Chhattisgarh’s Bastar Celebrates A 75-Day Long Dussehra; Here’s All About It, Dates & More

by Tejashee Kashyap
Chhattisgarh’s Bastar Celebrates A 75-Day Long Dussehra; Here’s All About It, Dates & More

For those fortunate enough to witness Chattisgarh’s Bastar’s Dussehra, it is an experience like no other. As this remarkable festival continues to draw the world’s attention, it serves as a reminder that while traditions may evolve, their essence remains timeless. Stretching over 75 days, Bastar’s Dussehra is a grand spectacle that offers a glimpse into the deep-rooted traditions and customs of the tribal communities.

Dussehra: More Than Just a Festival 

The Dussehra celebration in Bastar is not just a one-day event. It is an extravagant 75-day extravaganza that draws people from across the world to witness its grandeur. The preparation for Bastar’s Dussehra begins months in advance. The entire region buzzes with activity as the tribal communities work tirelessly to create the unique artefacts and structures that will be the centrepiece of their celebrations.

A key feature of Bastar’s Dussehra is the preparation of ‘Rath Yatra’. The Rath is a massive, ornate wooden chariot, which takes a whole year to craft. Its grandeur reflects the depth of devotion the tribal communities have for their goddess. This tradition has been going on for 600 years now.

As the culmination of the 75-day festival approaches, the excitement in Bastar reaches its zenith. The grand procession, a highlight of Bastar’s Dussehra, is a visual spectacle that is unlike any other. One of the most striking elements of the procession is the diverse tribal attire. The overall effect is a riot of colours and patterns that showcases the rich cultural diversity of the region.

Also Read: Chhattisgarh Ram Van Gaman Tourism Circuit Takes You On Lord Rama’s Exile Journey. Deets Inside!

The Unique Feature: A Record-Breaking Dussehra

What sets Bastar’s Dussehra apart and has earned it international recognition is its astonishing duration. The festival extends for a remarkable 75 days, making it one of the world’s longest Dussehra celebrations. Tourists and enthusiasts can partake in traditional rituals, enjoy tribal dance and music performances, and experience the unique hospitality of the local communities. In Jagdalpur, where the major festival takes place, the town comes alive with lavish decorations and processions.

Moreover, the 600-year-old ceremony holds that the goddess ‘Kachhin’ authorises the ‘Raj Parivar’ of the Bastar district to celebrate Dussehra, which kicks off the celebrations. The rituals and celebrations are a way for the tribes to connect with their ancestors, forging a bridge between the past and the present.

In contrast to other locations where the idols of “Ravan” are burned, this event honours the Mahishasur Mardini Adishakti. The festivities start once they seek blessings from the goddess to celebrate the occasion

The two daughters of the king, Kachhin Devi and Raila Devi, are thought to have engaged in “Johar”. This is the act of putting oneself on fire in defiance of one’s adversaries. Since then, the daughters’ pure souls are said to have been wandering around the area, blessing them when they come across young girls.

The region is a repository of indigenous traditions and customs. Hence, it offers a unique insight into the lives of its tribal inhabitants. The rich tapestry of Bastar’s cultural heritage is interwoven with the customs and beliefs of the Gond, Maria, and Muria tribes, among others.

Bastar’s Dussehra is not just a record-breaking event; it is a unique cultural treasure waiting to be discovered.

Date: Festivities commenced on 15th Oct
Where: Jagdalpur

Cover image credits: Wikimedia Commons

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