Bhubaneswar: The ten-day celebrations of auspicious Durga Puja come to an end today on the occasion of Vijayadashami, also known as Dussehra. It is believed to be the day when Goddess Durga clashed with Mahishasura’s army and slayed the buffalo demon once and for all.
The festival traditionally represents the legend of Ayodhya prince Ram and demon king Ravana. As per the folklore, Lord Ram rescued his wife Sita from the clutches of Ravana, proving the triumph of good over evil. It is for this very reason that the day is called Vijayadashami (the day of victory).
According to mythology, Durga was created by the Gods by pooling in their spiritual powers as they wanted to create ‘Shakti’ that was ultimate and could annihilate demon-god Mahisasur.
Goddess Durga, accompanied by her four children — Ganesh, Kartik, Lakshmi, and Saraswati — descends on earth every year to visit her parents to fight evil.
She comes astride her mount lion and wields an array of weapons in her 10 hands in symbolic representation of Shakti, or woman power. She slays Mahisasura and other demons symbolising undefeated divine force. This is the occasion that the Durga Puja celebrates.
Vijayadashami marks the journey of Goddess Durga back to Kailash after ten days of stay at her parent’s house on Earth. The celebrations include processions of idols of Maa Durga and her coterie of Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesh, and Kartikeya to a water body.
The procession is accompanied by music and chants, after which the images are immersed into the water for dissolution and a goodbye.
Dussehra also marks the end of the epic war between Sri Ram and Lankan king Raavan. The effigies of ten-headed demon king Raavan along with his brother Kubhakaran and son Indrajit are burnt with fireworks marking evil’s destruction.
The festival also starts the preparation for one of the most widely celebrated Diwali, the festival of lights, which is celebrated twenty days after Vijay Dashami.
Like last year, there will be no ceremonial goodbye to Maa Durga or the Ravan Dahan due to the Covid-19 pandemic.