The depiction of the life of Lord Rama in a dramatic representation is a part of Hindu culture. It is called Ram Leela. It depicts the events of life if the Lord. The epic starts with the Young Rama and climaxes with the battle between Ram and Ravan in which the victory of good over evil is personified. Ram wins over Ravan. It is a festival of 10 days and Ram Leela is an old traditional practice which happens on stage for 10 successive nights. On the 10 th day, a big fair is held and the event is called Dussehra. The burning of the effigies of Ravan, Kumbhkaran, and Mehgnath happens in the event.
Ramnagar Ram Leela in Varanasi is very popular. The striking feature of the event is that the characters are geared in the costumes of the characters and they wear masks to perform for 31 days from place to place.
The fair was started by KashiNaresh Maharaja Udit Narayan Singh in 1830. It became popular in Ramnagar and Varanasi quickly. Devotees came to the area to see the fair and Ram Leela. The beautiful display of sets where the performances take place is simply awesome and the devotees are also awe-struck to witness the gigantic show. The entire city looks like a film set during this time of the year and there are several visitors. The diverse scenes of Ashok Vatika, Panchvati, Janakpuri, Lanka, etc. are depicted in the sets. The characters of the epic are also enacted by real life people. Priests are also present to narrate the stories of Ramacharitmanasa.
After the closing of each episode, Aarti is done as a ritual on daily basis. The audience also participates and sings the glory of the Lord. An attractive Jhanki is also presented in front of Ramnagar Fort. The last days grabs the attention of the audience as they want to see the way in which Ravana gets defeated by Lord Rama which strongly symbolizes the victory of good or evil.
In Ramnagar, the Ram Leela is held for 1 month and huge fair is at the ground. For celebrating Vijaydashami, the ground gets flooded with devotees from across the place and tourists. The audience present there enjoys the victory of good over evil, especially when the effigies are burnt. Crackers and other fireworks are used to mark their happiness.
The festival in Ramnagar is as old as 250 years but the traditions and glory are intact. Though technology has set in and the sets have become modernized with excellent lighting skills; yet the traditions and rituals are still followed with same fervor. The tourists who visit the place during this time of the year are very impressed with the cultural extravaganza witnessed by them. Stalls are also installed with various items and the audience can easily indulge in merry making, eating, and shopping. It is one of the most important festivals in the related area and Ramnagar takes pride to be associated with it.