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Durga Puja DS.jpg
Also called Dussehra, Dasara, Navratri, Pranay
Observed by Hindus
Type Religious
Significance Celebrates the victory of good over evil
Celebrations Marks the end of Durga Puja; observers immerse idols, visit and exchange gifts.
Observances Wearing Tilaka on the forehead, prayers, other religious rituals
Date October
2016 date 11 October[1]

Vijayadasami (Sanskrit: विजयदशमी) also known as Dussehra (Sanskrit: दशहरा) an important Hindu festival celebrated in a variety of ways in India and Nepal.[3]

Dasa-hara is a form of Dasanan ravan ("Ravana's defeat").[4]

The day marks the victory of Durga over the demon Mahishasura. The goddess fought with evil for ten days and nine nights.

Northern India

In Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Sindh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Bihar, it is tradition to plant barley in earthen pots on the first day of Navaratri. On the day of Dasara, the nine-day-old sprouts (called noratras or nortas) are used for luck; men place them in their caps or behind their ears.

In most of northern India and some parts of Maharashtra, Dasha-Hara is celebrated in honour of Rama. Plays based on the Ramayana (Ramlila) are performed at outdoor fairs, and large parades with effigies of Ravana (a king of ancient Sri Lanka), Kumbhakarna and Meghanada are held. The effigies are burnt on bonfires in the evening. After Dasara, the hot summer ends (especially in North India) and the onset of cold weather is believed to encourage infections. The burning of the effigies, filled with firecrackers containing phosphorus, supposedly purifies the atmosphere.

In the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, Dasara begins with the performance of a Ramlila based on theatrical traditions begun by Uday Shankar during his stay in Almora and elaborated by Mohan Upreti and Brijendra Lal Sah. Known as the Almora or Kumaon style, the Ramlila was recognised by UNESCO in its 2008 report as a representative Indian style.[5]

Himachal Pradesh

Main article: Kullu Dussehra

Kullu Dussehra, celebrated in the Kullu valley of Himachal Pradesh, begins on the tenth day of the rising moon and continues for seven days.[6] Its history dates back to the 17th century, when King Jagat Singh installed an idol of Raghunath on his throne as a gesture of penance. After this, Raghunath was declared the ruling deity of the valley.

South India

Colorful figurines displayed on white-sheeted shelves
A golu (figurine display)

Vijayadasami, celebrated in a variety of ways in South India, is seen as a day to express gratitude for success in life.[7][better source needed] Celebrations range from worshipping Durga to displaying colorful figurines, known as a golu. To respect the deities' sacrifices, Hindus revere Murties (small statues of gods and goddesses) during festivals.

Western India


Round green leaves and pods
The bidi leaf (apta) tree, whose leaves are exchanged on Vijayadashami
Orange marigold flowers
Marigold (tagetes patula) flowers, known in Marathi as jhendu (झेंडू), are popular at this time.

In Maharashtra,[8] the deities installed on the first day of Navratri are immersed in water. Observers visit each other and exchange sweets.

The bidi leaf (apta) tree is worshiped, and its leaves (signifying gold) are exchanged as wishes for a bright, prosperous future. The tradition of apta leaves is symbolic of Raghuraja, an ancestor of Rama and Kubera. Communities of artisans worship their tools, resting them on this day. Saffron-coloured marigolds, popular during the festival, are used for worship and decoration.[9]

Eastern India

Ashok Vijaya Dashmi

Followers of B. R. Ambedkar (Ambedkarite Buddhists) celebrate the festival as Ashok Vijayadashmi, since the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka is believed to have converted to Buddhism on this day.[10] Ambedkar converted to Buddhism on this day at Deekshabhoomi, Nagpur in 1956, which fell on 14 October that year. A festival and congregation is held at Nagpur, Maharashtra. Ambedkarite Buddhists organize community celebrations with speeches, meals and Buddhist-themed entertainment.

See also


  1. ^ "Dusserha Vijayadasami 2016 Date". 
  2. ^ Durga Puja Calendar. "Durga Puja 2015 dates". Retrieved 22 October 2015. 
  3. ^ Harress, Christopher (22 October 2015). "What Is Dussehra? The Basics To Understanding The 2015 Hindu Festival". International Business Times. 
  4. ^ "Vijayadasami – celebration of good over evil". Retrieved 11 February 2012. 
  5. ^ Ramlila – the Traditional Performance of the Ramayana UNESCO.
  6. ^ Dutta, Sanjay (11 October 2008). "International Dussehra festival kicks-off at Kullu". The Indian Express. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  7. ^ "Dussera or Vijayadahami – Why Do We Celebrate It?". 14 October 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2014. 
  8. ^ Shirgaonkar, Varsha. ""Madhyayugin Mahanavami aani Dasara"." Chaturang, Loksatta (1996).
  9. ^ "Puneites set to celebrate Dasara". Times of India. 24 October 2012. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  10. ^ "Nagpur Oranges". Archived from the original on 10 April 2009. Retrieved 10 January 2009. 

External links