Saturday, 7 February 2009

Ravana Returns to Kalkaji

Ravana and his allies await Dussehra destruction in Kalkaji, New Delhi

In 2007 we went to Kalkaji near our home for a huge celebration of the Indian holiday of Dussehra - but got there late and missed the main show. This year we were determined to make it on time, so we left a bit earlier from home, and managed to reach the venue on time. We were shocked to see extremely long lines to get in and started to worry we would miss it again - but with me being a foreigner and my wife good at sweet talking we managed to get in through a special entrance and secured ourselves seats in a nice VIP section close the action.

As I explained last year, Dussehra marks a great mythical battle in which the good guys led by Prince Ram defeated the evil armies of Ravana, the many-faced Demon King of Lanka. In Kalkaji this is marked by a mock battle between the Gods and the Demons, a lot of fireworks ens with the grand finale: Burning of huge effigies of Ravana and two of his cohorts.

This event draws huge crowds - it is after all free entertainment, with something for everyone in the family. And similar events all over town also draw huge numbers, so this is quite a big deal.

Arrival of the army of the monkey God, Hanuman - one of Ram's great allies

Crowds ready for Dussehra celebrations in Kalkaji, New Delhi

Fireworks set the stage for the destruction about to follow

Ravana was there in person

Ravana and his buddies feeling very confident before the battle

One of the good guys - I think. It may be Shiva, but I'm not sure. perhaps someone can enlighten me in the comments section?
The mock battle is underway. I believe this is Hanuman battling Ravana.

The huge crowds are getting ready for the grand finale: They want to see Ravana get burned and banished from this world - at least untill next Dussehra.

Ravana still spiteful. He was built move his mouth and through a great loudspeaker system, he would spread his demonic message. Notice the many people watching from the top of the Modi Tower in the background.

First one of the lesser demons got burned. A small collage showing the whole process (click to enlarge).

And finally the turn had come for Ravan himself

The demons are filled with powerful fireworks. In fact they don't so much burn - rather they explode, in a flash of intense heat and noise. A couple of guys here find themselves a little too close so they withdraw to a safer distance

Finally I bring a few other pictures from the festive season kicked off by Dussehra:

Two of my female colleagues decorating their hands with henna in the office
Our local temple in GK-1 decorated for Dussehra

Local kids enjoy a day off to play cricket in the backalley behind our house. Picture taken from our small bedroom terrace

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