Festivals

Dussehra

Vijayadashami also known as Dussehra or Navaratri is an important Hindu festival celebrated in Telangana. Vijayadashami, a festival that symbolizes the victory of good over evil, is celebrated with traditional fervor, devotion and gaiety across Telangana. The name Vijayadashami is derived from the Sanskrit terms “Vijaya-dashami” which means victory on the day of Dashami. Dashami is tenth lunar day of a Hindu calendar month.

History

According to puranas, demons, or Asuras, who were very powerful were always trying to defeat the Gods, and take control of Heaven. One Asura, called Mahishasura, in the form of a buffalo, was growing powerful and with this, he started creating havoc on the earth. The Asuras defeated the Gods under his leadership while the whole world was suffering under Mahishasura’s evil acts. The Gods then combined all their energies into Shakti to destroy Mahishasura. A powerful band of lightning, which then emerged from the mouths of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva formed into a young and beautiful female with ten hands, which had all the special weapons given to her by Gods. This Shakti then took the form of goddess Durga and after riding on a lion, Durga fought bitterly Mahishasura for nine days and nights. Finally, during the tenth day of Ashvini shukla paksha, the demon Mahishasura was eventually defeated and killed by Durga.

Festivities

The Durga temple in Warangal near Bhadrakali Lake, Basara Temple, Alampur Jogulamba Temple, one of the Astadasa Shaktipeethas, out of the 18 prominent Temples dedicated to Goddess Shakti, reverberate with manthras and are thronged by thousands of people. Sharan Navaratri is a popular festival at Alampur Jogulamba Temple, where as part of the concluding event, a Theppotsavam (boat festival) is organized, an eye-catching event held on Vijaya Dasami at the confluence of Krishna – Tungabhadra, also called Sangamam. Young women play Bathukamma around a clay pot decorated with flowers and they dance around it.

This festival is celebrated with fervor across all temples of Goddess Durga in the state of Telangana. During Navaratri i.e. nine nights, Goddess Durga is adorned in her different forms and avatars like Mahishasura Mardhini, Bala Tripura Sundari, Raja Rajeshwari, Annapoorna, Kali, Kanaka Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati and Gayatri Devi.

This is the time when most of the people living in Hyderabad and urban regions of the state head for their ancestral homes in rural areas and hinterlands. The villages in Telangana come alive with vibrant celebratory hues. Dussehra is also the occasion in Telangana when the newlyweds are invited by the bride’s family and are offered gifts and accorded special care.

Students usually keep their books and workers clean their tools for the purpose of puja on the ninth day of Navaratri, called Ayudha Puja which are then taken back, after puja on the tenth day i.e. Vijayadashami. Women and children organize ‘bommala koluvu’, which is a special arrangement of dolls and toys, aesthetically accompanied by flowers as well as lamps. Saraswathi Puja is also performed by many Telangana families for initiating their children into education since Vijayadashami is considered highly auspicious for this purpose. In Hyderabad city, devotees also immerse large idols of the goddess in the famous Hussain Sagar Lake, after worshipping her with devotion during the nine-day long festival.