Dussehra 2018: Importance of ‘Neelkanth’; Know the Significance Behind Seeing the Indian Roller Bird on This Day
Indian Roller Bird ‘Neelkanth’ on Dussehra (Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons)

Individuals across are celebrating Navratri 2018. The festivity which has already begun, will end with the observance of Dussehra on October 19. This is the time, when each corner is dazzled up with beautiful lights and colourful flowers. Devotees donned themselves in their best traditional attire, offering prayers to Goddess Durga and dances on the tunes of Garba. However, the festivity is coming to an end. On the tenth day in the Hindu calendar month of Asvin, Vijayadashami also known as Dasara or Dussehra is observed differently in various parts of the country. The Indian Roller bird popularly known as the Neelkanth is ritually associated with the celebration of Dussehra. Mysore Dussehra 2018 Date: Know the History, Significance & Celebrations of Mysuru Dasara.

Dussehra is devoted to celebrating the defeat of the demon king Ravan by Lord Rama in the holy Hindu text; the Ramayana. It is predominantly a northern Indian festival with Delhi and Varanasi being the famous places to witness the celebrations. Devotees are captivated with the plays and performances known as Ramlila, depicting the life of Rama, leading up to the Dussehra day. Navratri Colours 2018 for Nine Days: List and Images of 9 Colours for Each Date to Wear During Sharad Navaratri Festival. 

Significance of Neelkanth Bird During Dussehra 2018

The Indian Roller bird, also known as Neelkanth is majorly seen in the Himalayas and some parts of the western and southern India. According to the Hindu verses in Ramayana, Neelkanth bird had a significant role in Lord Rama’s victory over Ravana. It is believed that Lord Ram spotted the Indian Roller bird as he embarked upon his journey to kill Ravana and hence is considered auspicious on Dussehra day. Sighting a Neelkanth on Dussehra day, helps people to be free from their sins. If a person sees a Neelkanth and makes a wish, the bird is said to take the request to the similarly blue-throated Lord Shiva on Mt Kailash who will fulfil the desire. From Durga Puja to Dussehra, Check How the 9-Day Sharad Navratri Festival is Celebrated in 9 Different Ways in the Country. 

To cater to these superstitious beliefs, bird catchers trap these vivid birds almost a month before the festival. The Indian Roller’s population has reportedly reduced. The birds are caged with their legs tied, wings trimmed and even glued so that they cannot fly. People buy these birds from the market and let them free only after making a wish. However, reports have suggested that during this superstitious belief, many unfortunate birds died, as it would have been starved for many days. Another superstition attached to this bird is that adding its chopped feathers to the grass and feeding them to the cows will increase the cow’s milk yield. In order to stop the torture against these beautiful birds, many animal rights organisations have stepped in with awareness camps to stop this ritual and protect the wildlife.