Dussehra is a Hindu festival, celebrated all over India, but known by different names. The great demon Ravan had abducted Lord Ram's wife Sita to his kingdom of Lanka. To extricate his wife, Rama, along with his brother Lakshman and devoted follower Hanuman and an army of monkeys fought a great battle lasting ten days to rescue his lovely wife Sita. On the day of Dussehra, Lord Rama killed the demon Ravana, and Sita and her husband Ram return to Ayodhya in triumph and glory.

To this day, the whole of Ramayana is staged from simple dramas in the smallest of villages to elaborate productions in large cities. To celebrate triumph of good over evil, huge effigies of Ravana, his giant brother Kumbhkarna and son Meghnad are placed in vast open grounds. Fireworks and crackers are placed inside these and actors dressed as Rama, Sita and Lakshman enact the final moments of the battle, with “Rama” shooting an arrow with a flaming tip at the effigies, and the crowds delight invariably overwhelmed by the noise of the deafening crackers

The festival is also known as Vijayadashmi (“Vijay” = victory and “Dashmi” = tenth day) as there was victory after ten days of battle.

However, people from Bengal celebrate this festival as a part of the Durga Puja festival, where Dussehra day marks the end of the Durga Puja celebration, the first nine being collectively referred to as “Navratri”. The festival is dedicated to Mother Goddess Shakti who incarnated in the form of Goddess Durga, a combined manifestation of the divine energies of the Holy Trinity - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and all other devatas, when they summoned her to kill the mighty demon known as Mahishasur and free the world from his terror. On this day, the idols of Goddess Durga are finally immersed into water after the nine days of festivities. It is said that the people of the earth adopted Durga as their daughter and thus, she visits the home of her parents every year during the last four days of Navratri along with her sons Ganesha and Kartikeya and daughters Lakshmi and Saraswati. She finally leaves for her husband's place on the Dussehra day.

Diwali comes exactly 20 days after Dussehra.