Indore: Dussehra or Vijaya Dashami marking the end of both Durga Puja and the nine-day long Navratri festival will be celebrated in Indore on Sunday.
Celebrated with much fervour, the day symbolises the victory of good over evil when Goddess Durga killed Mahishasura, the demon king. It is also said that this was the day when Lord Rama defeated Raavan.
In Indore, usually the celebrations are seen on a grand scale as more than 100 feet tall Ravana is set to fire in Chimanbagh and other open grounds. This year, due to Covid-19 outspread, the Ravana burned is only 21 feet tall.
The 100-feet tall Ravana usually burns for 30 minutes, and 21-feet tall is expected to burn down in 7 minutes. Last year, the largest 111-feet tall Ravana was burnt on the Dussehra ground, which was witnessed by more than 60,000 people.
Ravana will be burnt in about 300 places in the city including Dussehra Ground, GPO, Tilak Nagar, Chimanbagh Maidan, Vijay Nagar, Ushaganj High School Ground, Qila Maidan, and Kalani Nagar.
From these, about 10 places will have a grand effigy of Ravana of 21 feet.
Sachin and Aakash Gaur, organisers of Rambagh Dussehra Utsav Samiti, shared that the ceremony of burning will be only symbolic. This year, public has not been invited to attend Ravana Dahan.
50% less orders for Ravana
One of the organisers who prepares Ravana for the festival, Shashikant Raut, said, “We have Ravana in smaller sizes this year from 3 feet to 21 feet tall, as opposed to usual 51-feet tall Ravana.”
He added that this year, the number of orders for preparing order is half as compared to last year. “We received only 50 per cent orders this year, for example, only 4 Ravana of 21 feet have been ordered as opposed to 8 to 10 during previous years,” Raut said.
In turn, the number of workers hired to prepare Ravana is less than half. “Last year, we had hired 15 people to prepare Ravana, but this year, only 6 have been hired.”
Ravana is 25% dearer this year
Due to slowdown in business, the cost of Ravana has also increased by 25 per cent, as shared by Jain Sahib Ravanwale. “Last year, we had paid salaries of Rs 50,000 to workers for 20 days to prepare Ravana, but this year, business has been slow.” He added that pricing of Ravana varies from Rs 700 to Rs 51,000
Covid-19 protocols to be enforced
Due to the corona, this time Ravana will not have any procession before the burning. The usual firework show will not be organised at Dussehra Ground, Chimanbagh. As per district administration orders, protocols for controlling outspread of coronavirus must be strictly followed.
Hence, wearing mask will be compulsory and no crowding will be allowed.
Largest Ravana of this year can be seen at…
1. Dussehra Ground: 21-feet tall Ravana will be set to fire, as shared by convenor Satyanarayana Salvadia. Usual gathering of 50,000 people will not be present.
2. Tilak Nagar: For 59th consecutive year, 11 feet of Ravana will be burnt, as shared by organiser Meet Kashyap. Cultural events and firework show will not be organised this year.
3. Chimanbagh: 21-feet tall Ravana will be burnt between 7 to 8 pm as shared by Anil Yadav, Chairman of the Chimanbagh Dussehra Festival Committee.
4. Kalani Nagar: For 25th year, Ravana will be burnt here at 7 pm, as shared by Vikas Pandey.
Symbolism of Donkey
A symbolism of donkey was seen on most Ravanas this year. “Our Ravana has nine human heads and one donkey head, representing the immoral behaviour of the Ravana. The effigy will be burnt after a war between Ram and Ravana. Thereafter, the effigy will be burnt by rockets,” Arvind Yadav, organiser of the event at Chimanbagh said.
ONLINE RAVANA DAHAN
Although Covid-19 has played spoilsport in the celebration of festivals, poeple have been trying new ways to continue the years old rituals.
NGO Suryamanch are organising a online Raavan Dahan to celebrate Dussehra and the participants will join the programme through a link provided by the organisers.
Suryamanch's Johar Manpurwala said, "Burning effigy of Raavan is an old ritual and we will not let Covid-19 to stop us from celebrating the festival. "Online broadcast will also be shown on the Facebook sites of all the members. The actual burning of Ravana effigy will be held near Nagar Nigam gate, though the organisers have asked people not to reach the venue, but enjoy the spectacle online.