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Notes on the Geography of Northern India: Varanasi Dussehra

The last few days of the ten-day Durgapuja are huge in Varanasi. Dramatic billboards are posted, and temporary theaters erected--marvels of trompe l'oeil. In the evening of the last day, the flamboyant statues of Durga and other divinities are paraded to the river, where they are set afloat and discarded.

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Northern India: Varanasi Dussehra picture 1

One of many outdoor displays.

Northern India: Varanasi Dussehra picture 2

The audience is transfixed.

Northern India: Varanasi Dussehra picture 3

A temporary theater.

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Looks solid, but it's just cloth stretched over bamboo.

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Inside.

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Looks solid.

Northern India: Varanasi Dussehra picture 7

The display is static but spellbinding.

Northern India: Varanasi Dussehra picture 8

Behind the scenes: bamboo and cloth, plus plywood flooring.  It all comes down the next day.

Northern India: Varanasi Dussehra picture 9

Escorting an image of the goddess to the river.

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Another Durga, this time on the back of a flatbed truck.

Northern India: Varanasi Dussehra picture 11

A body-building demon.

Northern India: Varanasi Dussehra picture 12

Observers line the rooftops.

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A Ganesh is offloaded near the river.

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A Durga takes her last ride.

Northern India: Varanasi Dussehra picture 15

The speakers pump a heart-shaking volume of sound.


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