Where to Visit in India this Dussehra 2022 | Best Places to Visit on Dushera
India is a country that has captivated many with its history, culture, food, languages, music, art, religions and so much more. With over six religions practised and “Unity in diversity” as its motto, the country is second to none in the celebration of its festivals. Be it Diwali or Ramzan or Christmas or Buddhpurnima it is celebrated with the same enthusiasm and spirit all over the country. Dushera, also known as Dussehra or Vijaydashmi, is one such ceremony that lights up both places and their people. Celebrated for a period of ten days from the end of September to early October, it is a famous festive gathering marking the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana and the defeat of Mahishasura by Devi Durga. Basically, the prevailing of good over evil. Although the festival is celebrated throughout the country, there are some regions where the festivities cannot be matched elsewhere. So here’s a list of the best Places to Visit on Dushera in India.
Top Places to Visit During Dashera in 2022
Kolkata Durga Puja
Dushera in Kolkata is celebrated as Durga Puja. The ‘City of Joy’ comes alive like never before during the festival. The idols of Goddess Durga are brought home or installed in public Pandals which itself is a sight as they are decorated exceptionally. The images of the goddess are made by the artists from clay that is deposited by the Ganges.
In the evenings, the streets are swamped with locals and tourists to witness the grand festivities. Pandals are crowded with a humungous number of people gathered to offer their prayers and locate different pandals to see the theme of their decorations. Women dress in traditional Bengali attire, dance with mud lamps held in their hands and dance and participate in sindoor khela. Some of the famous Pandals that you should visit are Ekdalia Evergreen, Begbazar, College Square, and Kumartuli Park. Public kitchens are set up and ‘Bhog’ consisting of prasad and other traditional food items of Bengali cuisine is offered to the devotees visiting any Pandal. You should definitely stop by Kolkata during its famous Durga Puja to witness the magic that is created in the city, with the vigour they celebrate and their unique style of worship.
Mysore is not only famous for its Masala Dosa but also for its grand celebrations during Dushera. Mysuru Dasara, as it is known here, is a ten-day affair with Jumbo savari marking the end of the ceremony. The history of this festival dates back to the Vijayanagara empire of Krishnadevaraya. It is said that the festival was celebrated in the then capital city of Hampi but it ended with the fall of the empire. Mysore royals re-started the festivities in the 17th century. It starts with a puja performed by the royals at Chamundeshwari temple atop Chamundi hills.
Elephants march across the town and the Mysore Palace is beautifully illuminated by 100,000 lights throughout the ten days. Not only this, even the city of Mysore is all decked up and comes lively during the festivities with lights and fireworks. There are book fairs, cycling, yoga, heritage tours, film festivals and artists showcasing their crafts as part of the celebrations. Food stalls are set up opposite Mysore Palace and it is only during Dasara can you see the Golden Throne in Darbar Hall of the Palace. On the last day, there are processions from the palace to Bannimantap where the royal elephant carries Goddess Chamundi on top of Ambari, a golden seat. The procession also includes bands, dance and armed forces. Although the Palace, the Chamundi hills and Brindavan gardens will be filled with locals and tourists, Mysuru Dasara is one grand affair that will be worth all the waiting to witness the enchanting city in all its glory.
‘Navratri’, which means nine nights, is celebrated magnificently throughout the state of Gujarat but especially in the city of Ahmedabad. Devoted to goddess Shakti, the nine-day festival begins with aarti followed by the famous folk dance, Garba. Devotees from all over the country and even celebrities are known to take part in Navratri.
Goddess Shakti is worshipped on huge grounds and stages are installed for Garba all over the city. The dance takes place till midnight with men and women donning traditional Gujarati ‘chaniya choli’. They also make use of Dandiya which is a wooden stick while performing Garba. The energy of the people is unmatched. The enthusiasm that they exhibit is truly unbelievable and you can’t help but perform with them. Some of the famous events include the Karanvati Garba festival, YMCA and Heritage Garba. The passes are expensive and in demand last minute so make sure to plan in advance. All in all, the Navratri festival of Ahmedabad is a ceremony that you must experience at least once and be prepared to get your minds blown by the intensity of the celebrations.
New Delhi Ramlila
New Delhi, being the nation’s capital, is not to be left behind when it comes to any festival and it’s the same with Dushera. The city with a history so rich and monuments from different empires sees a surge in the number of tourists during this season as visitors from various parts of the country as well as the world arrive to take part in the celebrations.
Ramlila, a mythological tale showcasing the victory of Lord Ram over demon Ravan, is one of the main attractions in the city during Dushera. The play is performed by various known artists in events held all over the city with Red Fort being one of them. On the tenth day, Ravan Dahan takes place where the life-sized effigies of Ravan, his son Meghnaad and his brother Kumbakaran are burned with crackers and the crowd chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ is a delight to watch. Some of the famous Ramlila organisers and their venues include the Lav-Kush Ramlila committee at Lal Quila Maidan, Red Fort, Shri Ramlila committee at Ramlila Maidan and Nav Shri Dharmik Leela committee at Red Fort Lawns. The musical also features some Bollywood celebrities. You can visit Chandni chowk and Sarojini market for some shopping and also witness how the city gets into festive mode.
The holy city of Kashi famous for the Kashi Vishwanath temple, known as Varanasi also indulges in the festivities of Dushera. The city, popular for its spiritual essence, ghats and the Ganges holds Ramlila to commemorate the triumph of good over evil. The Durga Puja is also performed and you can visit all the nine manifestations of Goddess Shakti here.
Ramnagar which is located 15 km away from Varanasi holds Ramlila, a tradition which is 200 years old, was first started by the king of Kashi. It is performed by renowned artists and effigies of Raavan are burned with crackers. Idols of Goddess Durga are immersed in the holy waters of the river Ganga. Special Ganga Arti is performed at various ghats with the river lit by lamps. If you are planning on visiting Varanasi, Dushera is as good a time as any and you will be left spell bounded by the devotion and the celebrations. Nepali temple, Tibetan temple and Ramnagar Fort are some of the places to visit in the temple town.
The hill station also known as the ‘Valley of Gods’ is famous for its breathtaking beauty. Situated on the banks of the river Beas, it offers a pristine view of the mystic Himalayas. Dushera here is celebrated differently. Where the celebrations come to an end in most places in India on Vijayadashami, festivities begin here. The celebrations then proceed for a week.
The festival starts with a procession wherein the devotees carry deities of different gods and goddesses on their heads and march toward the prestigious Raghunath Temple. A local fair is organised, and folk songs and dances are performed by the Gaddi community. Naina Devi fair, Pandoh dam, and Himalaya national park are some of the many places you should stop by. Thousands of travellers from every nook and corner of India visit to get a glimpse of the grand ceremony. On the last day, sacrifices like wood and fodder are lit to symbolize the demise of Lanka. Kullu is conventionally popular for its tourist destinations and attracts visitors from all over the world which is an added bonus when you are visiting the valley during the grand celebrations. You will cherish the mesmerizing view and the grandeur in all its splendid glory.
The quaint town of Bastar, Chattisgarh celebrates Dushera in a distinct way. Also known by the name of Jagdalpur Dussehra, the celebrations are not to mark the victory of Lord Ram over the demon Ravan but they are dedicated to the local Goddess Danteshwari. It is also one of the world’s longest festivals as it goes for a period of 75 days.
Bastar is native to the famous Dandakaranya jungles where Lord Ram is said to have spent a few days of his exile. During Dussehra, deities from nearby villages are also brought to the Danteshwari temple and the carnival witnesses people of various tribes taking over the streets in their traditional costumes accompanied by drumming and dancing. You can catch a glimpse of how tribal people lead their lives during this vibrant and spectacular festival.
The floral festival, which is also the state festival of Telangana, is celebrated for a period of nine days by the women of the region. It is being celebrated in 8 countries as stated by the government. The festivities start on Mahalaya Amavasya and continue till Ashtami which is then followed by ‘Pedda Bathukamma’.
The word ‘Bathukamma’ means goddess coming alive. It is celebrated by filling pots in colourful and exotic seasonal flowers and worshipping them. Women dress in traditional sari, form circles around the pots and perform folk dances. The streets are decorated in vibrant hues of rangoli and the city comes alive with colours and flowers. The decorated pot is immersed in a pond to mark the end of the festivities. Golconda fort, Char Minar and NTR gardens are some of the places worth visiting.
Kota, located in Rajasthan, is the most famous for being a student hub as pupils from all over the country migrate to the city to prepare for competitive exams. The city, popular for its street foods like Kachori, is known for its historic Dussehra festival being celebrated for 125 years.
Dussehra is one of the oldest festivals to be celebrated here as the festivities date back to the 18th century. Kota celebrates the festival by playing Ramlila followed by igniting the effigies of Ravan, Meghnaad and Kumbakaran that are stuffed with firecrackers. Moti Mahal, Badoli temples, and Seven Wonders park are some of the sites to pay a visit to. A giant fair is organised which also includes cultural programmes, handicraft stores and delicious Rajasthani delicacies to savour. So step into the land which is filled with tales of kings, invasions, palaces and so much more to experience the exceptional festive gathering.
The Tirumala pilgrimage in the city of Tirupati is one of the oldest holy sites that is constantly filled with pilgrims irrespective of time and season. It is considered a sacred place where Lord Venkateshwara and his incarnations are worshipped. Pilgrims from all over the world visit the pilgrimage and it is one of those places that no matter how many times you visit, there is still something to cover in your visit the next time.
‘Brahmotsavam’, more commonly known as ‘Srivari Brahmotsavam’ is celebrated for a period of nine days during Dussehra. ‘Brahmotsvam’ means to mark the offering of Lord Brahma to Lord Vishnu. It is believed that Lord Brahma once devoted his prayers to Lord Vishnu over the auspicious and sacred Pushkarin in Tirupati and hence the day is celebrated with great vigour atop the hills of Tirumala. Various cultural events such as singing, dancing and rangoli competitions are held during the nine days. On the last day, Rathotsavam is conducted. The ceremony is a colourful and crowded affair. You should book your seats well in advance if you wish to attend the Brahmotsavam. Kapila Theertham, Govindaraju Temple and many fairs that are organised near Tirupati temple are some of the places not to miss. Hindus believe that to get an opportunity to witness the auspicious ‘Brahmotsavam’ is a blessing in itself, so if you happen to get one then don’t miss a chance at experiencing its greatness.
Festivals in India are as special and unique as their people, history, culture and rituals. The zeal with which they celebrate is remarkable. You will never find a place as colourful and lively as India during its festivities. Dushera is one such celebration where the preparations and rituals begin a month or so before the festival itself. With it being celebrated for a period of ten days there is no better time to witness the lifestyle, heritage and devotion of people and places in all their authentic glory.
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