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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)

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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