Dussehra (Dasara) Festival
The first big festival of the season, Dussehra is typically celebrated for 10 days in anticipation of the beginning of harvest season. The festival is the culmination of the nine day fasting period of Navratri in the Hindu culture, and also coincides with the immersion ceremony of the model of the Goddess Durga. In Bangalore Dussehra has added meaning, as it is taken to commemorate the victory of the goddess Cahmundeshwari over the demon Mahishasur; there are many myths and stories associated with the festival, which is thought to date back to the 17th century. The city where the festival is said to have had its origins, Mysore, holds particularly spirited celebrations, with a grand procession in honour of the Goddess Chamundeshwari. Dussehra is celebrated through an assortment of religious performances and rituals, which are intended to activate the fertility of the soil and invoke the mother goddess Ravana. Travellers can expect to see bonfires and fireworks, paper and wood effigies of Ravana (which are later burnt), and to have a tika (red spot) painted on their foreheads by enthusiastic devotees. Festivities vary from district to district but it is a popular festival throughout the country.
Date: 24 October 2012