Jagadalpur, Chhattisgarh, Oct 9: Deviating from the traditional nine-day celebrations, the tribals of Chhattisgarh's Bastar region observe Dussehra for a long 75 days in their own age-old tribal custom.
The other interesting aspect of this unique tradition is that Ravana, normally considered as the symbol of evil, placed in the same category of Lord Rama and other deities and the tribals offered 'pooja' to Ravana a like other deities.
The 'tribal Dussehra', which begins 70 days ahead of the traditional one, reached its peak on Dussehra day and the celebrations culminates after three days with the customs of immersion of all the deities including Ravana.
This unusual and unique festival are attended by the experts of tribal culture from the overseas also. The politicians cutting across the party lines are also seen taking part in the festival.
According to the experts, who are acquainted with the cultural activities of the tribals in Bastar region, the festival began during the provincial regime and the same tradition is being followed under the supervision of the district administration.
The another attraction of this 'tribal Dusshra', is a double- decked Rath (Chariot) with eight wheels and weighing about 30 tonnes. It took two-weeks of hard work of 170 villagers from adjoining Umargaon and Kamarumargaon to make this unique Rath.
The villagers do not take help of any machine but the traditional tools to make this holy chariot. Those who get opportunity to drag this giant Rath during Dusshera, they feel a privilege to do so.
The Chhattisgarh State Tourism Department also contributes by lighting 10,000 'Deepak' (clay lamps) to decorate the welcome path of the Rath.
A member of the then princely state also took part this year In 'Parikrama' of Rath on October 6 and 7.
Except a few abberation, there is no tradition in Bastar region to follow the custom of burning the effigy of Ravana.