Smiling faces and devoted souls – come September-October and the colors of diverse cultures and customs of India are ready to dazzle. The season of festivals commences with the famous Dussehra, also known as Durga Puja and Vijayadashami in different parts of the country. From Gujarat to Arunachal and Himachal to Karnataka, Dussehra in India exudes ethnic elegance during the ten days. And we learn about their locations and ways of celebration, so scroll below to enter India’s cultural glow.
Significance Of Dussehra In India
Dussehra in India is celebrated with great vigor and festivities by the Hindus. It is one of the best festivals in October in India. The festival marks the victory of good over evil. The 10-day long celebration includes melas and Ramlila – an enactment of the scenes from Ramayana. On the 10th day, the scene of Ravana Dahan is enactment. This is followed by the burning of the effigies of Ravana, Meghnath, and Kumbhakarna. The melas are held at various Ramlila grounds across the country and include food stalls, game stalls, Ferris-wheels and other fun activities. The celebration areas are lighted up brightly and even popular celebrities make appearances at the most popular Ramlila spots.
Amidst all the commonalities, the less known fact is that reasons for Dussehra celebrations differ from one place to another, and so do the elements. As the stages are being set for the most pompous festivities, we now bring to you the better among the best Dussehra celebrations in India.
10 Places to Celebrate Dussehra In India 2020
Here are some amazing places to celebrate Dussehra in India where you can explore the majestic festival. The celebrations are really unique and rather rare in some parts of the country which make it all the more reasons to visit. So, from north to south India – here is everything you need to know:
- Kullu Dussehra: Fascinating As It Gets
- Almora Dussehra: Burn The Parading Demons
- Delhi Dussehra: Performances Across The Capital
- Varanasi Dussehra: Also Popular As Ganga Dussehra
- Kota Dussehra: Get The Local Rajasthani Feel
- Kolkata Dussehra: The Most Grand Celebrations
- Bastar Dussehra: A Unique Celebration Of Tribals
- Coorg Dussehra: The Madikeri Dasara
- Dasara In Mysuru: A Grand Event
- Kulasekarapattinam Dussehra: The Kulasai Dussehra
1. Kullu Dussehra: Fascinating As It Gets
Surprising as it may seem, Kullu Dussehra has earned a big name among the people looking for exceptional celebrations around the globe. Kullu is one of the best places to visit in Dussehra. Even for India, the celebrations in Kullu are a little different as they start when the revelers in other states are heading home after the 10 day-long festivities. Celebrations in Kullu start on the 10th day of Dussehra and it goes on for a week. For witnessing the best Dussehra celebration in India, make a visit to Kullu. It is just one of the ways the Dussehra celebration in north India takes places.
Best Days To Visit During Dussehra: Since the actual celebration starts from the 10th day, it is ideal to arrive here by the 9th day. For Dussehra 2020, do reach Kullu before by the 9th day.
Key Attractions: Events during Kullu Dussehra celebrations make it one of the most happening Dussehra in India. Historical phool yatra, international folk festival, Nainadevi fair, and Kullu Fair in October are some of the well-known events to look out for. Procession and rath yatra on the 1st day and Ramlila throughout the entire week till the burning of effigies are other major attractions. The Folk performances of Gaddi Shepherds; and of course, the famous procession makes it one of the most famous Dussehra in India.
Best Places To Stay: Corporates’ Orchard Park, Himalayan Hamlet Hotel Century Gangri are good options
How To Reach Kullu: Chandigarh is the nearest airport. If you come across some read that says Bhuntar airport is the nearest one, it has to be outdated as the airport is not operational now. You can also hire a cab from Chandigarh. If budget is a concern, the state run buses of HPTD and DTC (Delhi Tourism) as well as private swanky Volvo bus services are available at regular intervals.
2. Almora Dussehra: Burn The Parading Demons
Almora celebrates Dussehra with a vengeance. The locals take revenge upon the demons of Ramayana. The locals make statues of all the bad characters or villains from Ramayana and parade them across. Almora is one of the best places to visit during Dussehra and you must add it to your list. The parade ends in an open area where the statues are burned to ashes. Effigies of the entire Ravana’s clan are burned down by the locals. The procession is accompanied by hundreds of people with music bands and decorations, which is a spectacle to behold.
Best Days To Visit During Dussehra: The 10th day is the best as the festival is grand at this time. The burning of the entire clan is a sight you might not come across any parts of India.
Key Attractions: The Ramlila happening across all 9 days of the festival, a musical drama with preparations that take place 2 months ago, severa clubs stage Ramlila performances including the renowned “The Hukka Club”
Best Places To Stay: Deodar Homestay, Mohan’s Binsar Retreat, Mohans Mud Houses and Rudra Himalayan Retreat are some great places to stay
How To Reach Almora: Being one of the major hill stations in Uttarakhand, there is ample connectivity. The nearest airport to Almora is in Pantnagar, almost four hours away. The nearest train station is in Kathgodam, roughly three hours away. Local transportation is available from these 2 points. However, Haldwani has one of the best public transportation options across the Kumaon region.
3. Delhi Dussehra: Performances Across The Capital
The best part of Dussehra celebrations in Delhi are that they can be witnessed anywhere in the entire city. The highlight of all the celebrations are the Ramlila shows held most notably at the Ramlila Maidan and Red Fort. The plays enact the story of Ramayana across the 10 days and ends on the final day with Lord Rama killing Ravana. A huge participation of theater actors get to perform and entertain the crowd.
Best Days To Visit During Dussehra: The event must be attended for all 10 days as the story of Ramayana is acted in a sequential manner. Therefore, plan for a long trip if you want to celebrate Dussehra in Delhi.
Key Attractions: Several notable committees organize performances across the city at Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, Lal Qila Maidan, August Park and Madhavas Park. The food stalls, choreographed performances, celebrity actors, use of technology and glitz lights definitely add glam to the celebrations.
Best Places To Stay: The Suryaa New Delhi, ibis New Delhi, Hyatt Regency Delhi and The Lodhi are some great luxurious options
How To Reach Delhi: Being the capital of the country, there is absolutely no connectivity problem that Delhi faces. With an airport with 3 terminals, 4 major railway stations and several bus stations connect Delhi with the rest of India.
4. Varanasi Dussehra: Also Popular As Ganga Dussehra
Varanasi is one of the most important religious places in India renowned for Kashi Vishwanath temple. Traditions have been followed in this city throughout the years. And here is where you will discover the oldest Ramlila performances now running for more than 200 years old. The Ramlila takes place for a whole month every year which starts with the incarnation of Lord Ram and ends with the demon king Ravana’s death
Best Days To Visit During Dussehra: Most major attractions ramp up in the last 3 days hence it is ideal to visit on the 8th day.
Key Attractions: The festivities take place on the banks of the Ganga river in Ramnagar. A special ‘aarti’ takes place in the ghats. People gather with specific ritual acts like taking a holy dip in the river, lighting incense and offering flowers to the river. The people gather in groups to sing devotional songs and flow earthen lamps in the river water.
Best Places To Stay: Wander Station Varanasi, Hotel Ganga Monastery, Palace on Ganges Varanasi and Guleria Kothi are amazing places to stay
How To Reach Varanasi: Varanasi being a major pilgrimage center is well-connected via rails and also an international airport. Buses, taxis and all sorts of public transportation is readily available across the city.
5. Kota Dussehra: Get The Local Rajasthani Feel
The traditional attractions are clearly visible at the Dussehra fair in Kota. The huge fair is accompanied by artisans, cultural performers and programs that make you feel the essence of rural India. The villagers from around the city dress up in traditional costumes to offer prayers to the lord. And obviously, effigies of Ravana are burned to mark the end of the festival. The fair is situated alongside the Kota Adventure Festival, held on Chambal river.
Best Days To Visit During Dussehra: The last 3 days are really special to the event and add a certain sparkle. So, plan accordingly!
Key Attractions: An enthralling procession from the Royal Palace to the fairground that has animals like horses, camels and elephants decorated. The fair has immense opportunities to have fun – with rides, food, mini games and other attractions.
Best Places To Stay: Sukhdham Kothi, Welcome Heritage Umed Bhawan Palace, Clarks Premier Kota and Hotel Midtown Grand are truly amazing options
How To Reach Kota: Kota railway station is well connected to the rest of India through the railway station connecting directly with Delhi, Vadodara, Surat and Mumbai. The city is also connected via domestic airport. Cabs, autos and other public transport is readily available.
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6. Kolkata Dussehra: The Most Grand Celebrations
The time of the year when ‘Good prevails over Evil’ come very much alive with dance, music, food and celebrations in Kolkata. Durga Puja or Durga Pooja is the mother of all celebrations in Kolkata. Coinciding with Dussehra, the celebrations are above par. Witness all the decorated panels, the Bengali culture and the glorious lighting. The festival is celebrated with absolute importance as in the Bengali culture, this triumphs just anything. Which is why you will see huge gathering, crowds in thousands and glitter all around.
Best Days To Visit During Dussehra: The last 6 days of Durga Puja coincides with Dussehra and it is this time when the celebrations come to a new level.
Key Attractions: The various street food, the dance and people wearing traditional wear, the outstanding creativity of the decorated pandals, the rich heritage and culture of the region will engross you over you visit.
Best Places To Stay: JW Marriott Hotel Kolkata, Hotel Platinum, The Park Hotel and Calcutta Bungalow are some of the best options
How To Reach Kolkata: Kolkata is the first of metropolitan to be built in India. With an international airport, 3 major railway stations serving the city, there is absolutely no dearth of connectivity options. Public transportation including the metro, taxis, cabs, buses are also in abundance.
7. Bastar Dussehra: A Unique Celebration Of Tribals
Dussehra in India is most uniquely and weirdly celebrated in Bastar, Chattisgarh. It is very important in the region but does not relate in any way to the triumphant return of Lord Rama. Dussehra in Bastar is dedicated to the local goddess. It is one of the longest festivals in the world which runs for 75 long days.
Best Days To Visit During Dussehra: The 13th day of the bright moon in September and the day after Dussehra in October
Key Attractions: The region’s tribes dressed brightly in traditional attire, rare rituals that intrigue you like a youth buried shoulder-deep in a pit for nine days, a massive chariot pulled by 400 people and energetic dancing, drumming and celebrations surround the place.
Best Places To Stay: Naman Bastar, Bastar Jungle Resort, Hotel Akanksha are best stay options
How To Reach Bastar: Jagdalpur is the district headquarters of Bastar and has its own railway station and airport connected with major parts of the country. The bus and taxi services ferry people on a regular basis.
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8. Coorg Dussehra: The Madikeri Dasara
Coorg, one of the best hill stations in South India is another popular destination for tourists to visit for celebrating Dussehra festival. Also known as Madikeri Dasara, celebrations start with traditional and ritualistic karaga folk dances. The rituals are dedicated to Goddess Draupadi, wife of the Pandavas. The celebration takes place the entire night of the 9th day to welcome the final 10th day. Preparation for the Madikeri dasara starts 3 months in advance and locals participate in this 100 year old tradition.
Best Days To Visit During Dussehra: The 9th and 10th day are the most auspicious and totally take over the levels of celebrations.
Key Attractions: Displays of local artists in a crazy parade, hi-tech mechanical figures of gods, goddesses and demons, the blast of dance and music through loudspeakers and the procession which runs through the entire town.
Best Places To Stay: Notting Hill, Gowri Nivas, Leisure Vacations Woodstock Villa and Hotel Mayura Valley View are some of the best options
How To Reach Coorg: The nearest airport to Coorg is in Mangalore, about 135 km away and the nearest railhead being in Mysore, just 120 km away. Being a major hill station, there are enough public transport connectivity options from railway station and airport.
9. Dasara In Mysuru: A Grand Event
“Nadahabba” or the state festival of Karnataka, Mysore Dussehra is famous Dussehra in India and has been there for 400 years. The region hosts this festival as a celebration of the victory of goddess Chamundeshwari over demon Mahishasura. The 10-day-long festival starts from the first day of Navratri and culminates on the tenth day when the royal procession follows a decorated elephant carrying the idol of the worshipped goddess. The lighting of the Mysore palace and involvement of the royal family are popular attractions during Dussehra in Mysore. It is one of the biggest Dussehra Mela in India you have ever seen.
Best Days To Visit During Dussehra: Last four days of the 10 days long festival. For Dussehra 2020, it’s ideal to land in Mysore on 24th October and witness the grand affair.
Key Attractions: The illuminated Mysore palace is a delight to the eye while the cultural programs inside the palace are equally cherishing at Mysore Dussehra. The grand procession, march pasts, tableaus, dances and martial arts performances are once a lifetime experience. Jumbo Savaari or the elephant procession where the decorated royal elephants lead the procession.
Best Places To Stay: Windflower Resort and Spa, Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Green Hotel and Ruchi the Prince are awesome options
How To Reach Mysore: The city is well connected by train and by air from all major cities of India. The problem, however, lies in the bookings as the tickets either go super expensive or worse – you don’t get one. If this happens to be the case, Bangalore is the nearest airport to land. Book a cab or taxi if you want to go private and exclusive. Buses, also ply from Bangalore and take around 3 hours to reach Mysore.
Suggested Read: Top Festivals In September In India: Save The 2020 Dates!
10. Kulasekarapattinam Dussehra: The Kulasai Dussehra
In the not-so-known village of Kulasekarapattinam, located in the Thoothukudi district of Tamil Nadu, Dussehra is celebrated in a unique way. The Kulasai Dussehra festival as it is known is celebrated in the Mutharamman temple, which is about 300 years old and dedicated to Goddess Kali. The celebration deems the pilgrims and devotees to dress up in the form of gods and goddesses of their choice. The devotees then channel Goddess Kali’s spirit and dance throughout the night.
Best Days To Visit During Dussehra: The festival is as auspicious as the story of Ramayana. The village celebrates in the best way possible and so, the last 8 days are one of the best to visit Kulasekarapattinam.
Key Attractions: The slaying of the demon Mahishasura is done on the beach in a theatrical way. It’s definitely a sight you would not want to miss. The beach is decorated in an amazing way, so you can taste local food, enjoy the rides and watch the drama unfold!
Best Places To Stay: Sivans Inn Boarding & Lodging, Hotel Saravana Bhavan and Hotel Chitra Park are great places to stay
How To Reach Kulasekarapattinam: Tiruchendur, just 20 minutes away from Kulasekarapattinam is connected to major rail networks and special trains run during festival times.
Okay! So, here you have all the essentials you need to witness the grandest of Dussehra in India. Go, have fun. Just don’t stay here. Plan a domestic vacation to either the places and have a different experience this year.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Dussehra In India
A. Dussehra is celebrated on the 10th day of the Ashwin month of the Hindu calendar. This coincides with September or late October. Dussehra 2020 date in India is 25th October 2020.
A. Dussehra is considered to be one of the most famous festivals of India for the Hindus. Dussehra is also known by the name Vijayadashami, as the festival is symbolic of the victory of good over evil. The ten days signify the ten heads of Ravana.
A. Navratri or 9 nights is a multi-day festival celebrated in India for different reasons in different parts of the Indian subcontinent. And there are 4 seasonal Navratris. However, the post-monsoon autumn celebration (Sharad Navratri) that takes places in the Hindu calendar month of Ashwin is the most popular one. The dates for Navratri 2020 are from 17th Octoberber to 25th October.
A. 1. Dussehra in Gujarat: The chief highlight of Dussehra in Gujarat is that Garba & dandiya performances and events are held at myriad places in the state. People gather at these places after the arti and dance to the tune of folk songs.
2. Dussehra in Maharashtra: Maharashtra celebrates this festival by dedicating the Navratri to goddess Durga and the 10th day to goddess Saraswati.
3. Dussehra in West Bengal, Orissa, and Assam: These state celebrate this festival in the form of Durga Pooja. It is 5-day-celebration in West Bengal and a 4-day-celebration in Assam and Orissa. For more information on the same, check out the blog on Durga Puja in Kolkata.
A. Ganga Dussehra or Gangavataran celebrates the avatarana (descent) of the river Ganges. Hindus believe that the holy river descended from heaven to Earth on this very day. It is celebrated on the 10th day of the waxing moon of the Hindu calendar of Jyeshtha month; a month that coincides with May-June. The festival has no relation to the more popular Dussehra festival.
A. This festival is quite important in the Hindu calendar and signifies the triumph of good against evil. Dussehra is also called Vijayadhsami and celebrated as Goddess Durga’s victory over Mahisasura.
A. This year in 2020, the festival will be celebrated on October 25th. On the day of this festival, the nation observes a gazetted holiday.
A. It is believed that Lord Rama was worshiping the Goddess Durga for nine days just before he fought and was successful in killing the evil king Raavana. Therefore, this day is celebrated after Navratri comes to an end.
A. In India, the festival of Dussehra is celebrated vibrantly with many people getting indulged in worshiping that is followed by food offerings. You can also see many fairs organized for this festival only and many people can also be seen taking part in the parade. Lastly, an effigy of Ravana is burnt, symbolizing the end of evil.
A. The place where the festival of Dussehra is the most famous is Kullu. Here, this festival is celebrated in the well-known Dhalpur Maidan.
A. The festival of Dussehra is celebrated for 75 days in Bastar, a district in the Indian state of Chattisgarh. The celebrations of Bastar Dussehra begin from Amavasya in Shravan month and lasts till 75 days, coming to an end on the thirteenth bright moon day in Ashwin month.
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