Thousands expected at annual Hindu festival

Fireworks and the symbolic burning of Effigies were part of the 2015 Dusherra Festival celebrations that took place on Edinburgh's Calton Hill.
Fireworks and the symbolic burning of Effigies were part of the 2015 Dusherra Festival celebrations that took place on Edinburgh's Calton Hill.
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Burning demon effigies will intertwine with dazzling dance, drama and fireworks displays to celebrate the victory of good over evil as Indian festival Dusherra returns to Calton Hill.

For more than two decades thousands of people have gathered to enjoy the medley of Indian and Scottish culture in the free event organised by the Scottish India Arts Forum (SIAF).

The charity, which has been actively promoting Indian arts and culture in Scotland since 1994, returns on Sunday, October 21 with a dramatic re-enactment of the legendary Hindu god Rama’s tussle between good and evil at its heart.

The celebrations will also include flaming 25ft effigies of demons built by volunteer prisoners from Saughton Prison, set alight as part of the fireworks display.

Revellers will be treated to a taste of India with food stalls provided by Drummond Street’s Kama Sutra and Mumbai Street Food, in Leith.

A showcase of performances of more than 100 amateur and professional artists will take part in an intoxicating three hour extravaganza including the dance drama of Ramlila.

As marquees hosting dance and music and a separate area dedicated for kids’ activities.

Dusherra, one of the largest festivals in India commemorates a 10-day war between the gods and demons thousands of years ago. It is celebrated with gusto by communities across the country with music, dance, food and a symbolic burning of effigies.

Supported by the City of Edinburgh Council, the Big Lottery fund, One City Trust and BEMIS, SIAF hope the Edinburgh-based event this year will be the biggest yet.

President of SIAF Rajnish Singh said: “We at SIAF are extremely proud of Dusherra celebration over the years in a format where it is open to all with free entry despite all the challenges.

“We are very grateful for the continued support from our funders for this year as well.

“It is one of the most popular Indian events in the city and we highly appreciate the support of local Indian and Scottish community who participate in the celebration in big numbers.

“The event showcases our engagement with HM Prison’s for last 11 years in the form of effigies being built by the prisoners.

“It is attended by many dignitaries and we are delighted that this year again we will have the presence of Lord Provost Frank Ross, culture and community convener Donald Wilson, Edinburgh North & Leith MP Deidre Brock and Anju Ranjan Consul General of India.

“We at SIAF are very excited with the line-up of artists and programs this year and would take this opportunity to invite all to come and enjoy the Sunday with us at picturesque Calton Hill. We look forward to welcoming you all.”

The Dusherra festivities also aim to help in bring together the different communities within Edinburgh and to play a key part in exposing Indo-Scottish cultural amalgamation.