Jhalarapatan preserves 175-year-old history of ‘Ravana Parivar’

Idols of eight members of the demon king’s clan continue to occupy the Dussehra Mela ground in Jhalarapatan for the last 175 years. These idols are part of the Jhalarapatan’s monumental heritage

jaipur Updated: Sep 30, 2017 19:15 IST
Aabshar H Quazi
Aabshar H Quazi
Hindustan Times
Rajasthan,Jhalarapatan,Ravana Parivar
Idols of Ravana clan at the Dussehra Mela ground in Jhalarapatan.(AH Zaidi/HT Photo)

While the effigies of three members of Ravana family are burnt on Dussehra in many parts of the country, idols of eight members of the demon king’s clan continue to occupy the Dussehra Mela ground in Jhalarapatan for the last 175 years. These idols are part of the Jhalarapatan’s monumental heritage.

The permanent statues, made of stones and clay, were raised in 1842 by the then ruler of Jhalawar, Maharaj Madan Singh Jhala. The statues have been titled as ‘Ravana Parivar’. “The statues are of Ravana, his wife Mandodari, sister Shurpnakha, brother Khumbhakaran, son Meghnad, uncle Mareech and cousins Khar and Dushan,” says Lalit Sharma, a historian of Jhalarapatan.

Of all the statues, 15-foot-high Ravana’s statue is the tallest, while others are a little shorter.

“Till 1929, the then rulers of Jhalawar used to arrive in a procession and strike an arrow in a red colour-filled earthen pot kept on the shelf in the naval area of the Ravana statue to symbolise killing of the demon king,” says Sharma. “The locals used to pelt stones on the statues as a mark of protest against the evil,” he adds.

“After Independence, people started making the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakaran and Meghnad on the Dussehra Mela ground on the occasion of Dussehra festival, while the permanent statues were pushed into oblivion,” says Sharma.

However, the local municipality of Jhalarapatan still carry out maintenance work on the permanent statues every year on Dussehra. Five years ago, the municipality had constructed two statues of elephants near the existing idols.

Jhalarapatan Municipality chairperson Anil Porwal says, “Despite existing on the Mela ground for more than 175 years, these permanent statues of Ravana Parivar are still an attraction and Municipality spends around ₹40,000 every year on repair and paint them.”

He said people still pelt small pebbles on the permanent statues of Ravana clan and also on the effigies of the demon king’s family members every year.

First Published: Sep 30, 2017 18:46 IST