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Largest Dusherra Festival outside India returns to Calton Hill Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s Dusherra Festival returns to Calton Hill on Sunday 29 October, with a packed programme of events.

Largest Dusherra Festival outside India returns to Calton Hill Edinburgh

Article Source: Dusherra
Last Updated: 19 October 2023 13:04

Edinburgh’s Dusherra Festival returns to Calton Hill on Sunday 29 October, with a packed programme of traditional and contemporary musical and dance performances, fireworks and the triumphant burning of three huge effigies. The impressive effigies, which this year are being crafted and created by offenders in HMP Edinburgh, represent the triumph of Lord Rama over the 10-headed demon King Ravana. Edinburgh’s Dusherra (or Duss-ehhh-ra as it is pronounced across India), is the flagship event of the Scottish Indian Arts Forum (SIAF) and is free to access and open to all.

The Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, Robert Aldridge said: “Dusherra is a colourful, celebratory, and fun staple of Edinburgh’s civic calendar and I’m delighted that it’s returning for 2023. This ancient Indian festival celebrates Lord Rama’s victory over the ten-headed demon king Ravana and gives the Hindu community and other faith groups the chance to gather and give thanks. Last year’s programme featured a programme of Scottish and Indian music and dance. I’m very much looking forward to this year’s edition and I’m sure it’ll be a great success.”

Consul General of India, Mr. Bijay Selvaraj said: “Dusherra is a festival which brings the community together and I am delighted that communities across Edinburgh and the Lothians come to celebrate this together making it a rich history as part of the Edinburgh cultural map. I congratulate SIAF."

Fiona Cruickshanks, Governor of HMP Edinburgh, said: “We were delighted to be able to support Edinburgh’s Indian community by building these effigies for the upcoming Dusherra Festival organised by Scottish Indian Arts Forum. This has not only given those in our care an opportunity to enhance their skills and create something so spectacular, but also enhance our relationship with an important community within the city.”

Nirav Mehta, Vice President of SIAF, said: “Edinburgh Dusherra is the largest and only celebration of its kind outside India. We look forward to welcoming people from across Scotland for Dusherra celebrations. Join us on this auspicious occasion and help us spread awareness of Indian heritage and reiterate the universal message of victory of virtue over vice. This year we will showcase performances from over 125 artists ranging from amateurs to professionals, across all age groups, in a 5-hour extravaganza. This includes the dance drama storytelling of Ramlila and a spectacular fireworks finale. Audiences can experience a wide choice of Indian food from local vendors stalls.
“To make the audience experience more comfortable, shuttle services are provided to everyone from the bottom of Calton Hill, up to the main marquee.”


This year’s free cultural programme, which features a mix of Scottish and Indian music and dance including performances from Edinburgh Bhangra Crew, Junoon, Bharti Ashram, Cosmic Dance, Theiya Arts Bollyfeat and the Bengali group Ram Lila, starts at 2.30 pm on Sunday 29 October on Calton Hill. The even culminates at 8.00pm with a firework display and the symbolic setting ablaze of three effigies of Ravana, Meghnada (Ravana’s son) and Kumbhkarana (Ravana’s brother) to celebrate the triumph of good over evil. The event anticipates an audience of over 3000.

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

Image: Effigies created and crafted by offenders in HMP Edinburgh are ready and waiting to be installed on Calton Hill for Edinburgh’s Dusherra celebrations next weekend.

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