It is that time of year again, when the victory of good over evil is celebrated with religious fanfare. The festival of Dusshera is marked by the burning of effigies of Ravana, who is depicted as a 10-headed demon king in the Hindu epic Ramayana. As the epic goes, Ravana abducted Lord Ram’s wife Sita, and the festival is a celebration of Ram’s defeat of Ravana.
Ravana happens to be a source of livelihood for several craftsmen who make his effigies in Delhi. Most of Ravan’s effigies that go up in smoke every Dusshera are made in the western part of the city. Titarpur Tagore Garden and Beriwala Bagh in Subhash Nagar – both in West Delhi – are well known markets where Ravan’s effigies can be bought. Customers from across Delhi-NCR and sometimes even from states like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh flock to the area to purchase the effigies of the demon king.
The work on the effigies – made from bamboo, iron mesh and paper – begins months in advance. They come in varying sizes and shapes, depending on the orders placed by customers.