8th October, 2019
Giant effigies of ten-headed demon king Ravana, his son Meghnad and brother Kumbhakaran went up in flames on Dussehra marking the triumph of good over evil while at many places in the country people opted for eco-friendly ways to celebrate the festival.
Crowds burst into cheers as the effigies, dotting grounds and open spaces, crackled in fiery splendour at sundown on Tuesday. However, the traditional pyrotechnics were missing at several events, including in the national capital, as only green crackers were used or altogether given a miss.
The four-day-long Durga Puja festivities also culminated on Tuesday, with revellers queuing up near river banks and lakes for idol immersion as they bid adieu to the goddess.
With police keeping a hawk-eye vigil, the festivities passed off peacefully in different parts of the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the Dussehra event in Dwarka in the national capital and urged people to work towards furthering the empowerment of women and ensuring their dignity by taking forward the spirit of Navratra.
As a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi's on his 150th birth anniversary, he said they should take up the mission of not wasting food, conserving energy and water and avoiding single-use plastic.
President Ram Nath Kovind, who attended the festivities in Indraprastha here, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party leader Rahul Gandhi greeted people on the occasion.
Naidu and former prime minister Manmohan Singh attended the celebrations at Delhi's famous Lav Kush Ramlila at Red Fort which also did not use crackers in the effigies.
This departure from tradition is the organisers' way of minimising air pollution.
To make up for the missing fireworks, the sound of crackers were played on speakers.
Even the height of the effigies were reduced from 125 feet last year to 60 feet.
Naidu on the occasion called for eliminating social evils like casteism, fundamentalism, corruption and discrimination that impede the progress of the society and the nation.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and other Hindu outfits conducted 'Shastra Puja' (worship of weapons) in many cities and towns. The RSS also took out a foot march or 'Path Sanchalan' at several places.
Festivities took place amid tight security across Jammu region. Celebratory processions were taken out and effigies burnt at different places in the city, officials said, adding that the programmes were peaceful.
Union minister Jitendra Singh attended celebrations at the Parade Ground.
Meanwhile, as Dussehra festivities came to an end across the country, the historical week-long Kullu Dussehra commenced amid tight security.
The internationally renowned festival is unique as it begins when festivities culminate in the rest of the country and no effigies are burnt.
Even as the rest of the country burns effigies of Ravana on Dussehra, the demon king is worshipped in Sangola village in Maharashtra's Akola district for his "intelligence and ascetic qualities".
An enormous black stone statue of Ravan, with 10 heads and 20 arms, stands tall in the village where, according to locals, the Lanka king is being worshipped for the last 200 years.
Ravana worship also took place at the Shiva temple in Luxmi Nagar area of Mathura in Uttar Pradesh.