Due to COVID pandemic Dussehra in Jammu is without Ravan this year. We all know of Ravan or Ravana as the main villain from the ancient Indian epic, Ramayana, whose eventful death at the hands of Lord Rama of
Ayodhya, is celebrated nationwide till date as a symbol of truth’s triumph over evil. So, while the world sees Ravana, the King of Lanka, as a dark figure, there are a few societies still existing in India that acknowledge and worship him as a deity.
If legends are to be believed, Ravana was known as an outstanding scholar, a pro in fine arts, an expert astrologer and warrior, and even a man of great penances. Given his accomplishments, Ravana had earned a name for himself among a select- ed class of devotees in India. Quite naturally, as with the nature of devotees, there are a few temples located across India, which were built in honour of the Lankan king. So, if you wish to take an unbiased look at the character of Ravana or simply want to witness how a Ravana temple in India would look like, here is a dedicated compilation for you.
Baijanath, Himachal Pradesh
Baijanath temple in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh is not a Ravana temple per se, rather a jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva. There are a few legends associated with Ravana and this site. Some legends believe that Ravana worshipped Shiva at this spot for a long time and, hence, a temple came up on the same place to mark the his- torical event. While another legend has it that once Ravana was on his way to Lanka from Baijanath with a rare Shivalinga in his hands. But, he was tricked by the gods to put down the Shivalinga on the ground at this very site. As a result, the Shivalinga got permanently installed even though Ravana tried hard to remove it. Baijanath is full of temples and even other touristy sites. The views of Dhauladhar mountain range infuse new life into the soul.
Bisrakh, Uttar Pradesh
This is one of the most famous and well-known Ravana temples. Ravana is wor- shipped as God in this region and Dusshera is not celebrated here by burning Ravana effigies. Bisrakh is special as it is Ravana’s birthplace and many elders still visit the place to mourn the once-great king. Navratri is the festival mourning in this township. There are many havans held during Navratri to pay respects and homage to Ravana.
Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh
Though not very well-known, the Ravana temple in Kakinada region of Andhra
Pradesh is built on a site believed to have been chosen by Ravana himself. Ravana
chose the spot to create a temple of Lord Shiva, whom Ravana believed in. It is believed that Ravana built the temple around the statue of Shiva. The temple is located close to the beach and is quite a picturesque temple. It is magnificent and beautiful! Kakuinada is the only place in Andhra where Ravana is worshipped.
Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh
This temple of Ravana is opened just once a year on Dussehra Day and rituals are carried out. The temple was constructed by Shiv Shankar, a devotee of Lord Shiva and the believer in the power of Ravana. Ravana is worshipped as a God in the tem- ple and not like a demon that he is believed to be. The temple celebrates his knowl- edge, his brilliance and his benevolence as a king – attributes of Ravana’s that lie forgotten in today’s world.
Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh
Vidisha is one of the most famous Ravana temples. There is even a village in Vidisha named Ravangram after king Ravana! During any auspicious function or on any important day, it is the Indian tradition to visit temples and seek blessings. The people of Vidisha visit Ravana’s temples on wedding days and other important occa- sions. It is only recently that Ravana worship commenced on Dussehra in a big way
Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh
Another of Ravana’s temples in Madhya Pradesh, this one is said to be important as Ravana and Mandodari are said to have wed here.
The temple is an elaborate structure. Along with Ravana, there are also other female deities who are present inside the temple and are worshipped. Texts in the script from Harappan civilisation is found next to the deities indicating that the tem- ple is extremely old.
Well, not exactly a temple temple but the Dave brahmins of Mandor are believed to be direct descendants of Ravana. As descendants of Ravana, they do not celebrate Dussehra as on that day Rama killed and vanquished Ravana. Instead, they perform shraddh and offer pind daan on Dueeshra. They perform all the rituals of shraddh that a son performs for his father/ancestors and pray for the liberation of his soul. A Ravana temple has been set up in Jodhpur India where daily, the king is prayed and worshipped.
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