Chitrakoot Fairs and Festivals
Fairs and festivals are often linked
with agriculture in India. Since they may coincide with the planting
and harvesting of crops, festivals provide an excellent opportunity to
blend the social with the religious.
¤ National Ramayana Fair
Linked with the legends of Lord Rama, Chitrakoot obviously plays an
important role in festivals related to Rama, such as Dussehra, Ram
Navami and Diwali. At the end of February or in early March, the
exclusive National Ramayana Fair is held in Chitrakoot.
This fair is especially popular because the entire Ramayana, a vast
poem with over 24,000 couplets, is recited here. Originally written in
Sanskrit, the Ramayana has been translated into various languages.
When Sage Valmiki wrote the Ramayana, circa 4th century
b.c., the epic was essentially meant to be secular. However, the
Ramayana gradually evolved into a scripture by the time it was
It is believed that additions were made to the Ramayana till the 4th
¤ Diwali Festival
Diwali, the festival of lights, celebrates Ramas return after a
14-year long exile. This is celebrated with much zeal and fervour in
the month of October or in early November.
In ancient times, local rulers celebrated Diwali with great fanfare,
and over 45,000 people attended the celebrations. In modern times,
Diwali, seems to have lost its former glory, and is restricted mainly
to festivities at local temples and lighting traditional diyas
(earthen oil lamps) and candles at home.
Legend has it that when Rama returned to Ayodhya, the city was lit up
by thousands of diyas to welcome him. Diyas are still lit in homes
during Diwali. Fireworks lend a spectacular dimension to this
¤ Navaratri Festival
The festival of Navaratri, preceding Dussehra is dedicated to Goddess
Durga who is worshipped for Power and Prowess. Observed in the month
of March, Navaratri is a nine-day affair celebrated with great
devotion and piety. On the 10th day of the Navratri, people celebrate
Dussehra (seeFestivals of India), the festival that marks the triumph
of Good over Evil, with Rama slaying the demon Ravana, and rescuing
¤ Dussehra Festival
Chitrakoot, like most of India, observes Dussehra by burning Ravanas
effigy alongside those of his brother Kumbhakarana, and son Meghnad,
at dusk. This is preceded by ritual offerings in temples. Rama Lila, a
dramatic enactment of episodes from the Ramayana, also forms an
integral part of the Dussehra celebrations.
Ramanavami is another important festival in Chitrakoot that
celebrates the birth of Rama. Bathing in the cool waters of the rivers
Payaswini and Mandakini marks the beginning of the day, and the town
resonates with sounds of temple bells tolling. Important festivals
always go hand in hand with fairs, and folks enjoy the annual fair
organised on the eve of Ramnavami.