New Delhi, Oct 17: Towering effigies of demon King Ravana, his son Meghnad and brother Kumbhakaran blazed and crackled in fiery splendour as Dussehra, symbolising the triumph of good over evil, was celebrated across the country with fanfare and traditional fervour.
Amid beating of drums, devotees, dancing frenziedly, also bid farewell to Goddess Durga as she returned to her celestial abode.
As the skies darkened, the fire crackers-stuffed effigies, dotting grounds and open spaces in villages and towns, went up in flames amid defeaning sound.
Fire crackers lit up the skies and crowds burst into cheers as the effigies went up in flames on 'Vijayadashmi', marking the slaying of demon king Ravana by Lord Rama.
Dussehra, which also marks the end of scorching summer and heralding of winter, is preceded by nine auspicious days of Navaratri during which devotees pray, fast and feast.
Ramlilas, vivid enactments from the life of Lord Rama, were staged in large parts of the country during the nine days preceding the festival.
In the national capital, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi were among a large number of dignitaries who watched the evil going up in smoke at the Ramlila Maidan.
Hundreds of idols of Goddess Durga, which had adorned the marquees, were immersed in holy rivers by devotees marking the culmination of the festivities.
A number of fairs were also held on the occasion of Dussehra which also symbolises the triumph of warrior Goddess Durga over buffalo demon Mahishasura. PTI