Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Ravan Dahan

I have a vague memory of going to public grounds in Ambala, Haryana (that's where we lived when till I was 5) to witness Ravan Dahan on the eve of Dussehra. Mostly celebrated in this fashion in the North, in recent years Ravan Dahan has gained a steady popularity in Maharashtra as well.

I relived these memories on a chance visit to the Nav Maharashtra School Ground, Pimpri, 3 years ago:

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Now it has become an yearly ritual for me and family. The event is sponsored by Amar Moolchandani. Each year there is a bigger stage and a bigger set of random politicians being invited to the event by the sponsors. I think the stage had more than a 100 guests this year. Some snaps and videos:
Meghnath (in blue) & Ravan effigies. Fireworks in the backdrop
Garbha on Stage
The video of the main event (edited using Avidemux). To note: some of the frontbenchers realize that its not as cozy up close as they thought (1:48). In turn a burning Ravana decides to give a real close up view to the crowd as a small part of it files and lands among the frontbenchers (2:25).

Some tips if you are planning to attend:
  1. Ravan Dahan is done at 10 pm (very punctual)
  2. Its a 2-3 hour entertainment program culminating in Ravan Dahan with dance, garbha, fire shows by local & international artists. You can also see fancy fireworks through out the show. If you have time go early - around 7.30 pm. 
  3. There is seating arrangement and if you go early you can find chairs. Even later (we went at 8.30) you can hunt for vacant chairs and take a seat towards the back.
  4. Car parking, esp. if you go late, is a problem. The road going towards Pimple Saudagar is a good place to park your car and also avoid traffic when leaving. 
  5. In case you have reservations about the crowd - it's decent, lot of families, ladies and children.
  6. Wait for 15-20 minutes after the event so that getting out of there is a lot easier
  7. There are barricades to prevent people from going too close when the effigies are burned. However depending on the wind direction standing right up to the barricades is not advisable. Often burning ash floats over to the front of the crowd. Holding the chairs over your head (like an umbrella) can be used for protection :). Nothing serious though.

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