Dusshera is known by different names in different parts of the country. The rituals and custom too differ from region to region but the tradition of burning cardboard models of Ravana, his son Meghnad and brother Kumbhkaran is observed commonly in nearly all states. Hundreds of artisans engage themselves in making mammoth statuettes filled with crackers of these three from months before. The statues are erected in huge ground on Dusshera and are then burnt by fire arrow of Rama. The burning of Ravana by the hands of Rama represents the victory of truth over evil.
Number of artists dressed as Lord Rama, Sita, Lakshman and Ravana performs the Ramlila in the maidan and enact the climax of the tussle between Lord Rama and Ravana.
Vijayadashmi is the time to bid adieu to Ma Durga in Bengal. On the tenth day of Durga Puja the idol of Durga is carried in a huge procession of dancing and singing folks to river for visarjan. Bengalis celebrate this day remembering the victory of Ma Durga over Buffalo demon Mahishasura. A ritual that is unique to the Bengali community known as Sindur Khela in which married women play with sindur. People visit each otherâ€™s home, thus building up an atmosphere of cordiality.
In parts of Uttar Pradesh, people gift the leaves of the apati trees(Banni leaves)on this day as they consider these leaves the gold distributed by Kautsa. The Kullu Dusshera is a week-long celebration with sacrifices of a buffalo, a rooster, a lamb, a fish and a crab.
People in South India consider Vijayadashmi or Dusshera or Dusseraan auspicious day to start study. Goddess of wisdom, Ma Saraswati is worshipped. On Dusshera morning the books, pen or musical instruments are removed from the room. Then few alphabets are written on rice or sand and some scared sentences are chanted.
It is believed seeing Neelkanth on Dussehra bring in omens with it. If the Neelkanth is found near lotus flowers or among elephants, cows, horses or snakes, it anticipates conquest and good luck; whereas if seen on ashes or bones, evil may follow. Another strong belief coupled with Dusshera is that if someone wears new clothes on this day, he or she will get ten more new clothes in the coming year.
Dusshera is a time to clean and polish your tools or weapons too.
The 10th day of Ashwin Shukla Paksh is celebrated as Dusshera. Dusshera puja may be performed differently in different parts of India but the sole purpose is to seek blessings from the Almighty and ensure health, wealth and prosperity all through the year.
Essential items for puja
Hindu mythology suggests the puja must include Image of Dussehra, cow dung, limestone, rice, Roli,moli, flowers, Jaggery, Jhuwara grown in Navratri, Banana, radish, gwarphalli, dhoop, incense sticks, deep, account books etc.
Vidhi / Method of Performing Puja
* The puja is performed amid the pious chants of mantras.
* Draw the Dusshera image with wheat flour/chuna, put 9 tikki with cow dung.
Make 2 bowls of cow dung to keep coins in one and roli, chawal, fruit and jhuwara in the other.
* Perform puja with water, mooli, roli, chawal, flowers and jhuwara.
* Offer banana, mooli, gwarphalli, jaggery to the deity and then distribute them as Prasad.
* Light the dhoop and Deepak....do the parikrama.
* Place your bahikhata before god.
* Food and dakshina are offered to the Brahmins after puja.