#Dussehra2023: Delhiites take up heritage walks to celebrate the festival - Hindustan Times

#Dussehra2023: Delhiites take up heritage walks to celebrate the festival

ByManvi Singh
Oct 24, 2023 03:43 PM IST

On Vijayadashami, heritage walk conductors in the city are taking culture enthusiasts to experience the grand spectacle of Ravana Dahan.

Dussehra is not just about watching the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Meghnad burn but also absorbing the victory of good over evil. It is to provide an experiential that some heritage walk conductors in Delhi-NCR have curated a blend of culture, spirituality and celebration as part of Dussehra special walks today. As they head out today, on Vijayadashami, with a group of culture enthusiasts, here’s recording what they experience amid the drum beats and fragrance of incense that ends in the grand spectacle of burning of Ravana’s effigy.

This Dussehra, Delhiites take to walks to celebrate good over evil.(Raj K Raj)
This Dussehra, Delhiites take to walks to celebrate good over evil.(Raj K Raj)

Old Delhi’s grand Dussehra is no match

“We have two walks organised for Dussehra — one is where we watch the Ravana dahan and the second is on the next day (October 25) when we’ll go down to collect the charred remnants of the Ravana’s effigy. Being a knowledgeable demon king, he was considered to be a person of wisdom and people wish to seek his blessings during tough periods of their life,” says Surekha Narain, walk conductor with Delhi Metro Walks. She adds, “This aftermath of Dussehra is what I would like to share with the participants of our walk.”

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The uniqueness of this walk is what intrigued Jayashree, a Gurugram-based business analyst, who says, “The essence of Dussehra is what about purification of the mind and soul which is why while I could go alone to watch a Ravana dahan. I wish to join in with other people and have a collective connection during those moments when the existence of the demon king goes up in just a few seconds. As I collect the remains the next day, this lesson is what will come home with me. The way a journey is described by the walk explorers makes it even interesting.”

Some conductors even organised walks pre-Dussehra to show how Ravana effigies are made by artisans.
Some conductors even organised walks pre-Dussehra to show how Ravana effigies are made by artisans.

Rich cultural heritage of Vijayadashami

“For me, Dussehra is not just about Ravana dahan, it also embarks on spreading the message of good over evil and that’s what I seek during my walks around Gurugram,” says Virendra Shekhawat, founder, Delhi Photography Club. Shekhawat adds, “This essence of the festival is what we try to capture during our photo walks in the city, be it during the Durga Puja days or now, when we plan for a photowalk on Dussehra evening at Gurugram’s Leisure Valley Park, Sector 29. The idea is bringing the concept of good over evil in pictures, and that can be found anywhere even without a Ravana.”

Joining in this walk will be Devesh Rathore, a Delhi-based high school teacher, who says, “The Old Delhi lanes for any festival in the city are already done to death if it comes to photography. This is why I opted for this walk that is in Gurugram.”

Ravana’s journey from creation to dahan

“The Dussehra mood in Delhi usually begins right from the enactment of the life of Lord Rama on not just the day of the festival but right at the start of the nine days of Navratri,” says Sachin Bansal, chief explorer at Delhi Walks, adding, “We offer this very experience for a spiritual connection to those who join the walking group during the nine days and visit different Ramlilas. There are also private walks conducted as per requests, and these are more in demand for Dussehra, today. Many want to walk down the streets of Old Delhi while watching one effigy burn after the other as a grand experience. Many of these requests come from those who have attended the effigy-making walks that we conduct in west Delhi where Ravana is made from scratch. Having seen the detailing and the hard work of the artisans, it becomes imperative for the attendees to see and admire the phenomenal show on the final day after Navratri.”

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