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Come October and the festival season begins. Every year Dussera / Navaratri brings in a lot of excitement for us with its own customs and traditions.We look forward to celebrating it as a family creating an ambience of happiness around. Navratri, one of the popular Indian festivals is a celebration of the victory of good over the evil. During Dussera , Hindus observe a 10-day ceremony of fast, celebrations and rituals to honour the victory of Lord Rama over the evil Ravana. Dussera also symbolizes the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon, Mahishasura.
From North to South, East to West India, the festival of Navaratri brings in the grandeur, the rituals, vibrant colours, cheerfulness. Each region celebrates this festival in a unique way. Here I have listed the five best places to visit this Navaratri … it’s time to plan a surprise vacation with your family/friends to one of these locations and enjoy the festival season with great zeal …And yes as we travel to these city’s in a train, we can explore various local cuisines. Through food delivery in train  apps like Railrestro , one can enjoy all the authentic local flavours of different states right in the train sitting in our seat as we pass by.
1. Mysore Dussera , Karnataka –

mysore palace

Mysore is the Royal city…the Heritage city of Karnataka. Being a Kannadiga, I would definitely place the world famous Mysore Dussera at No. 1. The festival is called Dussera or Nadahabba. It’s a ten-day most extravagant festival in which the entire city gets lighted up and gets alive. The festivities take place mainly at the Mysore Palace, which is the official residence of the royal family of Mysore – the Wodeyar family. Many cultural and religious programmes are held each day in various places across the city. One can also find colourful ” Gombe mane / Gollu ” arranged at various houses..the array of colourful theme based traditional dolls on display would be just mind-blowing. Don’t miss it!

On the final day of the celebration, ie Vijayadashami, a splendid procession called the Jumboo Savari is held on the streets. The idol of the Goddess Chamundeshwari is carried around in a golden mantapa on the back of an elephant. In the evening one must not miss torchlight parade at the Banni Mantap ground executed by hundreds of Karnataka State Police. All in all … one must not miss this iconic Royal Mysore Nadahabba …

2. Durga Pooja, West Bengal –

Durga Puja / Pujo is a bundle of memories and joy for any Bengali. It is the most awaited and celebrated festival of West Bengal. The preparation for celebration starts months in advance with skilful artisans preparing the idol of Durga, planning of colourful unique pandals, clothes shopping etc. Themed pandals, unique idols, crowded streets and appetizing delicacies.. definitely make Durga Pujo in Kolkata an unforgettable carnival. Pandal hopping is an integral part of Puja Memories. Each ritual in Durga Puja is unique. All in all … one must not definitely visit “City of Joy ” during Pujo …and get soaked with festival vibes … With prayers, lights, colours, dance, music, food and devotion, the nine-day festival gives a great chance to experience the rich Bengali culture. And yes while travelling, don’t forget to explore the Poojo special dishes via Railrestro, order food online in train

3. Garbha and Dandiya, Ahmedabad, Gujarat : 

As said earlier, each region celebrates Navaratri in a different way and in the colourful state of Gujarat, one must not miss the famous Garba and Dandiya celebration during this season. People perform the Garba and dandiya folk dance around the statue of Goddess Shakti. Garba is carried out till late midnight. During this nine-day long festivity, the Ahmedabad city is beautifully decorated with colourful lights.The lavish ambience, impressive music’s, The sounds of dandiya sticks, colourful costume s, happy faces … is a fun to watch and would push anyone to participate in the group. This Navratri Festival it’s time to tap your feet and flaunt some moves of Garba
4. Ram Lila , Varanasi : 

Varanasi is India‘s oldest spiritual city, located along the banks of the famous River Ganges in the state of Uttar Pradesh. During Navaratri, the city looks colorful and gets all geared up for the World’s Oldest, Ramnagar Ki Ramlila .. a 31-day affair. Since the early 1800s the Ram Lila has been performed beside Ramnagar Fort in Varanasi. Ram Lila is actually stage enactment of mythological epic, Ramayana. , believed to have been started by great saint Tulsidas . Though Ram lila happens at various places across North India, it is special in Varanasi due to various reasons. Here it lasts for 31 days instead of 10 days and the celebration still has retained an age-old traditional aura.The non-use of electric lights, traditional costumes, the performance of various scenes of the Ramlila in different parts of Varanasi named after the places in the epic .. makes the presentation very realistic. The artists do not use microphones and there are no loudspeakers in place. This Navaratri one must experience this cultural gem appreciated even by UNESCO.

If you get to stay in one of the hotels in Agra, don’t forget to give a visit at one of the most celebrated famous festival, Taj Mahotsav which is an event held annually, and is arranged in February for ten days. As it is close to the symbol of love Taj Mahal, the venue of the festival is either crafts village or Shilpgram. The reason behind organizing this festival is the promotion of art and craft; if you are someone who admires creative artwork, then check out the craft of this region made meticulously by the craftsmen of the city.

5. Katra, Vaishno Devi : 

Mata Vaishnodevi Temple is located at Katra in Jammu. It is one of the most visited shrines in the country. Navratra is believed to be the best time to visit Vaishno Devi and take Mata’s blessings. Due to this reason Lakhs of pilgrims visit Vaishno Devi during the Navratra’s… With the hill glowing in sparkling lights, with the chants of “Jai Mata Di” filling the air .. Vaishno Devi is a perfect place for a spiritual experience this Navaratri.

Now, what are you waiting for? It’s time to book your tickets, pack your bag , order food in train and get set go to any of these destinations to experience Durga Puja and Navratri at its best

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  • Reply
    October 9, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    It’s a very collection. Will definitely try to cover a few this year. Thnx

  • Reply
    Shruti Bhat
    October 10, 2018 at 6:34 am

    We did the mysore trip during dussehra a few years back. The grand scale of it all had us in awe!

  • Reply
    ruchi kashyap
    October 10, 2018 at 10:05 am

    Interesting collection……. really liked it…………

  • Reply
    Raksha Kamat
    October 10, 2018 at 8:09 pm

    Very good post.. Would love to go to Mysore

  • Reply
    Rachna Parmar
    October 11, 2018 at 9:16 am

    Definitely Gujarat is my favourite but I would like to visit the others as well.

  • Reply
    October 11, 2018 at 10:50 am

    Such a timely post! Visiting Mysore during Dussehra has always been on my bucket list.

  • Reply
    Ritcha Verma
    October 12, 2018 at 10:11 am

    Now you make me feel like travelling again!


  • Reply
    Jayashree Sudhir
    November 24, 2018 at 5:53 am

    Hi, You should have included Mangaluru too as the colourful and grand Dasara celebrations of the Kudroli Shree Gokarnanatha Shrine are also world famous with tourists from all over the world thronging the city to watch the splendid spectacle. Here the beautiful idols of Goddess Sharada, Navadurgis and Lord Ganesha are installed in a wonderfully decorated Temple Hall.

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