The entire country burns Ravana's effigies on Dussehra but there is a small village tucked in Akola district in Maharashtra where the demon king is worshipped.

Locals state that for over 200 years now, Ravan is being worshipped in Sangola village. The tradition is in place as people of the village consider Ravan as an intelligent king who had ascetic qualities.

Happy Dussehra
Representational image

Right in the centre of the village, stands a tall black stone statue of the demon king, with 10 heads and 20 arms, and the locals revere him.

The local temple priest Haribhau Lakhade was quoted as saying that when the entire country is burning the effigy of Ravan and symbolizing the victory of good over evil, the residents of Sangola worship the demon king for his "intelligence and ascetic qualities".

Lakhade added that for a long time now, his family has been worshipping Ravan and stated that it is entirely because of the Lanka king that Sangola is a happy, prosperous and a content village.

According to Mukund Pohre, who is a local from the village, despite Ravan abducting Sita; he preserved her sanctity and he did it only for political reasons adding that Ravan was a true scholar. He stated that the villagers believe in Lord Rama but they also have faith in Ravan and do not burn his effigy on Dussehra. He also added that the visitors from across the country come to this tiny village on Dussehra every year to catch a glimpse of Ravan's statue and some even offer prayers.

Five other temples where Ravan is worshipped in India:

Dashanan Temple, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh.
Ravana Mandir, Bisrakh, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
Kakinada Ravana temple, Andhra Pradesh.
Ravangram Ravana Temple, Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh.
Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh.

Lakahde stated that every year the village celebrate this festive season with much pomp and show but this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the festivities had to be kept low key.

Dussehra is a festival when people in different parts of the country gather and burn the effigy of Ravan. People exchange greetings and consider this event as the triumph of good over evil and with this also begins the preparations for Diwali as it comes 20 days after Dussehra.