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Dussehra | The Making of Ravana in Ravana Mandi

Jaipur celebrates all festivals with vigor and fanfare including Dusshera or Vijayadashami. Dusshera is an Indian festival celebrated at the start of the festive season before Diwali. It is also known as Vijayadashami since it falls on the tenth day of Ashwin, a month in the Hindu calendar. This festival is associated with the winning of good over evil and is celebrated with the burning of an effigy of Ravana with fireworks. In India, the most famed Dussehra celebrations are at Mysore called Mysore Dassara. Dussera celebration in Jaipur is well-known and many tourists travel during Dussera season to experience the festive spirit in the city.

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Who was Ravana?

Ravana/ Rawan/ रावण was the prime antagonist in the Hindu mythological story of Ramayana. Ravana is considered as an able king from Sri Lanka and had ten heads. He abducted the wife of Rama, the 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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A road lined with Ravana for sale in Ravana Mandi, Jaipur

 

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Ravana also called Dashanand

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

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Ravana’s 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 the downturn in the economy. The sellers attribute it to the Demonetization in 2016 and the 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 Vijayadashami. Most of them are from nearby state Gujarat and sell bed sheets and clothes 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 a hundred thousand Rupees for 20-30 feet one. Usually, people buy Ravana on the insistence of kids who are excited to burn an effigy. Some buy a big one to celebrate Vijaydashmi in their community or society.

Also readWhat 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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An artist giving 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 for poor people. But my concern is the pollution created by burning of Ravana effigies. Also, how long will we continue to do such things? 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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Ravana’s for sale in Ravana Mandi, Jaipur

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106 thoughts on “Dussehra | The Making 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.

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    1. Hi Jonathan. Happy to hear that you found this city interesting. I’m sure you will love visiting and experiencing it in person. How did you discover my blog, Jonathan?

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  2. Great info Arv, never knew still there is an adda for Ravan! 😀 Even though the south burning of Ravan is not a mainstream practice I have seen some here in Mangalore too but during Rama Navami time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have no clue with regards to Ravana burning practice followed in South or Dussehra festival except for the Mysore Dussera. I guess there is a lot of regional difference like how Kartik is worshipped in South contrary to Ganesha in North India.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are right. They are specific to the regions and the ancient history attached to them. Just like the Dasara culture maintained in Karnataka because of the Mysore Wadiyars.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Again an excellent post, Arv. I have never been to such a ‘mandi’ before, it looks interesting. Its seems so funny that on this day of Vijayadasami, Ravana gets so much of importance and his effigies are in high demand – just to be burned.

    I so agree with your thoughts on burning the evil in ourselves. Yes, it is never possible to eradicate every ill aspect of any human but the only thing required is the urge to do it. This desire to ward off the evil within oneself will gradually bring the change. I wish that we all realise the fact and try burning the Ravana in ourselves than the effigy of this imaginary evil king.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sarmistha, sometimes I feel we humans are only interested in showing how concerned we are whereas in reality we want to carry on with things as usual. For example, I often see many clubs organizing car rallies for raising awareness for saving environment. How ironic!
      Burning Ravana does have ill effects on environment but the real issue is we are not understanding the whole idea here. I don’t think human race will ever change unless they have to!
      Just for you information, we burned very few Ravana here in Jaipur because consistent rains for 2-3 days “drowned” the Ravanas and rendered them useless. While it caused financial losses to the artists who make them, but on upside, it helped our enviroment.

      Liked by 1 person

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