Durga Puja and Dussehra Festival

A Durga idol is immersed in water, an effigy of the demon king Ravana is burned and animals are sacrificed in ceremonies marking the Hindu festival Vijayadasami, also known as Dasara, Dusshera or Dussehra. Vijayadasami is observed for different reasons and celebrated differently in various parts of the Indian subcontinent. In the eastern and northeastern states of India, Vijayadashami marks the end of Durga Puja, commemorating the10-armed goddess Durga’s slaying of a demon king and the triumph of good over evil.

In the northern, southern and western states, the festival is called Dussehra. and celebrates God Rama’s victory over the demon Ravana, or alternatively it marks a reverence for one of the aspects of goddess Devi such as Durga or Saraswati.

Vijayadashami celebrations include immersive processions to a river or ocean front that carry clay statues of Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha and Kartikeya into the water for dissolution. Elsewhere, on Dasara, the towering effigies of Ravana symbolizing the evil are burnt with fireworks marking evil’s destruction.

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Allahabad, India

An idol of the Hindu goddess Durga floats in a temporary pond near the River Ganges after its immersion in Allahabad, India, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. The immersion of idols marks the end of the festival that commemorates the slaying of a demon king by lion-riding, 10-armed goddess Durga, marking the triumph of good over evil. (Photo: Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP)

Amritsar, India

Indian Hindu devotees watch an effigy of the Hindu demon king Ravana, stuffed with fire-crackers, burn in Amritsar on Sept. 30, 2017, on the occasion of the Hindu festival of Dussehra. Held at the end of the Navratri (nine nights) Festival, Dussehra symbolises the victory of good over evil in Hindu mythology. On the night of Dussehra, fire-crackers and stuffed effigies of Ravana are set alight in open grounds across the country. (Photo: Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty Images)

Allahabad, India

Indian boys pull an idol of Hindu goddess Durga to shore to clean up the temporary water body beside the Ganges river, after immersion of Durga idols by Hindu devotees in Allahabad, India, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. (Photo: Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP)

Bhaktapur, Nepal

Devotees offer lamps as part of a ritual during “Dashain”, a Hindu religious festival in Bhaktapur, Nepal, Sept. 30, 2017. (Photo: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters)

Bhaktapur, Nepal

A lit oil lamp is placed on the hand of a devotee while offering prayers during “Dashain”, a Hindu religious festival in Bhaktapur, Nepal, Sept. 30, 2017. (Photo: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters)

Jammu, India

Artists dressed as Hindu gods react as an effigy of Kumbhkarana, brother of demon king Ravana, burns during Vijaya Dashmi or Dussehra festival celebrations in Jammu, India, Sept. 30, 2017. (Photo: Mukesh Gupta/Reuters)

New Delhi, India

A Hindu devotee dances in a trance on the banks of the River Yamuna during Durga Puja festival in New Delhi, India, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. The idols of goddess Durga are immersed on the final day of the festival that commemorates the slaying of a demon king by lion-riding, 10-armed goddess Durga, marking the triumph of good over evil. (Photo: Altaf Qadri/AP)

Chennai, India

Devotees immerse an idol of the Hindu goddess Durga into the Bay of Bengal on the last day of the Durga Puja festival in Chennai, India, Sept. 30, 2017 . (Photo: P. Ravikumar/Reuters)

Bhaktapur, Nepal

A devotee offers prayer by rolling on the ground during “Dashain”, a Hindu religious festival in Bhaktapur, Nepal, Sept. 30, 2017. (Photo: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters)

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Bangladeshi Hindu devotees carry an idol of Goddess Durga to immerse it on the last day of Durga Puja festival on the bank of the River Buriganga in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. The festival commemorates the slaying of a demon king by lion-riding, ten-armed goddess Durga, marking the triumph of good over evil. (Photo: A.M. Ahad/AP)

Kolkata, India

A devotee offers sweets to an idol of the Hindu goddess Durga while offering prayers on the last day of the Durga Puja festival in Kolkata, India, Sept. 30, 2017. (Photo: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters)

New Delhi, India

An Indian Hindu boy dances in the River Yamuna during immersion of idols of goddess Durga on the final day of Durga Puja festival in New Delhi, India, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. The immersion of idols marks the end of the festival that commemorates the slaying of a demon king by lion-riding, 10-armed goddess Durga, marking the triumph of good over evil. (Photo: Altaf Qadri/AP)

Chandigarh, India

A woman reacts as “Sindur”, or vermillion powder, is applied to her face after worshipping an idol of the Hindu goddess Durga on the last day of the Durga Puja festival in Chandigarh, India, Sept. 30, 2017. (Photo: Ajay Verma/Reuters)

Ahmedabad, India

Workers install effigies of the demon King Ravana, his son Meghnad (L) and brother Kumbhkarana (R) before they are set on fire during the Hindu festival of Dussehra, in Ahmedabad, India, Sept. 29, 2017. (Photo: Amit Dave/Reuters)

Gujarat, India

Hindu devotees perform Garba, a traditional folk dance, during the celebrations to mark the Navratri festival, in which devotees worship Hindu goddess Durga, at Surat in the western state of Gujarat, India, Sept. 28, 2017. (Photo: Amit Dave/Reuters)

Ajmer, India

Workers carry the head of an effigy of the demon king Ravana during preparations for the upcoming Hindu festival of Dussehra, in Ajmer, India, Sept. 28, 2017. (Photo: Himanshu Sharma/Reuters)

Kolkata, India

Soumili Mukherjee, a five-year old girl dressed as a Kumari, who is worshipped as part of the Durga Puja rituals, is carried by her father to a temporary platform called pandal, during the Hindu religious festival Durga Puja in Kolkata, India, Sept. 28, 2017. (Photo: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters)

Gauhati, Assam state, India

Devotees put a garland on a buffalo calf before it is sacrificed at a temple of Hindu goddess Durga at Rani village on the outskirts in Gauhati, Assam state, India. Participants in the five-day Durga Puja festival believe the sacrifices bring prosperity and good health. But in some parts of India, religious animal sacrifices are banned. ( Photo: Anupam Nath/AP)

Kolkata, India

Vendors sell garlands, which are used to decorate temples and homes during the Hindu festival of Durga Puja, at a wholesale flower market in Kolkata, India, Sept. 26, 2017. (Photo: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters)

Kolkata, India

A Hindu priest performs prayers in front an idol of the Hindu goddess Durga (not pictured) inside a home, ahead of the Durga Puja festival in Kolkata, India, Sept. 26, 2017. (Photo: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters)

Kolkata, India

A Hindu priest performs rituals during Durga Puja festival on the banks of the Ganges River in Kolkata, India, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017. The five-day festival commemorates the slaying of a demon king by goddess Durga, marking the triumph of good over evil. (Photo: Bikas Das/AP)

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