Festival - Ram Lila: Must See India
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Ram Lila

by Kapil Upload a photo
Ram Lila (or ‘Ram’s Play’) is celebrated during the auspicious period of Sharad Navratras in the months of September and October. This festival is celebrated widely in Northern India, and it is essentially an enactment of scenes from the Ramayana, revolving around the life, values, principles and journey of Lord Rama, including his return from exile and victory against demon Ravana.

The festival includes songs, narration, recitals and dialogs that are staged over 10 successive nights, culminating the festival of Vijayadashami the day when Lord Ram won against Ravana. The final battle is staged in public, where effigies of the demon Ravana are set to fire.

Ram Lila is targeted towards the Hindi speaking community, although many people now are drawn to it for inspiration and to take a look into Hindu mythology. Its is a run up to the grand harvest festival of India known as Dussera.


Ram Lila is known to be India’s most famour theatrical experience. It is presented as a cycle play, in makeshift open air theatres in the late evenings, and the story varies from 7 to 31 days, typically lasting 10 days.

The story of the Ramayana is acted out with focus on the battle between Lord Rama and demon Ravana, and it consists of a series of dialogues between Gods, sages and the devotees. The cycle of plays culminates with Diwali on the last day, marking the victory of Lord Rama; The effigies of Ravana are burnt, amd this emphasises the victory of good over evil.

Local musicians provide the beats. Special drums known as ‘Dhols’ are used to set the scenes and provide sound effects.A singer or priest recites verses from the Ramayana, and the actors are cheered on by the audience.

The different forms of Ram Lila are the Ayodhya, Ramnagar, Benaras, Vrindavan, Almora, Sattna and Madhubani Ram Lilas. These vary in the number of days and are followed by different groups of people. Ramnaga Ram Lila, for example, lasts for 31 days and hundreds of sadhus known as ‘Ramayanis’ come to Ramnagar to watch and recite the play. Each region has a different kind of play enactment, borrowing from the local traditions,which is moulded to please the local crowd, and yet they all bear the same message, bringing hope and light into everyone’s lives.

Tourist Essential

Ram Lilas are performed exquisitely all over India. The beautifully adorned actors and stage setups are the highlights of Ram Lilas. A competition is held on the last day in some places, and prizes are given for the most unique and appealing effigy. Stalls are put up around the theatres; they sell foodstuffs and memoirs.

The audience is even invited to participate in the dances and singing, and the overall atmosphere is very and joyous.


by Kapil