Amid Dussehra fervour in the country, hundreds of people thronged a tiny, 140-year-old temple in Kanpur this morning. Dedicated to Ravana, the Dashanan temple opens to worshippers once every year on the occasion of Dussehra.
“Ravana was an ardent follower of Lord Shiva. Thus, the temple is built adjacent to Lord Shiva’s temple in Shivala area of the city,” said temple organiser KK Tiwari. The name Dashanan refers to Ravana’s 10 heads.
Every year, the statue of Ravana is first washed with milk and garlanded before the ‘aarti’ that is attended by hundreds of devotees. That number goes upto thousands by the time the doors of the temple are shut in the evening, just ahead of the burning of Ravana’s effigies as part of the traditional Dussehra celebrations.
According to Hindu mythology, the festival signifies the triumph of good over evil when Ravana, the demon king was killed by Lord Rama.
Thousands converge in Kanpur for the annual ritual at the Dashanan temple, said Mr Tiwari, adding that there are only two such temples in northern India – one near Varanasi in the state and the other in Vidisha in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh.
While the rest of the country celebrates Ravana’s death as a victory of good over evil, devotees at this temple celebrate his life – as a philosopher, scholar and follower of Lord Shiva – year after year.