Mon, Dec 5, 2016 | updated 01:47 AM IST

Dussehra celebrations in Bastar have nothing to do with Lord Rama

Updated: Oct 09, 2016 08:39 IST

Bastar (Chhattisgarh) [India], Oct. 9 (ANI): Dussehra is celebrated to mark the victory of good over evil, when Lord Rama killed the demon king Ravana.

However, Dussehra celebrations in Bastar, which lies in the Dandakaranya region and where Lord Rama is believed to have spent a major part of fourteen years of exile, are different from the way others celebrate it, as it has nothing to do with Lord Rama.

The unique feature of Dussehra celebrations in Bastar is that tribals hail Devi Maoli, Bastar's native deity and the elder sister of Devi Danteshwari.

The celebrations cut across caste and creed, spreading bonhomie between the people.

Bastar Police Commissioner Rajinder Tash told ANI, "Bastar's Dussehra is world famous and goes on for 75 days. We have started celebrating the main 12-day Dussehra ceremony by offering prayers to Devi Kanchan. The Maharaja of Bastar takes permission from the goddess to commence the celebrations. We pray to other gods and goddesses of Bastar as well and the environment is very festive throughout."

The 75-day-long celebration reaches a crescendo in the last 10 days and a four-wheel chariot decked with flowers, the 'Phool Rath', makes the rounds of the area from the second to the fourth day.

The rath is made afresh each year by various tribal groups and the celebrations at Jagdalpur, the district headquarters, are especially grand.

It was under King Dalpat Dev in the 17th century that Dussehra started being celebrated in Jagdalpur. It has since been known as Jagdalpur Dussehra.

The king encouraged the participation of the local tribals and other communities, making it one of the biggest festivals of the region with nearly 20,000 people from various tribes participating. (ANI)