You’ve probably heard of Holi and Diwali, but Dussehra may have slipped under your radar. It’s a seriously big deal though in the Hindu lunar calendar. The God Rama defeats the odious King Ravana, the event marked by noisy days and noisier nights of singing and dancing in the streets, culminating in a nocturnal finale of pageant and high drama as effigies of Ravana await the pleasure of the crowds; which is to do with him as, on our own green and pleasant land and with once anti-catholic intent, we Brits do with Guy Fawkes.
The climax of Dussehra 2016 was celebrated last night in Pushkar at the town’s Mela Ground, in a stadium on the edge of the Thar Desert where the world’s largest camel fair will be held after Diwali in a few weeks. The stadium stands next to the gypsy camp I spoke of in a recent post.
Last night it was packed, thousands present. I spoke with a family from Delhi – dad a physics lecturer at Jawaharlal Nehru University, closed for Dussehra – and a young couple from Jaipur. Thanks also to locals whose English was good enough to explain the finer points for me, and to stallholders who sold fantastic dainties with names I haven’t a hope of remembering. I broke my own rules to buy food for a trio of gypsy girls, who astonished me by saying “thank you” as nicely as Sunday School kids at Whitsuntide.
A brief account of the festival and its significance can be found here. This is Dussehra 2016, in Pushkar, in pictures.
This cat’s up to no good; I can feel it in my bones. I took against him the moment he minced across the stage with his baddie’s hat and lurid cape. It’s good to test the water though before jumping to possibly prejudicial conclusions. “Good guy?” I asked the young man stood next to me. He laughed good naturedly. “Oh no, sir. That is one very bad guy. His name is Ravana and he will be defeated by Lord Rama!”
Well that’s a weight off my mind.
The videographer formerly known as Prince:
Unless I’m very mistaken, here’s Lord Rama in the nick of time. But how come the good guys – think Dickens – are always less interesting than the baddies?
Up yours Ravana – burn in hell!