Pradeep Pattanayak

The five-day-long Durga Puja extravaganza came to an end with the immersion ceremony of the Goddess’s idol on Thursday. The most famous event associated with this festival which celebrates the victory of good over evil is ‘Ravan Dahan’ or ‘Ravan Podi’. 

‘Ravan Dahan’ was observed across the country yesterday, on Vijaya Dashami. But a nondescript village in Maharashtra was an exception. Here, the villagers offered ‘arati’ to the demon king Ravan, instead of setting his effigy on fire. 
In fact, the villagers worship the demon king on a regular basis. 

Welcome to Sangola village in Akola district in Maharashtra. 

As you enter the village, one thing that will catch your attention is a tall black stone statue of demon king Ravan, with 10 heads and 20 arms. The villagers throng this statue on every Dusshera and offer ‘arati’ to it. 

They do the same on Wednesday as well. They have a reason to justify their act. 

All of us know what happened in Treta Yuga. Ravana, the king of Lanka, was a devout follower of Lord Shiva and a great scholar and musician. It is believed that Shiva Tandava Stotram was composed by Ravan. He was powerful as well. He was so powerful that he ruled over three worlds. But his ego was a chink in his armour. 

He kidnapped Sita, consort of Lord Ram, signing his own death warrant. Lord Ram invaded Sri Lanka and a battle was fought between Him and Ravan. On the day of Dusshera, the demon king was killed. 

In memory of the victory of good over evil, people have been observing Ravan Podi every year. 

But in Sangola village, people believe if they are living peacefully it is due to the blessings of Ravan. According to the villagers, the worshipping of Ravan has passed down from generations. The tradition of worshipping the demon king is 300 years old.  

Every year, visitors from far and near visit this village to witness the uniqueness on Dusshera.