Akola, Oct 25 (PTI)While the effigies of Ravan are burnt on the occasion of Dussehra across the country, a small village in Maharashtra's Akola district worships the demon king.
The tradition of worshipping Ravan for his 'intelligence and ascetic qualities' has been going on in Sangola village here for the last 200 years, claim locals.
A tall black stone statue of the demon king, with 10 heads and 20 arms, stands at the centre of the village where locals revere him.
Talking to PTI on Sunday, local temple priest Haribhau Lakhade said while the rest of the country burns effigies of Ravana on Dussehra, symbolising the victory of good over evil, residents of Sangola worship the demon king for his 'intelligence and ascetic qualities'.
Lakhade said his family has since long been worshipping Ravan and claimed the happiness, peace and contentment in the village is because of the Lanka king.
Some elderly residents of the village hail Ravan as a 'scholar' and believe he abducted Sita for 'political reasons and preserved her sanctity', local resident Mukund Pohre said.
While the villages believe in Lord Ram, they also have faith in Ravan and don't burn his effigies, he said.
Visitors from across the country come to this tiny village on Dussehra every year to catch a glimpse of Ravan's statue and some even offer prayers, he added.
This year, the festivities in the village are low-key in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lakhade said. PTI COR GK GK