~Spero ergo sum~™

September 25, 2006

Dazzling Dasshera :-D

Filed under: Misc — Teal @ 5:07 am

One of the most popular of India’s festivals is Dassehra. The festival is also celebrated with intense fervour and zest. The festivities commence on the first night in the month of Ashwin (September-October).

It is significant that the Lord invoked the blessings of the divine mother, Goddess Durga, before actually going out to battle. In burning the effigies the people are asked to burn the evil within them, and thus follow the path of virtue and goodness, bearing in mind the instance of Ravana, who despite all his might and majesty was destroyed for his evil ways. It must be remembered that Ravana was a great scholar and an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva, but the very powers that were bestowed on him for his steadfast devotion proved to be his undoing, due to his gross misuse of the same. Every region observes this 10 day festival in a special way.

In North India it is Ram Lila and consists of plays, recitations and music which recall the life of the legendary hero, Ram. In Delhi, many amateur troupes perform plas based on this epic story. On the tenth day, an elaborat procession leads to the Ram Lila grounds where immense cracker-stuffed effigies of the demon Ravana and his brother and son explode to the chhers of thousands of spectactors.

In Kulu, the celebrations have a different flavor.Mysore, it is celbrated with a pomp and pageantry reminiscent of medieval times. In Benagal and other parts of eastern India, Dussehra is celebrated as Durga Puja. Devotees wear new clothes and entertain with music, dance and drama. On the last day, images of the warrior goddess are taken out in procession immersed in a river or the sea.

In the south, the festival is celebrated as ‘Navaratri’. The ten days are devoted to the worship of goddess Durga, who occupies a special position in the Hindu pantheon of gods and goddesses. She is ‘Shakti’, the cosmic energy which animates all beings. Beautiful idols of the Mother Goddess are worshipped in elaborate pandals for nine days, and on the ninth day, these are carried out in procession for immersion (visarjan) in a river or pond. Dolls and trinkets are artistically arranged in tiers by young girls. Friends and relatives visit each other’s homes to exhange greetings.

In Tamil Nadu, the first three days are dedicated to the worship of Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth and prosperity, the next three days to Saraswati, Goddess of learning and arts and the last three days to Shakti (Durga). In Punjab, Navaratri is taken as a period of fasting. In Gujarat, the evenings and nights are occasions for the fascinating Garba dance. The women dance around an earthen lamp while singing devotional songs accompanied by rhythmic clapping of hands.

Going back to how it is celebrated here in Tamil Nadu ….

There was a buffalo-headed demon called Mahishasur, who was creating havoc amidst mortals and gods alike. He was so powerful that the might of Lord Bhrama, Vishnu and Shiva were unable to put a full stop to his vile deeds. And so they went to their consorts out of desparation. The essence of Goddess Shakti[Parvati], Lakshmi and Saraswati morphed into one goddess – Mahishaasura Mardini.

And so the fight went on for 9 days.

The almighty Mahishaasura Mardini vanquished Mahishaasur on the 10th day, which is celebrated with pomp and grandeur as “Vijayadashami”. Vijayadashami is noted as the best day for starting new things, like enrolling for new classes.

We keep a display of toys and dolls called as Golu/Kolu. The dolls are arranged in steps or padis , which are usually odd in number. Every evening we make a new variety of boiled pulses midly spiced, also known as Sundal, and invite women and girls over. And we also recite the Mahishasura Mardini Stothram, which is a collection of shlokas sung in the praise of all pervading Mahishasura Mardini.

Navaratri is festival that I absolutely look forward to, because it is like a warm-up for Diwali, which is coming in October this time. =)

|| ayi girina.ndini na.nditamedini vishvavinodini na.ndanute

girivara vi.ndhya shirodhinivaasini vishhNuvilaasini jishhNunute .

bhagavati he shitikaNThakuTuMbini bhuuri kuTuMbini bhuuri kR^ite

jaya jaya he mahishhaasuramardini ramyakapardini shailasute .. ||

“O daughter of the mountain, who makes the whole earth happy, who makes the whole universe rejoice, praised by Nandin | dwelling on the peak of the great Vindhya mountain, glittering widely, praised by those desirous of victory | O Goddess, wife of the blue necked Siva, One who has many families, One who has done a lot, | be victorious, be victorious, O destroyer of the demon mahisa, with beautiful braids of hair, daughter of the mountain Himalaya ||”



  1. wow..lovely..even i like Navaratri a 1)implementing my creativity in arranging the dolls 2)visiting friends/relatives house 4 sundal..;-)

    Comment by Hell's Angel — September 25, 2006 @ 6:30 am | Reply

  2. i second hell’s angel tho those r the only two things i usually rmmr whn the word navarathri is mentioned…some space was provided for me besides the pandal whr i used to arrange a cricket stadium n showcase all my cars n bikes …:D

    Comment by Vivek — September 25, 2006 @ 2:58 pm | Reply

  3. Informative.

    But I never have been to a Golu (or is it because only girls are invited or something of that sort?)

    Comment by Hari — September 26, 2006 @ 6:25 pm | Reply

  4. WOAH!
    that was one heck of a post.
    man,planning on linking it.:):)
    for all those who haven’t a clue abt navaratri and its tradition ask teal ji!

    Comment by fille nouvelle — September 28, 2006 @ 4:32 pm | Reply

  5. Hi,

    Nice blog!

    Why don’t you consider writing about some of the new “India 2.0” sites that are creating a little buzz as well?

    Eg: http://www.ilaaka.com




    Comment by rajeev — October 2, 2006 @ 12:24 pm | Reply

  6. Hey..thanks a lot for such a detailed post on dusshera:-)

    I had very little knowledge about this festival, but now I’m quite well aware..thanks to you:-)

    Comment by Sudarshan — October 4, 2006 @ 1:12 pm | Reply

  7. omg, i so so miss navratri..


    good post you.

    and yes, i like bsb better than nsync too.

    Comment by Sowmya Rao — October 8, 2006 @ 2:19 pm | Reply

  8. sweeeeeeeeeeeeetie

    Comment by Anonymous — October 11, 2006 @ 4:55 pm | Reply

  9. kadhaa kaalakshebam level-kku detailed-aa story sollittiye!! besh besh……

    Comment by kutti — October 11, 2007 @ 11:30 pm | Reply

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