New Delhi, Oct 21: Want to see 'Ravan Dahan' of awe- inspiring proportions this Dussehra, head to Dwarka in south Delhi where a 125-ft-high effigy of the mythical demon king is getting readied to go up in flames in a stunning spectacle.
Billed as Delhi's biggest, the effigy is being made by a five-year-old festival society, which also boasted that it is organising the "biggest" Ramleela in the national capital.
"Craftsmen from Moradabad have been called and they are working to put together a mammoth Ravan effigy that people can see from afar. We want to give people a monumental Dussehra, the likes of which they have never seen before," Rajesh Gehlot, president of Dussehra Sri Ramleela Society, told PTI.
The setting for the grand celebrations is a 10-acre plot where -- once the religious and cultural events conclude -- effigies of the mythical king, his brother Kumbhakaran and son Meghnad, would be torched to mark the culmination of the 10- day-long festivities.
Gehlot, a former councillor and MLA from Matiala in Dwarka area and a founding member of the festival society, said that the aim of the organisers this year was to spread the message of peace and harmony on a "monumental scale".
And, monumental it is indeed, as the stage for the Ramleela drama measures 200ft in length and over 80ft in height.
"We have also put up a 2D replica of temples in Ayodhya and Tirupati, and Akshardham Temple in Delhi. We have installed three giant LED screens to lend a 3D-like feel to the stage," Gehlot said, adding that the 'Ravan Dahan' by the society in Sector-10, Dwarka, will take place on Friday.
"The craftsmen from Moradabad are Muslims. Ram's role (in the Ramleela) is being essayed by a TV journalist. The actors were selected from a bunch of over 2,000 candidates who had auditioned for the ramleela show," Gehlot added.
The former MLA said that a two-month-long training workshop was organised for the actors after finalising the selection. According to a senior municipal official, around 200 Ramleela performances are held in Delhi, including the one at Ramlila Grounds near the New Delhi Railway Station.
"Ramlila Grounds has effigies that are over 60-ft high, but ours is more than twice that size," he said.
Gehlot claimed that the festivities at Dwarka attracts the largest crowds in south Delhi and said the society has made every arrangement to accommodate the visitors and their vehicles.
"Besides, the 10-acre main plot, there is a 10-acre plot and a 20-acre plot for parking facilities. Besides, we have about 200 volunteers apart from 50 others from civil defence and security arrangements have also been made," he said.
The Ramleela begins at 8 PM and ends past midnight, he added. In south Delhi, other places which hold Dussehra festivities include Dwarka, Dwarka Sector-11, Naspirpur, Kapashera, Bhumanhera, Najafgarh, among other places.
This year, we have also included Prime Minister's 'Beti Bachchao, Beti Padhao' and 'Swachh Bharat' campaigns in our festivities. "We have also made an 'Appu Ghar' for children and food stalls, too, have been set up," he added.