Dusherra Edinburgh: Burning effigies and fireworks to light up Calton Hill at colourful annual celebration

Dusherra will take place on Edinburgh's Calton Hill this weekend, with a fun-packed programme of musical and dance performances, fireworks and the triumphant burning of three huge effigies.

Dusherra (or Duss-ehhh-ra as it is pronounced) is one of the largest festivals in India. Traditionally held on the night of the full moon, it commemorates the victory of good over evil following a 10-day war between the gods and demons thousands of years ago.

Edinburgh Dusherra is the flagship event of the Scottish Indian Arts Forum (SIAF) and will see hundreds flock to Calton Hill on Sunday (October 9) for this colourful annual celebration.

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Edinburgh’s Lord Provost, Robert Aldridge, said: “Dusherra remains a key event in Edinburgh’s civic calendar and provides an opportunity for Hindus, and all other faiths, and communities, to come together to celebrate Lord Rama’s victory over the ten-headed demon king Ravana.

Dusherra, the flagship event organised by Scottish Indian Arts Forum, will take place this Sunday on Edinburgh's Calton Hill.

“There is a fantastic programme this year with free activities for all the family, and I’m very much looking forward to its return.”

Nirav Mehta, vice president of SIAF, said: “Edinburgh Dusherra will showcase the performances of more than 125 artists ranging from amateurs to professionals in a five-hour extravaganza – including the dance drama of Ramlila and a spectacular finale fireworks.

“There will be different marquees for dance and music, a separate area dedicated for kids’ activities and stalls providing delicious Indian food.”

This year’s free cultural programme features a mix of Scottish and Indian music and dance – including performances from Edinburgh Bhangra Crew, Bharti Ashram, Junoon and the Bengali group Ram Lila.

The festivities include free activities for children and all the family and culminate at 8pm with a firework display and the symbolic setting ablaze of three effigies of Ravana, Meghnada (Ravana’s son) and Kumbhkarana (Ravana’s brother).

The impressive effigies have been crafted and created by the volunteers The Shed in Muirhouse.

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Rik Hodgson, manager at The Shed, said: “It has been a pleasure to work with some of our volunteers on the Dusherra Effigies, and we are looking forward to seeing them ablaze on top of Calton Hill on Sunday.”

Entry to Calton Hill is free of charge and the event is open to everybody.

Dusherra coincides with the culmination of the nine-day Navratri festival and with the tenth day of the Durga Puja festival.

It marks the beginning of preparation for Diwali which this year will take place in Edinburgh on Sunday, November 6.

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Dussehra Festival effigies light up Calton Hill