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Dashera Celebrations

Dusshera or Dasara or Vijaya Dashmi is one of the most popular Hindu festivals celebrated with great enthusiasm across India. As the time of its observance marks the close of the monsoon season, it is naturally a time for the recommencement of joyful festivals of all kinds. In many Indian states, Dusshera is the main festival. 

Though the occassion is celebrated everywhere across the country, it is celebrated with greater fanfare in places like Kullu in Himachal Pradesh, Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Mysore in Karnataka and in West Bengal. It is the climax of nine day long festivities during the Navaratri.

In Rajasthan, months before Dussehra, craftsmen engage themselves in making huge statues of Ravana, his brother Kumbhakaran and son Meghnath. They are beautifully crafted and decorated. On the main day of Dussehra, these effigies are burnt in large grounds (maidan), where huge crowd gathers to witness this traditional act of burning the evil. 

It is considered auspicious as along with the effigies, people burn their bad habits and bad deeds. It forms an atmosphere of purity and serenity. Kids buy small toys from these fairs as a memory of the day.

In Himachal Pradesh, a week long fair in the hill town of Kullu, is part of the Dussehra celebrations. From the little temples in the hills, deities are brought in procession to the 'maidan' in Kullu, to pay homage to the reigning deity, Raghunathji. The celebration actually begins nearly 10 days in advance as per tradition.

In Mysore, Karnataka the Mysore palace is illuminated for a whole month during Dussehra and caparisoned elephants lead a colourful procession through the gaily-decorated streets of the city. It is the most colourful celebration of Dussehra in world. The spectacular procession taken out on this day is really enjoyable.

The Dusshera day is regarded as an auspicious occassion to launch new ventures. It has also always been special to the military classes, who consider it auspicious to set out on an expedition just after the festival.