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Dusshera - 10-day Hindu Festival Dasara

The Navratri festival which commences on the first of the bright half of Ashwayuja (September-October) ends on the tenth day of Ashwayuja. The tenth day is called Dusshera or Dasara or Dussera or Dusharah or Dussehra. The term Dusshera is widely used in North India and Karnataka and it is also referred as Vijaya Dashami. There may be several spellings and different myths for the festival but in all places Dasara commemorates the victory of good over evil.

In North India and Karnataka, the 9 day Navratri festival and the 10th day Vijaya Dashami festival is at times together referred as Dusshera. Some people only refer the last day (10th day) as Dusshera.
In North India, Dusshera or Vijaya Dasami is considered to be the day when Ravana was killed by Lord Ram. The 10-day festival reaches a climax on Dussehra with the burning of effigies of Ravana, Kumbakarna and Meghnath.

In Karnataka, Dusshera commemorates the victory of Goddess Chamundi or Goddess Chamudeswari over Demon Mahishasura. This myth is quite similar to the Durga Puja myth in East India.

It is also believed that Lord Ram performed ‘chandi puja’ to invoke the blessings of Goddess Durga for slaying Ravana. Pleased with Lord Ram, Goddess Durga or Goddess Chamundeswari divulged the secret to Lord Rama on how to slay Ravana. Thus there is a link between the Durga Puja and Lord Ram.
Mysore in Karnataka is noted for the world famous Dusshera celebrations, which is also known as ‘Nadahabba.’ Another important event during this period is the Bommai Kolu – arrangement of dolls.