Dasara (Dussehra, Navaratri) is one of the most famous festivals in India. According to the Hindu calendar it is celebrated on the 10th day of the Shukla Paksha ("bright half") of the month of Ashvin (Ashwayuja). In the western calendar it is sometime in September or October. In 2012 Dasara is held on the 24th of October. In some parts of India it is celebrated for 10 days. The word dasara comes from „dashhara“ where „dash“ means ten and „hara“ means defeated.
During Dasara people who have Golu receive many guests. Women wear silk saris (Kancheepuram Pattu Pudavais), jewelry and some jasmine flowers in their hair. Dasara is a chance for kids (younger than 10 years) to dress up in the evening as Krishna, Radha, Andal, Meera, Pattu Mami and other characters.
On the 9th day of Navaratri (Saraswati Puja), special pujas are performed as offering to Goddess Saraswati. She is the divine source of wisdom and enlightenment. She is also the goddess of knowledge, music and the arts.
That is why people put some books and musical instruments in the puja. Kids love Saraswati Puja as on this day parents tell them that they do not have to study. As part of „Ayudha Pooya some tools are also put in puya. Puyas are performed for clean and decorated vehicles too.
The 10th and final day of Navaratri is "Vijayadasami". People believe that on that day good finally beat the evil. Hindu God Rama (Ramachandra, son of Dasharatha - The King), beat Ravana in the Ramayana.
The day marks new beginning in life. Business people who sign a deal on that day are especially happy. Teaching at schools, formal training in music, dance and other art forms start on this day. Vijayadsami is also a day when teachers are honoured.
Everyone expresses hope for the successful Golu next year. After that the Golu is dismantled and put away till the next year.
In the evening of "Vijayadasami", one doll from the "Golu" is symbolically put to sleep. The Kalasam is moved little bit towards North. This symbolize the end of that year's Navartri Golu. People pray and thank God for being able to complete this year's Golu.
On “Vijaadasami” people in city of Mysuru (Mysore) located in the state of Karnataka, with population of some 53 million, in the south of India organize a special procession. The procession includes the idol of the goddess Chamundeshwari riding in a golden Ambaari (elephant-seat).
The state of Maharashtra, with population of almost 97 million, is located in the west coast of India. In this Indian state Dasara is celebrated on the 10th day of the Ashwin month according to Shaka Hindu Calendar. In the western calendar it is sometime around October.
On the 10th, last day, of Dasara idols put at the beginning of the festival are cleaned with water. This last day of Dasara is also a day of victory by Lord Rama over Ravana. People visit each other and exchange sweets.