Top Five Unique Dussehra Celebrations

Gitanjali Banerjee

Last updated: Oct 13, 2012

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Dussehra means different things to different people. For some, it marks the end of fasting. For others, it means enjoying a brilliant display of fireworks at the local mela. And then there are those who celebrate this Hindu festival in more unique ways than others. We picked top 5 just for you!

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Durga Puja, Kolkata

The city of Kolkata gets into a crazy festive mood celebrating Durga Puja. You will find theme pandals, artistic idols, fancy light decorations, musical performances, and traditionally dressed people all around. Durga Puja epitomizes Bengali culture in all its splendour; with art, culture, music, literature, and even food.

What you can’t miss •    Go pandal-hopping. Each one is unique, thematic and tells a story. •    Watch the Dhaak and Dhunuchi dances performed during the evening aarti. Dhaak is a variation of the drum and Dhunuchi is a small mud vessel that holds fire. Dhunuchi is held in the hand, mouth and even balanced on the forehead, and a dance is performed to the fervent Dhaak beats. •    Eat, eat and eat! Like all Bengali festivals, this one too is all about food. Do taste the city’s famous egg rolls. •    On the last day of puja, ,married women clad in traditional red and white sarees smear each other’s faces with sindoor as part of Sindoor Khela, symbolising a happy and long married life. •    The Durga idol is immersed in the Ganga River amidst loud cheers, fireworks, and fervent dances; the festival inching towards its crescendo.

To reach Kolkata, you can book a flight, take a train, or hop on to a bus. MakeMyTrip offers several Puja special holiday packages to Kolkata.

Dasara, Mysore

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Want to witness 400-year-old festivities? Go to Mysore during Dussehra or Dasara as it is known locally. This 10 day long festival is traditionally celebrated by the royal family of Mysore, the Wodeyars. Mysore, otherwise a laid back city, comes alive during Dasara.

What you can’t miss •    Watch the Jumbo Savaari or the elephant procession. Led by decorated royal elephants, it starts from the Mysore Palace and culminates at the Dasara parade ground. •    More than 100,000 lights decorate the Mysore Palace, making it truly a visual treat! •    Visit the Dasara exhibition; held at the exhibition grounds every year since 1880. This exhibition is a gamut of joy rides, gastronomic treats, shopping options and much more.

To reach Mysore, you can book a flight, take a train, or hop on to a bus. MakeMyTrip offers several special holiday packages to Mysore.

Dussehra, Kullu

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Kullu, a town in Himachal Pradesh is renowned for its unique Dussehra celebrations. Idols of gods and goddesses from nearby villages are carried on the heads of worshippers and brought to the fair ground where they meet their main deity, Lord Raghunath.  For seven days, the valley wears a celebratory look. On the last day, the procession is taken to the Beas River where a pile of wood and grass is set afire; symbolizing the burning of Ravana’s Lanka.

What you can’t miss •    Participate in the Rath Yatra or the procession of Lord Raghunath on a decorated chariot led by the King of Kullu. •    Visit the fair to enjoy the folk music and dance. Do shop for authentic handicrafts. A tip for shoppers: Buy the traditional Pattu patterned shawl or cap. 

To reach Kullu, you can book a flight or hop on to a bus. MakeMyTrip offers several special holiday packages to Kullu.

Dussehra, Gujarat

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Dussehra is celebrated as Navratri when Goddess Durga is ceremoniously revered for nine days. Here, Dussehra is synonymous with the colourful and vibrant Garba dance. You’ll find all of Gujarat dancing with their dandiya sticks and swinging to foot tapping folk music all night long.

What you can’t miss •    Participate in the Garba dance wearing traditional Gujarati attire. •    Match-making! If you’re single, Garba parties are a great place to meet that special someone. Go, try your luck!

To reach Gujarat, you can book a flight, take a train, or hop on to a bus. MakeMyTrip offers several special holiday packages to Gujarat.

Dussehra, Delhi

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In Delhi, Dussehra is celebrated as the day when Lord Ram defeated the evil Ravana. Temples are decorated, religious music is played and Ramlila is performed. Effigies of Ravana, Meghanad and Kumbhakaran are set on fire in almost every neighbourhood in the city with crowds cheering enthusiastically.

What you can’t miss •    Must watch Ramlila,a traditional theatrical representation of the Ramayana. Storytelling is in a traditional folklore style with fancy costumes and dramatic dialogues. •    Ravana’s effigy is burnt amidst fanfare followed by an amazing fireworks’ display that lights up the sky in beautiful colours.

To reach Delhi, you can book a flight, take a train, or hop on to a bus. MakeMy Trip offers several special holiday packages to Delhi.