The ongoing celebration of Navratri will culminate on October 23. On October 24, the tenth day of the Ashwin month, Dusshera festival or Vijayadashami festival will be observed. While the festival is observed as a symbol of victory of good over evil, it also marks the victory of Lord Ram over Ravana.
On the occasion of Dusshera festival, in most parts of the country, the effigy of Ravana is burnt. But then again, the ten-headed demon king is worshipped in some other parts.
Know Places Where The Demon King Is Worshipped
Mandsaur (Madhya Pradesh)
On Dusshera, the people of Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh turn off the lights of their houses. Instead of celebrating, the people here mourn the death of Ravana. It is believed that Mandsaur was the birthplace of Ravana's wife Mandodari.
To date, people here worship him as their son-in-law. There is a huge statue of Ravan here and people worship him as a wise person, second to none and an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva.
Bisrakh (Uttar Pradesh)
The residents of Bisrakh, a village in Goutam Budh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh, don’t celebrate Dusshera. While Ravana’s effigies are burnt across the nation on Dusshera, here, people worship him.
According to many beliefs, Bisrakh is considered to be the birthplace of Ravana. And the people here claim that Ravana is their ancestor. They also consider him as a great Brahmin. So instead of burning the effigies of Ravana, here, they spend the day mourning and praying for his soul. People here consider Ravana as a great Brahmin and worship him. Here, people perform yajnas to pay tribute to Ravana.
Baijnath, Himachal Pradesh
Baijnath is a small town in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. The town gets its name after an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva (Baijnath temple). While Ravana’s effigy is burnt across the country, this town is an exception.
There is a legend behind it.
To attain invincible powers, Ravana worshipped Lord Shiva in the Kailash. To appease Lord Shiva, he offered all his ten heads in the yajna kund. At this Lord Shiva blessed with the boons of immortality and invincibility. A delighted Ravan requested Lord Shiva to come with him to Lanka. Lord Shiva agreed but on the condition that he (Ravana) wouldn’t put his shiva linga on the ground or else he would settle there forever.
On the way to Sri Lanka, Ravana felt thirsty at Baijnath. He saw a shepherd whom he requested to give him water. It was none but Lord Ganesh who was there in the guise of a shepherd. He quenched the thirst of Ravana. Soon, Ravana felt the urge to attend nature’s call. He requested the shepherd to hold the shiva linga for some time so that he could attend nature’s call. The shepherd agreed but he kept the shivalinga on the ground.
As Lord Shiva had told Ravana, the former settled there. The spot was today’s Baijnath.
Mandore, Jodhpur, Rajasthan
People across the nation-minus some places- regard Ravana as the antagonist of the Hindu epic the Ramayan. But in Mandore, a small town in Jodhpur, the picture is different. Here, people worship the demon king not on Dussehra but every day. Like gods and goddesses, here is a dedicated temple for the ten-headed king. A cult of Brahmins who worship Ravana believe they are the descendant of him. They regard him as the most powerful man of all time.
It is also believed that Mandore is the birthplace of Ravana’s wife Mandodari. This is why most Brahmin families treat Ravana as their son-in-law. And, this is why Ravan’s effigy is not burnt here.
The people in Karnataka's Kolar district worship Lord Shiva on Dusshera. Since the king of Lanka is considered one of the greatest devotees of Lord Shiva, people here also worship him. This is why they instead of burning his effigy on Dusshera, as is practiced across the nation, celebrate Lankeswar Mahotsav.
On this day, a huge idol of Ravana is taken out in a procession. Here, there is also a temple where the idol of Ravana is worshipped all throughout the year.
On Dusshera, unlike many other parts of the country, the residents of a nondescript village in Maharashtra’s Akola district don’t burn an effigy of ten-headed demon king Ravan. Rather they worship him on this day.
A common belief amongst the villagers makes them do so. They believe if they are living peacefully, it is due to the blessings of Ravan. In fact, it is a 300 years old tradition.
There is a tall black statue of Ravan in the middle of the village. While people worship the statue every day, on Dusshera, they perform a ‘maha aarati’ of the Lanka king.