The festival of Dussehra 2019, is coming up in a few days and the preparations for this grandeur have already begun in the country. Dussehra is celebrated on the 10th Day of the Navratri festival. Dussehra 2019 date in India is the 8th of October, which will be followed by Diwali festival just 20 days later, on 27th October.
Dussehra is celebrated to mark the day when Lord Rama slayed the demon King Ravana to free his wife Goddess Sita from his captivity. To honour Lord Rama’s victory, an effigy of Ravana is burnt in different parts of the country.
However, this victory is not the only reason why this day is celebrated. The 10th day of Ashwin month of Hindu calender is celebrated for various other reasons that are rarely known to us. There are abundant stories about celebrating this day which no one would have ever told you.
India, largely known as a land of diversity has diverse tales about every festival and different ways of celebrating these festivals. Festival of Dussehra is no different either. There are unknown facts and stories about the festival that you may have never heard of. If you believe you know everything about this festival- read on to check your knowledge.
1. Ravana is also Worshipped
We all know Ravana as the antipode of good, as someone who captivates Goddess Sita to marry her and kept her at his palace for long years. However, there are parts of our country where the Demonic King is not hated but loved and respected.
People of Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh, not only respect but also worship Ravana. It is due to the belief that Ravana’s wife, Mandodari was born in Mandsaur and that makes Ravana, the Son-in-law of Mandsaur.
Another reason why Ravana is worshipped because he was a very devoted follower of Lord Shiva and because he was an extremely learned and knowledgeable man and a very wise king. It is also believed that under the rulership of Ravana, Sri Lanka witnessed exceptional advancements in medical and science. Not to forget his great invention of a magical flying chariot.
2. Dussehra is not just about Rama and Ravana
Dussehra festival is associated with the victory of good over evil. This victory, however, is not limited to Lord Rama’s triumph over Ravana.
In West Bengal, mainly Kolkata, this day is celebrated as the victory of Maa Durga over the demon Mahishasura. That is the reason this day is also known as Vijayadashmi.
In Mysore, this day is celebrated as the victory of Goddess Chamundeshwari over the demon Mahishasura. This tradition, which was started by the Vijayanagara Kings in the fifteenth century, will mark its 418th celebration this year. Mysore Dussehra celebrations are a sight to behold.
3. Change of Seasons
There has always been a scientific twist behind the Indian traditions. Every traditional belief is always backed by a scientific reason. It is believed that the Yagnas that are performed during the Navratri and Dussehra Puja, detoxifies the environment by killing the disease-causing germs that prevailed during the weather change from monsoon to winters. This time between the season transition is when Dussehra is celebrated.
In Kerala, Dussehra is considered as an auspicious day to introduce little kids to the World of letters. Children between the age group of 3-5 years begin their learning phase by writing the mantra “Om Hari Shree Ganapathaye Namah”, on a tray filled with rice.
This ceremony is famously known as Ezhuthiniruthu in Malayalam.
5. Ashoka’s conversion to Buddhism
It is believed that after seeing the deaths and destruction during the Kalinga war, King Ashoka was devastated and converted his religion to Buddhism. This is the reason, Dussehra is not just celebrated by Indians, but even the Buddhists value the importance of Dussehra and it is a sacred day for them.
At Deekshabhoomi in Nagpur, Dussehra is known to be celebrated as Ashok Dashami.
6. Kautsa Gurudakshina
It is believed that after completing his education, Kautsa, wanted to pay his regards to his Guru Rishi Varatantu by presenting him a Gurudakshina. Rishi however, on persistence of his student, asked him for 140 million gold coins. Ideally, 10 million coins for each of the 14 sciences that he taught Kautsa.
Unable to pay so much, he turned to King Raghuraj of Ayodhya, who asked Lord Indra for the money. Lord Indra turned to Kubera, the God of Wealth, who rained gold coins in Kind Raghuraja’s Kingdom on the ‘Shanu’ and ‘Aapti’ trees.
After Kautsa got the coins, he took them to his Guru who returned the extra coins after keeping the amount he had asked for.
Kautsa then distributed the extra coins among the people of Ayodhya on this day of Dussehra.
7. Different Dussehra Celebrations in India
Even though you might have heard stories of Delhi’s famous Ram Lila and Dussehra celebrations and Kolkata’s Durga Puja, you may have never heard about the unique celebrations of Mysore Dasara, Hyderabad’s Bathukamma, Bastar Dussehra, Chennai’s Bommaikolu, Dussehra in Varanasi, Madikeri Dasara and Kulasekarapattinam Dasara. Everyone needs to witness these exclusive Dussehra celebrations at least once in their lifetime.
8. Ganga Dussehra
Ganga Dussehra is another form of Dussehra celebrated in India, but is actually entirely different from the Dussehra festival that you have heard about, Ganga Dussehra is celebrated to mark the descent of Ganga on Earth. It is observed on the tenth day of the Shukla paksha in the month of Jyeshtha. Ganga Dussehra is a 10-day long festival.
Festive season is just around the corner and the whole country is gearing up for the season of celebrations and grandeurs.
Kick start the festivities with Navratri celebrations with Dance and Dandiya, dressed up in the beautiful nine colors of Navratri.
Plan your Dussehra visit to any of the above mentioned unique venues, and stay tuned to blog by mPanchang for more updates on how to enjoy and celebrate the most awaited festivals in India.