to create a captivating and dramatic display. The effigy of Ravan is one of the tallest in Delhi. The food is also reported to be quite good!
- Where: Red Fort Lawns.
- When: 7 p.m. onwards.
The Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra is an Indian cultural institution that runs a notable school for music, dance and performing arts. Its been putting on a Ramlila dance-drama every year since 1957. Different choreographers have been used to ensure that its style, which has included both folk and Indian classical dance, keeps evolving. Special effects have been added, along with an English translation. However, the main storyline and characters are always maintained.