Vijayadashami, also known as Dussehra or Mohani Nakha is a festival celebrated across India. It is celebrated on the tenth day of the bright half of the Hindu month of Ashwayuja or Ashwina, and is the grand culmination of the 10-day annual festival of Dasara or Navaratri. The legend underlying the celebration, as also its mode of conduct, vary vastly by region; however, all festivities celebrate the victory of the forces of Good over Evil. It is also considered to be an auspicious day to begin new things in life. It is the largest festival of Nepal and celebrated by Hindu and non-Hindu as well.
In Northern India, the festival commemorates the victory of Rama, prince of Ayodhya and avatara of Vishnu, over Ravana, the ruler of Lanka who had abducted Rama's wife, Sita Devi. The festival is celebrated with much gusto. Crackers are burnt, and huge melas or fetes are organised. The Ramlila - an abriged dramatization of the Ramayana - is enacted with much public fervour all over northern India during the period of the festivities. The burning of the effigies of Ravana on Vijayadashami, signifying the victory of good over evil, brings the festivities to a colourful close. In some regions, Sikhs and Hindus celebrate Vijayadashmami together.
The legend associated with the Shami tree finds commemoration during the renowned Navaratri celebrations at Mysore, which otherwise strongly emphasizes the Durga legend described above, as may by expected in the city built at the very site of the events of the Durga legend. On Vijaydashami day, at the culmination of a colourful 10-day celebration, the goddess Chamundeshwari is worshipped and then borne in a Golden Ambari or elephant-mounted throne, in a grand procession, through the city of Mysore, from the historical Mysore Palace to the Banni Mantapa. Banni is the Kannada word for the Sanskrit Shami, and Mantapa means "Pavilion".
The festival is celebrated with much fervour and splendour in Southern India.