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Dasara or ‘Vijaya dashami’ is celebrated as Lord Rama’s victory over Ravana and Goddess Durga’s triumph over a demon called ‘Mahishasura’ Dussehra Festival is celebrated every year usually in September/October. Dussehra or Vijayadashami is the most popular Indian festivals that hold sway in all parts of the country. Dussehra prominently stands out as a festival that reinforces the power of goodness over evil. For Hindus, it is a most favorable time to observe fast, perform rituals and celebrate. The festival is marked by a nine-day worship of Maa Shakti or five-day Puja of Maa Durga which is brought to an invigorating end on the tenth day, celebrated as ‘Dussehra .’In West Bengal, Dussehra is also known as ‘Durga Puja,’ in Mysore, ‘Dasara’ and Gujarat’ Navratri.’

When is Dussehra in 2022?

The auspicious festival of Dussehra is celebrated annually on the tenth day of Ashwin (month) in the Hindu Religion.

Dussehra 2022 Date: October 5, 2022

‘Ramlila’ is inextricably woven with the Dussehra celebration and is religiously performed yearly. It is an episode or scene-oriented performance from the Ramayana and is rich in songs, dialogues and action. Ramlila is a very interactive art form as the audience can participate in impromptu singing and narration. ‘Ramlila’ is noted for some critical scenes, such as the Lanka battle scene and dialogues between Gods. Volunteers involve themselves in everything from doing up the stage, designing masks and creating the puppets.Bonfires and fireworks abound on Dussehra within residential colonies and public places. The burning of effigies of Ravana is a spectacular event.

Dussehra Celebrations in India

While all of West Bengal is synonymous with Durga Puja festivities and celebrations, Kolkata remains the unique place for partaking in this glorious Puja. Experiencing the resounding effects of the ‘dhak’ and uplifting vibrations during the powerful mantra chantings add quite another dimension to one’s spiritual aura. It is believed that Goddess Durga visits her maiden home at this time of the year. A typical scene during Durga Puja is a montage of crowded streets, shops offering heavy puja discounts, huge pandals with novel designs, and exciting lighting ideas. The food stalls at the puja pandals hog the limelight for their delectable spread of the state cuisine, but the biggest draw is the holy ‘prasad’ offered to Maa Durga. The immersion of the idol of Goddess Durga is also carried out respectfully.

Ahmedabad, Gujarat, is the main center for Navratri puja and Dussehra celebration coinciding with Durga Puja. Dedicated to the nine aspects of Maa Shakti, devotees observe sunrise to sunset nine-day fast and fast-breaking rituals. The dance festival ‘Dandia raise, a nine-day unique musical extravaganza with its rich display of colorful costumes and catchy tunes, thoroughly enjoyed by natives and tourists alike. Kullu in Himachal Pradesh state is known for its grand celebration in the valley region. Vijaya Dashmi festival carries on for seven days here.

Delhi witnesses the grand participation of people during the Dussehra festival. Though initially prominent pandals were restricted to traditional places like Chittaranjan Park and Kalibari, the number of Ramlila programs and community puja pandals is growing. The Ramlila ground is a set venue for the program, and preparations are made much in advance for effigy burning, fireworks and cultural programs.

In Uttar Pradesh, Ram Nagar, about 15 km from Varanasi, has established itself as a site for a novel way of conducting Ramlila, with high-quality stage production values for as long as a month. The venue attracts a lot of tourists from abroad.

In south India, ‘Dashara’ is celebrated in a very royal manner and is one of the oldest customs being followed. On this day, the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari is taken out in a procession that sees massive participation from devotees across South India. Palaces and significant buildings glimmer with lights and decoration.

About Dussehra Muhurat

  • Dusshera is celebrated on the Ashwin Shukla Dashami during Aparahan Kaal. This Kaal is the duration of the time which begins from the tenth Muhurat after sunrise and ends before the twelfth Muhurat.
  •  If Dashami is prevailing for two days and Aparahan Kaal is being covered only during the second day, Dussera will be celebrated on the second day only.
  • If Dashami prevails during the Aparahan Kaal of 2 days, Dushera will be celebrated only on the first day.
  • If Dashami prevails through the two days but not in the Aparahan Kaal of any day, the Dussehra festival will be celebrated on the first day.

Shravan Nakshatra also affects the Muhurat of Dusherra. The logic is given below:

  •  If Dashami is prevailing through the two days (whether in Aparahan Kaal or not), but Shravan Nakshatra is prevailing through the Aparahan Kaal of the first day only, Vijaydashmi will be celebrated on the first day.
  • If Dashami is prevailing through the two days (whether in Aparahan Kaal or not), but Shravan Nakshatra is prevailing through the Aparahan Kaal of the second day only, Vijayadashmi will be celebrated on the second day.
  • If Dashami Tithi is prevailing for two days, but Aparahan Kaal is being covered on the first day only, Dashami is running till the first 3 Muhurats of the second day, and Shravan Nakshatra is prevailing during the Aparahan Kaal of the second day; in this condition, Dussehra celebration will be held on the second day.
  • If Dashami is prevailing through the Aparahan of the first day and till the less than 3 Muhurats of the second day, Vijaya Dasami will be celebrated on the first day rejecting all other conditions of Shravan Nakshatra.

Dussehra Puja & Celebration

Aparajita Puja is performed during Aparahan Kaal. The Puja Vidhi is given below:

  • Find a holy and auspicious place to worship in the Northeast direction from your home. It can be the vicinity of a temple, garden, etc. It would be great if the entire family could be involved in the Puja. However, individuals may also perform it alone.
  • Clean the area and make Ashtadal Chakra (the ring of 8 lotus petals) with Sandalwood paste.
  • Now, take Sankalp that you are performing this Puja of Goddess Aparajita for your family’s and yourself’s welfare.
  • After that, invoke Goddess Aparajita in the center of the Chakra with this Mantra
  •  Now, on her right, invoke Goddess Jaya with the Mantra.
  • On her left, invoke Goddess Vijaya with the Mantra.
  • After that, perform Shodashopchar Puja with the name Mantras.
  •  As the Puja is over now, perform Namaskar.

10. Perform Visarjan with the Mantra.

Aparajita Puja is the central part of Vijay Dashmi for the worshippers. However, some other worships are done on this day; check them below:

  • When the sun sets, and a few stars get visible, this duration is called Vijaya Muhurat. During this duration, any Pooja or work can be initiated for the best results. Lord Rama had defeated the King of Lanka, Ravana, by starting his journey for the war in this Muhurat. At this time only, a Shami tree had taken the bow of Arjuna (this bow was named Gandiva) to keep it safe.
  • Dussehra day is considered one of the most auspicious days of the year. It is one of the Sadhe Teen Muhurats (three and a half most auspicious Muhurats of the year – Chaitra Shukla Pratipada, Ashvin Shukla Dashami, Vaishakh Shukla Tritiya, and Kartik Shukla Pratipada (half Muhurat)). The entire day is considered auspicious for beginning or doing anything. However, certain Muhurats can be regarded as some particular Pujas.
  • Kshatriyas, warriors, and soldiers worship their weapons, known as Ayudh Puja. They also perform Shami Pujan. Kingship’s old days mainly considered this festival for the Kshatriyas (royals and warriors).
  • Brahmins worship Goddess Saraswati.
  • Vaishya worship their ledgers.
  • Navratri Ramlila, organized at many places, comes to an end.
  • Victory of Lord Rama is celebrated by setting ablaze the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna, and Meghanada.
  • It is believed that reciting the ‘Aparajita Stotra’ of Bhagwati Jagdamba on this day is very encouraging.
  • In Bengal, the grand Durga festival is concluded.

Dussehra Legend

As per the beliefs, the festival got its name Dussara because, on this day, Lord Rama had killed the ten-headed (Das Sar) demon, Ravana. Since then, the ten heads of Ravana effigies are burnt, each as the manifestation of lust, anger, greed, delusion, intoxication, envy, selfishness, injustice, inhumanity, and ego.

Duryodhan had defeated Pandavas in the game of gambling. As promised, Pandavas had to go for 12 years of exile and an extra year of a secret life. In that last year, they had to stay hidden from everyone, and if found by anyone, they would repeat their 12 years of exile. For that one year, Arjuna had hidden his bow, Gandiva, on a Shami tree and worked for King Viraat with the fake identity of Brihannala. When the son of the King asked Arjuna to help him protect the cows, Arjuna brought back his bow from the Shami tree and defeated the enemy.

Another legend states that when Lord Rama began his journey toward Lanka for the war, the Shami tree had announced the victory of the Lord.

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