Dussehra, also called Vijayadashmi, is one of the fascinating festivals of India and is celebrated with joy and enthusiasm for ten continuous days.
It also commemorates the death of the evil king Ravana along with his son Meghanath and brother Kumbhakaran, at the hands of Rama.
The farmers invoke blessings of Goddess Durga because this festival coincides with the period of rest and leisure after their strenuous work in the fields. The farmers with her blessings wait with tremendous hopes for a bountiful harvest.
According to the Ramayana, Rama was the exiled prince of Ayodhya. While living in the forest, his wife Sita was abducted by Ravana, the demon king of Lanka. Rama, assisted by an army of monkeys, attacked Lanka to rescue her.
A fierce battle ensued between the two armies for many days as it was proving very difficult to beat the mighty Ravana. Rama then prayed for nine days to nine different aspects of Durga and accumulated enough strength to defeat Ravana. Durga divulged the secret to Ram how he could kill Ravana.
Then after vanquishing him, Ram with Sita and Laxman returned victorious to his kingdom of Ayodhya on Dassera day. Therefore, the festival of Durgotsava and Dassera is celebrated more in honour of Prabhu Ramchandra than Durgadevi .
Ramalila, a dance-drama narrating the story of Rama’s life according to the Ramayana, is enacted for the nine days preceding Dussehra. Almost every area stages its own version of the play, preparations for which take place many days in advance.