A sea of enthusiastic spectators broke into a loud applause as the towering effigy of demon king Ravana crackled in the fire at the Ramlila grounds in the capital on Sunday.
People, both young and old alike, jostled, pushed and pulled to get a better view of the effigy-burning and clapped with fervour. This was, after all, the moment everyone waited for in the celebration of Dussehra, one of the most popular Hindu festivals.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her son, MP Rahul Gandhi, daughter Priyanka Vadra and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit were there to witness the function.
Celebrating the victory of Lord Ram over Ravana, Dussehra symbolides the victory of good over evil. Preceding it was the nine-day Ramlila, an enactment of the life of the Hindu god.
As various incidents from Ram's life are enacted by artistes, complete with their dazzling outfits, heavy jewellery and accessories and brightly painted faces, the annual Ramlila draws huge crowds in towns and cities across the country.
In Delhi, people thronged the Ramlila grounds in front of the historic Red Fort, where the festivities were in full swing.
There were food stalls selling a variety of fare like aloo tikki, golgappas and chaat, toyshops and gaming stalls flocked with people all the time.
Shekhar Arora, a student, is one of the many who never miss the Dussehra celebrations at the Ramlila ground, which was decorated with streamers and lit up with floodlights.
"While effigies of Ravana are burnt in many other places, the celebrations at the Ramlila grounds are the best. It is also one of the oldest places where Dussehra has been celebrated," he said.
"People flock this place every year at this time. That's why, like always, I am here to be part of the celebrations this year as well," Arora told IANS.
Along with Ravana's, effigies of his brother Kumbhkaran and son Meghnad were also erected and burnt with endless strings of crackers.
Continuing the enactment of Lord Ram's life, the effigies were set on fire by the shooting of a lit-up arrow by the actor playing Ram, signifying the ultimate victory of good over evil.