New Delhi: Giant effigies of demon King Ravana, his son Meghnad and brother Kumbhakaran went up in flames amid deafening sound marking the triumph of good over evil as gusto marked Dussehra festivities across the country on Thursday.
Amid beating of drums, devotees, dancing frenziedly, also bid adieu to Goddess Durga as she returned to her celestial abode.
At sundown, the fire crackers-stuffed effigies, dotting grounds and open spaces in villages and towns, blazed and crackled in fiery splendor as crowds burst into cheers.
Hindu devotees dressed as Hanumans sit behind an auto-rickshaw as they commute. Photo: AFP
Dussehra, which also marks the end of scorching summer and heralding of winter, is preceded by nine auspicious days of Navaratri during which devotees pray, fast and feast. Ramlilas, vivid enactments from the life of Lord Rama, were staged in large parts of the country during the nine days preceding the festival.
In the national capital, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi were among a large number of dignitaries who watched the evil going up in smoke at the Parade Ground.
Hundreds of idols of Goddess Durga, which had adorned the marquees, were immersed in holy rivers by devotees marking the culmination of the festivities.
A number of fairs were also held on the occasion of Dussehra which also symbolizes the triumph of warrior Goddess Durga over buffalo demon Mahishasura.
The President, the vice president, the Prime Minister and a host of leaders had greeted the people on the joyous occasion hoping the festival would usher in peace, prosperity and happiness for all.