Spectacular Indian Road Trips this Durga Puja and Dussehra

Durga Puja, Dussehra, Navaratri, Golu, Dasara or Dasain, the festival goes by many names. Some honour Goddess Durga’s vanquishing of the demon Mahishasur, some celebrate the end of the 13-year long agyatvas (time spent incognito) by the Pandavas, others mark the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana and his evil brothers. The festival has multiple interpretations and multiple names, but all around India it means the same thing—a time for family and friends to get together, pray, play dress up, eat, and make memories to remember. Here is our guide to celebrating Durga Puja and Dussehra in these fabulous destinations in India.

If you live in the South:

Dussehra in Mysore

Mysore Dussehra, also known as Nada Habba in Mysore, is an ancient event. A quick 2.5 drive from Bangalore, and just under 500kms from Chennai, Mysore is where it all happens during this time of the year. The magnificent victory of Chamundeshwari over Mahishasura is honoured here. The final day is celebrated with a royal procession led by a decked elephant bearing the revered idol. Needless to say, this celebration illuminates the town of royalty, making it appear even more enthralling. If you’re going to Mysore this year, be sure to go in October and attend this event. Hop into one of our chauffeured Savaari Car Rentals for a day trip or plan on an extended stay in the former capital of the state!

Spectacular Indian Road Trips this Durga Puja and Dussehra Mysore palace

There is plenty to see and do! Wrestling matches, the Dasara exhibition, music and dance performances by world renowned artists take place everyday. Also, the Mysore Palace is all lit up with over 1 lakh lights and the grand elephant led procession of Goddess Chamundi on Vijayadashami attracts visitors from the world over. You can book a Savaari Car to go sightseeing to the Lalit Mahal Palace, Chamundi Hill, go bird watching in the beautiful Ranganathittu sanctuary or pay your respects to Lord Vishnu at the Sri Ranganatha temple at Srirangapatnam as well.

Dussehra in Goa

All over India, it is believed that Lord Rama killed Ravana on the day of Dussehra, so his effigy is burnt. In Goa, this festival marks the union of Shiva with Shakti. Parvati, Shiva’s spouse, is worshipped in Goa in the different forms of goddess Durga, known locally as tarangas, including Mauli, Sateri, Shantadurga, and Bhumika. For the blessings of the gods and goddesses embodied in the tarangas, devotees swarm in great numbers to worship them.

If you plan to attend the vibrant celebrations of Dussehra in Goa, book a convenient car rental with a local driver and get ready to be mesmerised by the intriguing and chivalrous tales of Shiva and Shakti.

From Delhi/UP/Punjab:

If you live in Delhi, Chandigarh or anywhere in Punjab, hit NH22 to experience the glories of the Kullu Dussehra which begins on Oct 5th, Vijayadashami Day. We suggest booking a cab from any of these cities to Kullu to experience the vibrancy of the festival.

Ram Nagar Ramlila
Ram Nagar Ramlila

Else, drive 500 kms from Delhi to Kota for the Dussehra Mela in Rajasthan where 75 feet tall effigies of Raavan, Kumbhkaran and Meghnath are set alight. The famed Rajasthani hospitality, food and folk performances are sure to take your breath away. Else, take a short 5 hour drive from Lucknow to Varanasi, for an authentic, theatrical Ram Nagar Ramlila where Sadhus or Ramayanis recite the Ramayan in a tradition that predates Emperor Akbar’s times.

From Kolkata:

The Durga Pujo or Durgotsava or Durga Puja is celebrated with immense joy and magnificence by the Bengali community in India. Durga Puja is traditionally held in temples and some homes. However, you’ll also see some exquisitely painted and illuminated Pandals constructed primarily for this Puja. Everything around these Pandals is beautiful and captivating for the entire week until the celebration is done when the decorating and glitz remain in place.

Durga Puja

Savaari Recommends: Some of the best pandals that you must visit during Durga Puja in Kolkata in 2023

  • Santosh Mitra Square
  • Bagbazar
  • College Square
  • Hindustan Park
  • Hindustan Club
  • Samaj Sebi Sangha
  • Ballygunge Cultural Association Puja Pandal
  • Deshapriya Park
  • Kumartuli Park
  • Ahiritola Sarbojanin Durgotsav
  • Singhi Park Sarbojanin Durgotsab
  • Mudiali Club
  • Tridhara Sammilani Puja
  • Shib Mandir Sarbajanin Durgatsab
  • Bosepukur Sitala Mandir
  • Naktala Udayan Sangha Puja
  • Babubagan Club Sarbojanin Durga Puja
  • Badamtala Ashar Sangha
  • Suruchi Sangha
  • Jodhpur Park Puja Pandal

If you need a break from the festivities, consider the iconic Victoria Memorial, Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Marble Palace, Eden Gardens, St Paul Cathedral, Princep Ghat, the Planetarium, the Indian Museum, and other major tourist attractions in Kolkata. With our travel guide, you will be all set to explore the city and have the time of your life. You could also drive 170kms out of Kolkata to the unspoilt beach at Mandarmoni. Or take a dekko at the famed terracotta temples of Bishnupur. Go road tripping 250 kms to the hot springs and rolling green hills of Taptapani. And with Savaari, booking a cab in Kolkata is a breeze; download the app and book in minutes.

Last Updated on January 18, 2024 by Swati Deol

About the author

Shabari, a modern-day wanderer, seeks out the hidden stories within the world's serene landscapes and vibrant cultures. She views each person as a living, breathing tale, a unique signature in the grand narrative of existence. With an insatiable curiosity for local customs and traditions, Shabari explores the rich drapery of humanity wherever her journey leads. Her passion is to unravel the secrets of tranquil temples, scale majestic mountains, and share the ancient wisdom they hold. Join Shabari on her quest for solace amidst the world's quiet corners and let her writing transport you to the heart of these captivating adventures.

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