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Dussehra is never a happy day at Bisrakh village, barely 30 km from Delhi. Villagers here believe this is where Ravana was born. And while 30 kms away effigies of the three brothers are being lit, Bisrakh mourns the death of their “son”. Dussehra is observed as ‘shok divas’ (day of mourning).

“I’ve not seen a single effigy of Ravana being burnt here since I came here after my marriage 25 years ago. It’s considered inauspicious as he was from this village. Villagers mourn his death every Dussehra,” said Suman, a housewife in Bisrakh to Times of India.

The nine days of Navratra ending in Dussehra are observed by the people of the village as a period of mourning when they offer prayers for peace to the soul of Ravana and perform Yagna.

In the village there are many temples. In one temple there is an ancient and one-of-its-kind octagonal Shiva linga, The Swayambhu (self manifest) Shiva linga, which was worshiped by Ravana and his father Vishravas, was unearthed more than 100 years ago says wikipedia. It is octagonal in shape. The linga is visible above the surface for 2.5 feet (0.76 m) height and a further 8 feet (2.4 m) length is said to extend below the ground. The Shiva linga is said to have been placed by Ravana’s father, and boasts the Valmiki Ramayan script embossed across it, said Anil Sharma, the caretaker and deputy priest of the temple to TOI.

According to a local legend, the name of the village is a derivation of Vishravas, father of Ravana, who was a famous sage of the ancient times who lived and worshipped Lord Shiva in this village. Ravana who was born in this village had spent his early childhood here.

It is believed Vishravas, a Brahmin, had wedded Kaikesi, a rakshasa princess; Ravana thus had a mix of Brahmin and rakshasa (demon) blood. Vishravas’s elder son by his first wife was Kuber, now worshipped as a god of wealth, who ruled Lanka until Ravana became the king himself

A new temple dedicated to Ravana is under construction. A life-size idol of Ravana, his family and Lord Shiva have also found a home in the temple.

“We’re making idols of Ravana’s brothers Kubera, Kumbhakarna, his sister Surpanakha and son Meghnad, on the boundary wall of the temple,” said Surender Das, chief mason from Balasore, Odisha.

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Vandana Kumar

Vandana Kumar is a publishing executive with a 35-year track record in the industry. She leads the India Currents Foundation as President and CEO. As a new immigrant, she co-founded India Currents magazine...