India is a unique country with numerous, caste, culture, religions and customs. India is just like a flower bouquet consisting of 29 type’s flowers which spread its unique fragrances. Each state of India has its vivid distinctiveness and immensely rich traditions. The festivals in India play a major role to unite everyone together as some festivals are celebrated through the country with their own styles. Some festivals like Diwali, hole and dusshera are almost celebrated in each part of the country with various rituals.
One such unique festival of Chhattisgarh state of India is bastar dusshera which is locally celebrated for 75 days.
Bastar is a part of Chhattisgarh which has a tribal rich population, which was a princely state founded by Annama Deva in 14th century. The major tribes of this area are Gond, abhuj Maria, bhatra-bhatra . These tribes have a distinctive culture and traditions bastar dusshera is one part of it ,they have their own dialect and unique customs for which they are world renowned . Still many of tribes prefer to live in forest as they don’t like mixing up with common people and enjoy their own private lifestyles.
Bastar dushhera is a distinctive festival of Chhattisgarh which lasts after 75 days of celebration. It is also world’s longest festival celebrated for 75 days. It is far different from the dusshera celebrated in whole India which depicts the anecdote of lord Rama victory over Ravana , which is widely celebrated for victory of good over evil. On the other hand bastar dusherra has no connection with the victory of lord rama , in bastar the festival of dusshera presage to the supreme power of goddess danteshwari who is the clan goddess of kaktiya rulers of bastar and chief goddess of their region. The whole festivities are organized in danteshwari temple of jagdalpur which is celebrated with verve and zest in whole region.
It is believed that bastar dusshera was initiated by bastar king Purushottam dev in 15th century who was great devotee of lord vishnu . It is said that king Purushottam dev went to Jagannath Puri temple for worship and came back as ‘Rath-pati’ with a divine permission to mount on chariot. Since then, Dussehra is being celebrated by people of Bastar in this unique way.
This festival involves different tribes of the district and each ritual is divided among them. Before the bastar dusshera every tribe is formally invited with their deities to attend and actively participate in the rituals. Goddess danteshwari along with her sister maoli with other deities are worshipped.The current maharaj of bastar HH Kamal Chand bhanj deo leads the ceremonies and heads the rituals as head of the community and priest.
Bastar dusshera begins with dark moon of sharvan nearly end of july which includes 12 main events. Bastar Dussehra initiate with ‘pata jatra’, which is worship of wood. Then Worshiping of wood is followed by ‘deri gadhai’- posting of the pillars, kachan gaadi- throne for goddess Kachan Devi, kalash sthapana- installation of urns, jogi bithai- jogi’s penance, rath parikrama- the chariot circuit, nisha jatra- the nocturnal festival, jogi uthai- raising of the jogi, maoli parghav- reception of Devi Maoli, bheetar raini- the inner circuit, baahar raini- the outer circuit, kachan jatra- thanksgiving ceremony, muria durbar- the tribal chieftains' conference and finally on the last day, ohadi- a farewell to deities. All these rituals and festivities take place between Hareli Amavasya till the 13th day of full moon of Aswin, bringing more joy in the tribal land, known for its rich culture.
During this festival bastar attract large number of tourists who comes to enjoy the unique traditions of this region. Every year it includes number of foreign tourists who are mesmerized with our age old cultures and traditions.