Millions of Indians mark the festival of Dusshera festival as the symbol of victory of good over evil and celebrate by burning the ‘demon king’ Ravana’s effigy. Dusshera is regarded as the day when Lord Ram defeated Ravana and rescued his abducted wife, Sita.
Apart from Ravana, the gigantic effigies of his brother Kumbhakarna and son Meghnath are also burnt.
However some people in some parts of the country will instead be thronging to temples dedicated to the king in order to pay their tributes. These worshipers believe Ravana to be a learned scholar and a devotee of Shiva.
Ravana is also worshipped in parts of countries like Sri Lanka and Bali (Indonesia).
Here are five temples dedicated to Ravana where his worshipers gather to worship him:
1: Ravana Mandir, Bisrakh, (Greater Noida, UP)
Bisrakh is believed to be the birthplace of Ravana and a temple is dedicated to the Lankan King there. This temple is one of the most well known and most famous Ravana temples in India.
Ravana is worshipped as God in this region and Dusshera is not celebrated here by burning Ravana effigies. There are many havans held during Navratri to pay respects and homage to Ravana.
The temple contains a 42 feet Shiva Linga and a 5.5 feet statue of Ravana.
2: Dashanan Temple, Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh)
The 125-year-old Dashanan Mandir in Shivala area of Kanpur was reportedly constructed in 1890 and temple opens its door for devotees annually only on Dussehra.
On the occasion of Dussehra, the idol of ‘Dashanan’ (Ravana – or the one with ten heads) is decorated following ‘aarti’ by the devotees.
Ravana is worshipped as a God in the temple and not like a demon that he is believed to be.
3: Kakinada Ravana temple, Andhra Pradesh
The Ravana temple in Kakinada region of Andhra Pradesh is built on a site believed to have been chosen by Ravana himself.
The sight has a gigantic Shivling mural, evidence of Ravana’s admiration for Lord Shiva.
The magnificent and beautiful Kakinada temple is the only place in Andhra Pradesh where Ravana is worshipped.
4: Ravangram Ravana Temple, Vidisha (Madhya Pradesh)
Vidisha is one of the most famous Ravana temples. There is even a village in Vidisha named Ravangram after king Ravana!
Vidisha has a number of Ravana worshipers who visit the temple to worship him. The temple has a 10-foot-long statue of the Lankan King.
Recently, Ravana worshiping has taken grand shape during Dussehra.
5: Mandsaur (Madhya Pradesh)
Another of Ravana’s temples in Madhya Pradesh, this temple is said to be important as Ravana and Mandodari are said to have wedded 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 are found next to the deities, indicating that the temple is extremely old.