Dusshera, Dussera, Vijayadasami, Vijaya Dashami

Dasara festival is celebrated on the Shukla Paksha Dashami (tenth day) of the Hindu lunar month of  Ashwayuja (Ashvin). The first Nine days of this month celebrated as Durga Navratri and tenth day is celebrated as  Dasara. Dasara is  a national festival. People from all the communities come together and celebrate it with lot of joy and fun. Dasara is observed with social gatherings and food festivities at home and in temples throughout India.  Dasara is not only celebrated in India but also in all the surrounding countries like Java, Japan, Sumatra etc. The national festival of Nepal is Dashain (Dasara).

Dasara is also known as  Dussehra, Dashain and Dasha hara. In other indian languages it is spelled as দশেরা, ದಸರ,  ദസറ, दसरो, दसरा, ଦଶହରା,  దసరా and ਦਸੇਰਾ.

All the festivals of India are celebrated to mark the victory of good over evil. Dasara is no exception for this. Dasara is celebrated for different reasons in different parts of the India. In South India it is celebrated to mark  the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura. In north India Dasara is celebrated to mark the victory of Lord Rama over the demon Ravana.

Dasara 2012 Date

Dasara is celebrated on the Shukla Pkasha Dashami of Ashwin Month. This year Dasara falls on Wednesday, 24th October, 2012.

Dasara Significance

Dasara means Dasa is ten and hara means removing, therefore removing of the ten heads which symbolize the nine emotions of human beings and the remaining one is the intellect. If intellect succumbs to the nine emotions then there is no meaning of intellect and the ultimate end would be death.

Dasara can also be read as Dasa Hara. Dasa also means the state or fate and Hara is removing, therefore Dasara signifies removal of bad fate. It means that if Goddess Durga is worshipped on this day and the preceding nine days then the virtue of the worship would help the devotee overcome the effect of the bad fate or bad Dasha in their life.

Dasara is celebrated on the tenth day after a nine day celebrations called as Durga Navratri. The nine days represent the nine forms of Bhakti and Dasara signifies that if anyone would worship Goddess Durga with any one of the nine types of Bhakti, they would be able to attain salvation or a darshan of Goddess Durga. This means that a devotee can choose any one or many of the nine types of bhakti to attain the ultimate goal of unifying with the God or salvation or reaching of the God.

The other name of Dasara is Vijaya Dashami. Vijaya means victory and Dashami is the thithi of the day and hence Vijaya Dashami signifies a day that would give victory in whatever endeavor we undertake. Another significance of Dasara is, it is one among the three days of the year, on which a work can be started without looking for a Muhurat or auspicious time. The other two days of the year being Ugadi or Gudi Padwa and Akshaya Tritiya.

Legends of Dasara

The stories behind celebration of Dasara are different for different regions In India. Dasha hara literally means removing Ten and also known as Victory of Good over Evil.  In north India it is celebrated as the day of Victory of God Rama over Ravana. In Southern parts of india it marks the Victory of Durga Mata over Mahishasura. Godess Durga is also known as Mahishasura Mardhini. In other area it is observed as the End of Agnyatawas of Pandavas, Home coming of godess  Durga, Kautsa’s Guru Dakshina,  Story behind giving leaves of Aapti as Gold and Simollanghan.

You can read the story details from here.

Victory of god Rama over Ravana
Victory of Durga Mata over Mahishasura
Homecoming of Durga Maata
End of Agnyatawas of Pandavas
Kautsa’s Guru Dakshina  (Story behind giving leaves of “Aapti” as Gold)

Dasara Puja Vidhanam

Dasara is the tenth and the last day for Durga Puja. Dasara is also known as Vijaya Dasami in South India. In Bengal and most of the Eastern India the tenth day  would be the day of visarjan of Goddess Durga after being worshipped for nine days in different forms. Hence the normal pooja to Goddess Durga is done and then would be immersed in a nearby river.

In north India, Dasara is celebrated to mark the victory of Rama over Ravana and people would do a normal puja at home. People would normally go to watch the burning of the effigies of Ravana,  Kumbhakarna on Dasara. In south India on Dasara Ayudha puja is performed, where in all instruments, vehicles and other accessories used for doing work are worshiped.

The process of performing the Ayudha Puja

1)    All the instruments are cleaned or washed.
2)    The are decorated with turmeric, kumkum, flowers and believed that Goddess Durga is residing in them.
3)    The normal puja is done believing the weapon to be Goddess Durga.
4)    After worshipping the instruments, sweets are offered as Naivedyam.
5)    If a vehicle is worshipped, then after the puja, the vehicle is made to run over the lemons and then only used.
6)    No work is done with them until the next day.

Thus Ayudha Puja is performed.

Dasara Celebrations

Northern India
The main event in northern India is Rama Leela, wherein the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Indrajit or Maghanath are burnt. Further information can be read at “ Dasara in Nothern India”.

Himachal Pradesh
The Dasara celebrated in Himachal Pradesh is known as Kullu Dasara. Dasara will be celebrated at the Dhalpur Maidan in the Kullu Valley. Kullu Dasara is a seven day festival which would start on the day of Dasara or Vijayadasami. Detailed information can be read at “ Kullu Dussehra “.

Andhra Pradesh

In Andhra Pradesh Dasara is celebrated with the name of Vijaya Dasami. Ayudha Puja is the main ritual during Dasara. Bommala Koluvu is another important ritual wherein all the toys in the house are displayed on a temporary stage and worshipped. More information can be read a “ Dasara in Andhra Pradesh”.

Mysore Dasara Celebrations
Madikeri Dasara
Tamil nadu
Maha Rashrtra
Dussehra in Bangladesh
Dashain in Nepal

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