Dussehra, Ram Leela & Delhi
When we talk about the joyous, fun-filled festivals and celebrations in India, Ram Leela in Delhi is one of the most awaited events of the year.
The supremely entertaining Ram Leela, celebrated annually on the day of Dussehra, marks the victory of Lord Rama over the demon-king Ravana. This is the day when life-size effigies of Ravana, Meghnath and Kumbhakarana are burned in an enactment.
A number of people plan their trips to the city of Delhi during this time especially to witness the event that also attracts the attention of the international media.
Dussehra or Vijayadashami is a widely celebrated festival in our country. The tenth day after the nine-day long Navratri fervour is known as Dussehra. The festival is celebrated differently in various parts of the country.
For the people hailing from the eastern side of the country, Vijayadashami is celebrated at the end of Durga Puja which marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura. While in North India, the festival is celebrated as Dussehra, a mark of Lord Rama’s victory over the evil Ravana.
Lord Rama is the Avatar (Incarnation) of Lord Vishnu and is known for showing the path of righteousness to his devotees.
Ravana, the intelligent Maha Brahmin, who fell due to his pride had kidnapped Lord Rama’s wife Sita, and it is on the day of Dussehra that the Lord finally killed Ravana and marked the victory of good over evil- a lesson to learn for the future generations.
In some parts of India, especially in North India, a series of theatre performances termed as Ramlila takes place. An elaborate theatre is set up and the tale of how Lord Rama defeated Ravana, essentially taken from ‘Ramayana’ is narrated along with a fare organised for the audience.
On the day of Dussehra, the final episode of the epic is enacted in which Lord Rama kills Ravana. After the enactment, effigies of Ravana, his brother Kumbhkaran and son Meghnath are burnt.
Ramlila is chiefly enacted to celebrate Lord Rama’s victory over Ravana and to give out the message that good always triumphs over evil. The festive fervour during Dussehra is something that can’t be missed and felt especially if you attend a vibrant and theatrical Ramlila.
As mentioned, Dussehra is one of the main festival celebrated all over India. Dussehra which is also known as Vijay Dashmi is the last day of Navratri. It is one of many festivals in India depicting victory of good over evil.
In Lucknow the essence of celebrating Dussehra is very different due to its Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb. It is celebrated across the city and by people of every religion.
The Nawabs used to participate freely in festivals of all religions. It started in reign of Nawab Sadat Ali Khan and there were numerous instances recorded in King Muhammad Ali Shah’s himself participating in the Dussehra and Wajid Ali Shah was also very active in participation.
It is said that Mahant Rama Lal Saran was held in great esteem by the Kings of Awadh, and had started the celebration of the Ram Leela festival during the Dussehra at Aishbagh, Lucknow.
One of the oldest Ram Leela in Lucknow is done currently in Mausamganj by Munshi Shekhawat Ali and Bhuvan Chaudhary. It is believed that Ram Leela in Mausamganj is 134 years old !
Dussehra in Lucknow is preceded by long event of Ram Leela which is basically depiction of story of Ram in a theatrical manner.
Ram Leela is enacted in various parts of Lucknow. It is presented over ten days ending up in a battle between Ram and Ravana and ultimately death of Ravana, as mentioned in Ramayana.
The final day of Ram Leela is the burning of edifice of Ravana signifying victory of Lord Ram. The Ramlila ground in Aishbagh presents one of the best celebrations of Dussehra organised by Shri Ram Leela Samiti.
On the Ram Leela ground Aishabagh after the burning effigies of Ravana along with his brother Kumbhkaran and his son Meghnath, it is followed by grand fireworks around the place. It is one magnificent sight that everyone in the city should experience.
In many other parts of the city, the period of Dussehra and Ram Leela is celebrated as Durga Puja.
The city is also home to many old Durga Pujas like one in Bengali Club, Shashi Bhushan and Ram Krishna Math. It is undoubtedly true that Lucknow is a city of diversity. All festivals in Lucknow are celebrated with equal enthusiasm and joy!