Dussehra or Vijiayadashami is one of the most important autumnal festivals in India. It marks the end of the nine-day Navratri celebrations as well as the five day Durga Puja festivities. This year Dussehra has fallen on 25 October.
According to Drikpanchang, the Vijay Muhurat for Dussehra falls between 1:58 pm and 2:43 pm on 25 October (Sunday). In West Bengal, the Aparahna puja time for Vijayadashami is from 1:13 pm to 3:28 pm on 26 October (Monday).
It is believed that on the day of Dussehra or Vijayadashami, Lord Rama defeated King Ravana in his quest towards rescuing his wife Sita. This is also the day when Goddess Durga slayed the buffalo demon Mahisasura.
The common theme that runs through both festivals is the triumph of good over evil. In many places in Northern India, effigies of Ravana are burnt to symbollically celebrate the demolition of eveil inside human beings and artists too take part in a play based on Tulsidas' Ramcharitmanas in the famed Ramlila.
While the word Dussehra comes from the two Sanskrit words dasha (symbolising the ten heads of Ravana) and hara, which means 'to defeat', burning the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Meghnad is supposed to abolish the evil inside human beings.
In the eastern part of India where Vijayadashami will be celebrated the next day, it will be marked through sindur khela among married women and the immersion of Goddess Durga along with her children Lord Ganesha, Lord Kartikeya, Goddess Saraswati and Goddess Lakshmi. People wish each other Subho Bijoya following the immersion of the idol.