Dussehra or Vijayadashami Festival of Goddess Durga
India is a country of fairs and festivals where people unite to celebrate and enjoy each and every festival with great joy and faith. Navarathri
is one of the biggest, and longest religious festivals of our country, which is celebrated with much fervour also known as "Dussehra"
. According to Hindu Calendar
every year this festival falls on the 10th day bright fortnight
(Shukla Paksha) of Ashwin month
(September or October) before 20 days of Diwali
Festival. It is also known as "Vijayadashami"
and celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm by the Hindu people all over the India, with a sense of gratitude, devotion and reverence.
Worship of Goddess Durga on Dussehra
People attach great significance irrespective of their cast, creed and culture or religion, to each day of the Navarathri
and worship the Goddess in these nine forms with kanya puja, special naivedyam (offering) and alankarams (decorations) at home, pandals and in temples
. The evenings are colourful with all ages of women and men participating in Garbha and Dandiya dances
. Those worshipping the Goddess these nine days plant 9 pulses and cereals in pots on the very first day, at home near the Goddess, and venerate the plant for nine days. After completion of nine days these are then immersed in water bodies like rivers, ponds etc., or dried and stored for the next year. The Goddess is usually represented by the Idols, or by an earthen pot known as Purna-Kumbha
. All these nine days an Akhanda Jyothi
is lit in the pooja mandir to promote good thoughts, to vanish all evil and wanton things and imbibe the goodness around them, by revering for all the things and objects that contribute to their wellbeing. Women gather in huge numbers to recite Devi Mahatyam
, Lalitha Sahasranama
, Aparajitha Stotram
at the end of traditional recitation of the text as praying for pardon to the Goddess and sing Classical Ragas
dedicated for each of these nine days.
Legend Behind Celebration of Dussehra:
When Time started Lord Brahma got divided into two forms namely Men and Nature. Men divided himself into three forms namely Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. Later on Nature divided into three forms to promote Shakti to these forms, namely Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess Parvathi (Durga) and Goddess Saraswati.
All these three Shakthi's had each three avatars of themselves and all those avatars together came to be known as Nav Durga.
Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess Parvathi and Goddess Saraswati
There are several legends associated with the festival of Dussehra
. In the Epic Ramayana, Lord Rama
had killed Ravana
-the king of Lanka
because He abducted Devi Sita
and refused to return Her back. Thus, Lord Rama before taking on Ravana worshipped Goddess Durga for 9 days and seeked Her blessings and fought with Ravana
to get back Devi Sita
and won the war with Ravana by the help of His younger brother Lakshmana
along with Hanuman
and His Vanara soldier. It marks the victory of Lord Rama over Demon Ten-Headed Ravana.
Lord Rama's War with Demon Ravana along with Lakshmana and Hanuman
Another legend is associated to mark the victory of Goddess Durga who defeated Demon Mahishasura. When asuras or demigods became powerful they tried to defeat devas and capture heaven. It was then that Goddess Durga came to their rescue. She took up the form of Shakti to kill Demon Mahishasura. She rided on a lion, to fought with Mahishasura for nine days and nights. On the tenth day, she killed Demon Mahishasura.
Goddess Durga Killing Demon Mahishasura
Dussehra festival is also known as the Durgotsav because it is believed that it is the same day (10th day) when Buffalo-Headed Demon Mahishasura was killed by the Goddess Durga
symbolizes Good and Ravana and Mahishasura represents Evil.
Significance of this Festival:
Significance of 10th day of this festival lies in the celebration by burning the Ravana effigies by the people all over the country. It is celebrated in the happiness of winning the war of Lord Rama
over the Demon King Ravana. The festival of Dussehra indicates the victory of truth over evil power. Religious people and devotees keep fast for whole dayand perform various religious rites so as to sanctify themselves by taking a step towards purity, piousness and prosperity. People celebrate this festival with lots of joy and faith by performing Dandiya
dances after pooja.
Dandia Dance performed during Navrathri
Do anyone know that we have Gods and Demons with us?
The Good thoughts inside one represent Divinity
and the Evil thoughts as Demons
. If one can be able to free Himself from such inner thoughts then it is called as true victory and known as "Vijayadashami"
Nine forms of Durga:
The nine forms of Durga on these nine days as she waged war against Mahishahura are as follows:
The one who observes the state of Chastity during penance.
The warrior Goddess Destroyer of Mahishasura.
10)On tenth day as Goddess Durga.
Nine forms of Nav Durga during Dussehra
Below is the list of how to worship Goddess Durga these Nine days during Navarathri, what to offer in terms of flowers, naivedyam (Prasad) and Ragas to please the Goddess.
Day 1:- During Navarathri, Goddess Durga is worshiped on 1st day, in the form of Baala in the kanya puja or Maheswari as Goddess slayed the demons Madhu and Kaidaba on this day.
Flowers:- Jasmine and Vilvam.
Naivedyam:- Ven Pongal and Karamani Sundal (Red Chole).
Ragas:- The Thodi raga is sung on this day to please the Goddess.
Day 2:- During Navarathri, Goddess Durga is worshiped on 2nd day, as Kowmaari or Rajarajeshwari.
People make kolam (rangolis) from rice flour before they start their puja.
Flowers:- Jasmine and Tulsi.
Naivedyam:- Pulihora and mangoes.
Ragas:- The Raga Kalyani is sung on this day to please the Goddess.
Day 3:- During Navarathri, Goddess Durga is worshiped on 3rd day as Varali Ambigai or Vaaraahi. It's considered auspicious to draw kolam either with rice flour (designs of rose or lotus) or using flowers.
Flowers:- Shenbakam, Sampangi and Marikozhunthu.
Naivedyam:- Sweet Pongal and Ellu Podi.
Ragas:- The Kaambhodhi raga is sung on this day to please the Goddess.
Day 4:- During Navarathri, Goddess Durga is worshiped 4th day, in the form of a Lakshmi. Padi kolam or rangoli with rice flour in the shape of steps (using atchatai — a mixture of rice, turmeric and ghee) is made on this day. Decorate the idol of the Goddess with wild turmeric (Kasthuri Manjal), also apply some scented oils and sprinkle rosewater.
Flowers:- Jaathi Malli (Mogra) and Rose.
Naivedyam:- Kadhambam rice, Curd Rice, Green Peas, Groundnut Sundal and Lemon Rice.
Ragas:- The Bhairavi raga is sung on this day to please the Goddess.
Day 5:- During Navarathri, Goddess Durga is worshiped 5th day, in the form of Vaishnavi. One can decorate her even in the form of Mohini. It is meant auspicious to draw rangoli with Bengal gram flour; in the form of birds designs.
Flowers:- Pavazha Malii, Paarijaatham and Mullai.
Naivedyam:- Ven Pongal, Vadagam, Payasam and Mocha Payir Sundal.
Ragas:- The Panchamaavaranai Keerthanai, in raga Panthuvarali.
Day 6:- During Navarathri, Goddess Durga is worshiped 6th day, in the form of Indraani and decorated in the style of Sandi Devi using red silk cloth and red stone-studded ornaments. While drawing kolam, write the name of the Goddess in Bengal gram flour.
Flowers:- Hibiscus, Kumkum and Parijatham.
Naivedyam:- Coconut Rice or Ellu Sadam.
Ragas:- The Neeelambari raga is sung on this day to please the Goddess.
Day 7:- During Navarathri, Goddess Durga is worshiped 7th day, as Annapoorani Devi. She is also worshiped as Saraswathi by many.
Use flowers to draw the kolam and adorn the Goddess with yellow sapphire ornaments.
Flowers:- Thazhampoo, Thumbai and Jasmine.
Naivedyam:- Lemon Rice, Vellai Sadam, Chickpeas Sundal and Sweet Pongal.
Ragas:- The Bilahari raga is sung on this day to please the Goddess.
Day 8:- During Navarathri, Goddess Durga is worshiped 8th day, in the form of Narasimhi or Durga.
After slaying the demon, Rakthabeejan, she appears as karuna moorthy.
Use flowers to draw rangoli in lotus design.
Adorn the idol using emerald stones and green silk cloth.
Flowers:- Rose, Sambangi and Magizham.
Naivedyam:- Paalapayasam and Appam.
Ragas:- The Punnagavarali raga is sung on this day to please the Goddess.
Day 9:- The last day of Navarathri is for Goddess Chamundi. Decorate her with arrow, bow, ankusam and corn, in the form of Lalitha Parameshwari.
Draw designs of these weapons using scented powders and decorate the Goddess with diamond jewellery.
Flowers:- Lotus and Marikozhundu.
Naivedyam:- Ellu Sadam, Konda Kadalai Sundal or Akkaravadisal as naivedyam.
Ragas:- The Vasantha raga is sung on this day to please the Goddess.
Vijaya Dashami:- On this 10th day, Goddess takes the form of Devi Vijaya.
Flowers:- Jasmine and Rose.
Naivedyam:- Sweet Pongal and other sweets.
Celebration of Dushhera:
Navarathri is celebrated not once, but five times a year — Vasanta Navarathri (from March-April), Ashadha Navarathri (June-July), Sharada Navarathri (September-October), Paush Navarathri (December-January) and Maha Navarathri (January-February).
People in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Trinidad and United Kingdom also celebrate Navarathri with full fervour.
While Navarathri is mainly a Hindu festival, it's reportedly mentioned in Sikh literature, especially the Dasam Granth, and Jainism.
1) The Kanaka Durga Temple of Vijayawada in Andhrapradesh state, India is well known place to worship Goddess Durga during this Navrathri in Her 10 different forms in these ten days.
Kanaka Durga Temple in Vijayawada Andhrapradesh
2) The Chamundeshwari Temple of Mysore in Karnataka state, India is also one of the famous place where Mysore King celebrate this festival of Dussehra with great enthusiam.
Procession of Goddess Chamundeshwari in Mysore
3) In Telangana state
this festival is celebrated in different form as Bathukamma
(the Goddess) who is worhsipped with various flowers and sung songs during this festival.
Batukama Festival in Telangana on Dussehra
4) The people of North India
celebrate this festival by organising Stage shows of 'Ramleela'
and depict the war scenes between Lord Rama and Demon Ravana, the victory over evil. Also, during Navarathri the barley seed are sown and when sprouted are plucked by the Sisters to tuck those plucked leaves on the caps or behind the ears of their brothers and wish for their well-being in the coming year. These sprouted leaves or Khetri are deemed to bring in good luck and prosperity.
Raamleela act perfomed on stages during Dussehra
5) In Eastern states of our country it is the major annual festival in Bengal (it is known as Bijoya), Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar and Assam. Dussehra or Durga Bisarjan marks the day when Goddess Durga returns to Shiva after her nine-days stay at her parent's house. For these nine days life-sized clay models of Goddess Durga and her children are worshipped by devotees who revel in the festive tide by wearing new clothes by applying tilak or kumkum on their forehead, exchanging gifts, prepare delicacies and enjoy with friends and family members.
Worship of Durga Idols with Her Children on Dussehra
6) According to Puranas
this was the day when Pandavas had completed their Agyathwasa, the day is also known as 'Vijayadashami'
and got back their weapons hidden under the Shammi Tree (
Thus people offer pooja to Shammi tree remembering the occassion.
7) The day of 'Vijayadashami' is also of great importance as in some places of our country people practise 'Vidyarambham' of children below three years of age which is also known as 'Aksharabhyasam' by performing pooja to Goddess Saraswati. Also this day is auspicious for house warming ceremony too.
Aksharabhayasam practise on Vijayadashami
8) At the end of the festival Goddess is taken out for procession and finally immersed in the waterbody like rivers, ponds, etc.
Fairs on Dussehra:
The major highlights of Dussehra festival is Mela or Fairs which are organised in cities in the form of small stalls for shopping, some events for children and joy-rides inbetween the busy streets with huge crowd of people who gather to see the effigies of Ravana burnt. One should make sure to visit the famous fairs of Mysore Dussehra Fair and Kota Mela which are organised during Dussehra festival.
Mysore- "The Royal City of Maharajas" attracts tourists from all over the world. The festival of Dussehra here is celebrated on a grand scale and declared as 'Naada Habba'- the State festival of Karnataka which is popularly known as Dussehra Fair or Mysore Dasara.
Mysore Dussehra Festival
It is mainly celebrated to mark the victory of Good over evil as Mysore was the residential place of the Demon Mahishasura, who was killed by the Goddess Chamundeshwari (Chamundi) on Vijayadashmi. Therefore, to honour the Goddess Chamundi this festival is celebrated every year with high festive spirits.
During 10 days of this festival, the entire city is lit with dazzlingly illuminated lights stunning the place with large crowd from far long areas to witness this grandiose event.
Mysore the Royal City on Dussehra
There are many exciting programs conducted at this time like film festival, sports and wrestling, air show, food mela and Dasara exhibition are organized at different locations for 10 days. The festival is concluded on the 10th day with a mega event, the Vijayadashmi procession.
Ohm Durgai Namaha...!
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