A  festival of colour, pujas, a variety of foods to stir up the senses and of course the ubiquitous decorations, Dussehra (tenth day) is an important festival of Hindus. The entire country celebrates it with great zeal, though the pattern may differ a little from state to state. The festival commemorates the triumph of Lord Rama over the Demon king, Ravana, the victory of good over evil. Ramlilas, which are plays depicting the various phases of Rama's life are brilliantly enacted. On the tenth day i.e. Vijaydashmi, gigantic sculptures of Ravana, his brother Kumbhkarna and son Meghnath stuffed with explosive material are placed in vast open grounds. These effigies are shot with arrows of fire by Rama, accompanied with his consort Sita and brother Lakhshmana signifying the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana in the battle to rescue Sita. Theˇ sculptures burst with a deafening blast and all the people shout in triumph and joy.

The message of Dussehra is to burn the evil within ourselves and follow the path of virtue and goodness. It reminds people to keep in mind the instance of Ravana, who was a great scholar and ardent devote of Lord Shiva, but despite all his might and majesty he was destroyed due to his gross misuse of power.

West Bengal celebrates Dussehra as Durga Puja craftsmen make beautiful idols of Goddess Durga which are welcomed in the houses, as a daughter who has come to visit her parents' home. The Goddess is ' Shakti ' the cosmic energy which animates all beings. The idols of the Goddess are worshipped for nine days and on the ninth day, the idols are immersed in rivers or ponds. The procession accompanying the immersion include drummers and conch blowers.

The day celebrates the magnificence and omnipotence of Goddess Durg The legends say that the mighty demon Mahishasur, vanquished the gods and their king, Indra, who subsequently fled, leaving behind their kingdoms. They then approached the Holy Trinity, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, who decided to destroy the atrocious demon and prayed to the divine mother Durga to do the needful. Equipped with lethal weapons riding a ferocious lion the Goddess in all her awesome majesty, destroyed the evil Mahishasur easily.

In Tamil Nadu the festival is celebrated by worshipping Laxmi, Goddess of wealth and prosperity for the first 3 days, then comes the turn of Goddess Saraswati for the next 3 days, who is the Goddess of learning and arts and the last three days aare devoted to Goddess Shakti (Durga). The families in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka arrange dolls (Bommai Kolu) on artificially constructed steps and decorate it with lamps and flowers. Women traditionally exchange gifts of coconuts, clothes and sweets. Scenes picked from various stories in the epics and puranas are displayed. People visit their friends and acquaintances during these 10 days. They sing, tell stories that the dolls arranged on the steps might be depicting and eat a dish made out of chickpeas (choondal). The whole set-up is put up on the very first day of Navaratri and taken down. After the Saraswati pooja on the ninth day, is Vijayadashmi. Vijayadashmi is an auspicious occasion for children to commence their education in classical dances and music and to pay homage to their teachers.

In Gujarat, the evening and nights are occasions for the fascinating Garba dance. The dance full of zest and vigour display colourful costumes worn by women who dance around an earthen lamp while singing devotional songs accompanied by rhythmic clapping of hands.

Navaratri is taken as a season of fasting in Punjab. Ramlila is the significant aspect of this festival in Northern India. A mass celebration of this festival marks the celebrations of Dussehra in Himachal Pradesh. In this ceremony big processions of the village deities are taken out. In Mysore, splendidly adorned elephants lead a colourful procession in the beautifully decorated streets of the city.