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The Making & selling of Ravana in Ravana Mandi

Jaipur celebrates all festival with vigor and fanfare including Dushera or Vijayadashami. Dussera is an Indian festivals celebrated at the start of festive season before Diwali. It is also known as Vijayadashami since it falls on tenth day of Ashwin, a month in Hindu calendar. This festival is associated with the winning of good over evil and is celebrated with the burning of an effigy of Ravana which has fireworks. In India, the most famed Dussera celebrations is at Mysore called Mysore Dassara. Dussera celebrations in Jaipur is also famed and popular.

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Who was Ravana?

Ravana/ Rawan/ रावण was prime antagonist in Hindu mythological story of Ramayana. Ravana is considered as an able king from Sri Lanka and had ten heads. He abducted wife of Rama, chief protagonist of Ramayana. As per Hindu mythology, Ravana is associated with evil and Rama with the truth.

Also Read: Will Diwali shine on people this year?

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For years, people in Jaipur would congregate at community grounds where a huge effigy of Ravana would be alighted to mark the end of evil – killing of Ravana. Over the years, a new trend has emerged. Now people buy effigy of Ravana to burn it themselves. This has opened up a huge market to sell Ravana effigy. Jaipur has many such places where vendors, usually the makers themselves sell effigy to people. Such places are called Ravana Mandi.

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Road lined with Ravana for sale in Ravana Mandi, Jaipur

 

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Ravana also called Dashanand because of ten heads

Mandi means market in Hindi. The largest Ravana Mandi in Jaipur is at Mansarover. The road side is lined with hundreds and thousands of Ravana effigies.

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Ravanas for sale!

I recently visited a Ravana Mandi in Jaipur to get a first hand experience. Newspapers reported a big fall in making & selling of Ravana effigies this year due to downturn in economy. The sellers attribute it to the Demonetization in 2016 and recent introduction of GST which led to increased input costs.

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Unfinished & unsold Ravanas at Ravan Mandi, jaipur

Vendors I spoke to said that they start making effigies a month before Vijadashmi. Most of them are from nearby state Gujarat and sell bedsheets and cloths to earn their living.

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Creators making a Ravana

Ravana effigies start at Rs 400 ( US$6 at current exchange level) for a small one &  going all the way to hundred thousand Rupees for 20-30 feet one. Usually, people buy it because kids are excited to burn an effigy. Some buy a big one to celebrate Vijaydashmi in their community or society.

Also read:What makes Jaipur one of the best place to celebrate Diwali in India?

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A Ravana being given finishing touches by pasting butter paper

 

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Pasting paper on a Ravana/ Ravana Mandi, Jaipur

 

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Artist giving a finishing touches to the Ravana effigy in Ravana Mandi Jaipur

 

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Sold! At Ravana Mandi Jaipur
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Work in progress! Ravana Mandi, Jaipur

 

Also Read: Will Diwali shine on people this year?

On the positive side it provides an earning opportunity to poor people. But my concern is the pollution burning of Ravana effigies creates. Also, how long will we continue to do things as a symbol? Why can’t we burn the evil in us – humans?

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Ravana, with his brother – Kumbhkaran and Meghnad

My thoughts? I think humans have a duality. We must accept that we have an evil side too. Probably, we will never be able to eradicate it. Our best efforts will mitigate some of it. Then why create a false show of burning Ravana effigy?

Do let me know your thoughts about Ravana Mandi in Jaipur!

Also read:What makes Jaipur one of the best place to celebrate Diwali in India? 

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Ravanas for sale in Ravana Mandi, Jaipur

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93 thoughts on “The Making & selling of Ravana in Ravana Mandi

  1. This is such a colourful festival and one that is obviously very popular with people. I’d never heard of it, so thank you for sharing.
    The production of effigies looks like ‘big business’ in some areas and people evidently love the idea of burning evil. The event (like Guy Fawkes Night in the UK) has its meaning in stories from the past, and people love to keep them alive, whether they are based on historical or religious events or myths. Like Guy Fawkes Night, this event raises environmental and safety concerns – and it may well lose interest over the years – but as you say, it also has the positive effect of providing employment to people. Great photos, Arv.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Millie, I think we have two sides to …everything! But I’m sure if we want… some compromise can be reached! Dussera is celebrated just a few days before Diwali. I’m guessing you have heard about Diwali festival! Have you, Millie?

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      1. We all are learning… everyday, Rekha. I was also unaware about these places in my city. Will share link of doodh mandi for you to check out.

        Like

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