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Dasara


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The tenth day, and culmination, of the ‘nine night’ (Navarātri) Durgā-pūjā festival in Bengal, celebrating the Goddess's defeat of the buffalo-demon Mahiṣāsura. The term is also used synonymously for the Navarātri festival in its entirety. In North India, Dasara coincides with the climax of the Rāma Līlā festival, on the tenth day of which (known as vijayā-daśamī (‘victory tenth’) Rāma's victory over Rāvaṇa is celebrated—the victory of a deity over a demonic power providing the point of convergence between the two festivals. Studies have been made of the particularly complex and martial Dasaras celebrated in both Mewar and Mysore (for at least five hundred years in the latter case) under the patronage of local rulers, where the festival has served not just to reinforce the universal victory of dharma, but also to ensure victory in the military campaigns that follow on the end of the rainy season.

Subjects: Hinduism.


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