It’s that time of the year again. Vijayadashami also known as Dussehra, is the nine-day long festival that celebrates the triumph of victory over evil. It is a precursor to the next big festival Diwali which is celebrated twenty days later to welcome the Goddess of light and wealth. Dussehra calls on the strength of the Mother Goddess to provide renewed vigour to the soil at the beginning of the Indian harvest season. Interestingly, this Indian festival is said to correspond to a nine-day Taoist Festival of the Nine Emperor Gods which begins on the eve of the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar. According to Taoism, the Nine Emperor Gods are high-ranking Star Lords who preside over the movement of planets and coordinate mortal life and death issues

Back home, there’s no escaping the carnivalesque atmosphere. Particularly so in East India, where Durga Puja goes into full swing, around the same time. It marks the victory of Goddess Durga over Mahishasura; this is symbolically captured in exquisitely crafted life-sized clay idols in pandals (temporary sheds). In Northern India and the South, Dussehra puts the focus on Lord Rama's victory over the ten-headed demon King Ravana. Plays and dramas are performed based on the Ramayana. In Gujarat, the Navratra celebrations take the form of community dances like the garba or dandiya, which are performed around a centrally lit lamp. The final day of the above celebrations sees the immersion of the idol and burning of the effigies of Ravana. A period of introspection and purification, these nine days are also regarded as an auspicious time for commencing new ventures.

Fasting devotees are restricted to one meal a day; rock salt instead of common salt; buckwheat flour; sabudana (tapioca); dairy products; all fruits and some vegetables. Non-vegetarian food, alcohol, grains, wheat, onion and garlic are a strict no.  

During this season of devotion, break your fast with Satvik platters filled with flavourful foods at Baywatch at ITC Maurya from 25th September to 2nd October.  Hornby's Pavilion encourages you to experience rich, flavoursome food that has pleased the Gods for ages, from 25th September to 4th October at ITC Grand Central. If you’re in the capital on those dates, swing to dandiya beats and relish an extravagant buffet with a variety of festive delicacies at Pavilion 75 at WelcomHotel Dwarka. Bringing the festivities to a close at ITC Sonar is Chef Kailash Maharaj’s unique interpretation of khad cuisine from the regions of Marwar, Mewar, Shekhawati and Hadhoti. You also have the chance to discover the nuances of Jain cuisine and Marwari culinary traditions from 27th September till 3rd October at Eden Pavilion.