While the effigies of Ravan are burnt on the occasion of Dussehra across the country, a small village in Maharashtra's Akola district worships the demon king. According to locals, the tradition of worshipping Ravan for his "intelligence and ascetic qualities" has been going on in Maharashtra’s Sangola village for the past 200 years. A tall black stone statue of the demon king, with 10 heads and 20 arms, stands at the centre of the village where locals revere him.
Talking to PTI on Sunday, local temple priest Haribhau Lakhade said that his family has worshipped Ravan for the past 200 years. Lakhade believes that Ravan is responsible for gracing the village with happiness, peace and contentment since time immemorial. While the villagers believe in Lord Ram, they also have faith in Ravan and don't burn his effigies, a local resident Mukund Pohre said. People from across the country visit the village on Dussehra every year to catch a glimpse of Ravan's statue and some even offer prayers, he added.
This year, the festivities in the village are low-key in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lakhade said.
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine