dussehra celebration

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Dasha Hara in Northern India

Dussehra Celebration

The tenth day of the Navaratri festival is known as Dussehra in India.
Dasha Hara in Northern India

In Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and western Bihar, it is tradition to plant barley seeds in earthen pots on the first day of Navratri. On the day of Dasara, the nine day old sprouts (called noratras or nortas or of nav ratris or nine nights) are used as symbols of luck. Men place them in their caps or behind their ears.In most of northern India and some parts of Maharashtra, Dasha Hara is celebrated more in honour of Rama. During these 10 days many plays and dramas based on Ramayana are performed. These are called Ramlila. There are outdoor fairs and large parades with effigies of Ravana (a mythical king of ancient Sri Lanka), his brother Kumbhakarna and son Meghanad.The effigies are burnt on bonfires in the evening. After Dasara, the hot summer ends, especially in North India. The onset of cold weather is believed to encourage infections. The burning of the effigies, filled with firecrackers containing phosphorus, supposedly purifies the atmosphere, while the temples perform Chandi Homa or Durga Homa, with the same intent.In the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, the Dasara festival starts with the performance of Ramlila which is unique as it is based on the musical rendering of the katha or story of Lord Rama. It is based on the theatrical traditions set by Uday Shankar during his stay in Almora; these traditions were further enriched by Mohan Upreti and Brijendra Lal Sah. Known as the Almora or Kumaon style, Ramlila has been recognised by UNESCO in its 2008 report as one of the representative styles of Ramlila in India.


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