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Uttar Pradesh: This Kanpur temple worships Ravana on Vijayadashmi

Kanpur: A mannequin of Dashanan (A man with ten heads, an alias for Ravana) is set on fire as a symbol of victory of good over evil on Dusshera across the country. However, to your knowledge, there is a temple in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh that does the exact opposite. It worships the demon king Ravana, a powerful and strong character from Hindu mythology that was killed by lord Rama on Dusshera also known as Vijayadashmi.

On the very day of Dusshera, the Dashanan temple located in Shivala area of Kanpur worships Ravana as a symbol of power with a complete set of rituals that also includes lighting candles along with reciting prayers. On the day of Dusshera, number of devotees visit the temple to make their wishes.

According to a hindi newspaper quoting KK Tiwari, care taker of the Dashanan Mandir, it said, this temple which was established in 1868, only opens during Dussehra every year for the devotees and they visit in huge numbers on this day.

He said that the motive behind the construction of temple was that the Ravan was the learned pandit and devotee of Lord Shiva.

Tiwari told that the Kailash temple compound in the very area has as many as 23 incarnations of goddess Durga and the temple of Ravana is very adjacent to that.

On the occasion of Dusshera, the idol of Ravana, claimed to be the only one idol in the entire country, is decorated and after purification, an aarti is performed by the devotees.

The temple was built by Maharaj Guru Prasad Shukl of Unnav district about 147 years ago. Devotees here light earthen lamps for the prosperity and safety of their family. Just before the burning of Ravan effigy, the temple doors are closed again till the next year.

Hindu mythology portrays Ravana in different shades; one of which is that Dashanan who was a true disciple of lord Shiva, was the biggest scholar of the time too. It is said that Ravana was first to know that to appease lord Shiva, he must worship goddess Durga. Ravana was, therefore, established here as a keeper to all incarnations of goddess Durga.

The Ravana was born on Dashawin (10th day) and died on the very day too.

Except Kanpur, Ravana is being worshipped in India at :

- Ravan Mandir in Jodhpur, Rajasthan: Mudgal & Dave Brahmins in Mandore claim to be descendants of Ravan. It is also believed to be native place of Ravan's wife Mandodari. The demon king Ravana is treated as son-in-law among many Brahmins

- Ravangram in Madhya Pradesh: An ancient 10-feet idol of Ravan in reclining position was found here which is worshipped by locals religiously.

- Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh: A 30-feet high Ravan statue was placed on the Kakinada Beach Road. Locals believe that Ravan placed a giant Shivalinga now situated near the statue. Regular 'abhishek' is performed on this statue and the Shivalinga.

- Bisrakh in Noida, Uttar Pradesh: Bisrakh is said to be the birthplace of Ravan. Legend says Ravan spent his childhood in this village which was founded by sage Vishrava. Locals treat Ravan as a son and well-wisher. They have started construction of a temple that would have a 42- feet Shivalinga and a 5.5- feet statue of Ravan.

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