Rain, hail soak Chandigarh Ravanas

Hours before they were to go up in flames on the occasion of Dusshera, a number of effigies of demon-king Ravana and others were soaked through in a thunderstorm that hit Chandigarh and its adjoining areas late Tuesday.

While some of the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkaran and Meghnadh stood soaking wet Wednesday morning, others just crumbled in the rain.  The city and parts of adjoining states of Punjab and Haryana were lashed by strong winds, followed by rain and hail Tuesday.

"Our efforts over the last few days seem to have gone in vain. The effigies have all been soaked, and some have just withered," said Ali Mohammed, an effigy artisan, as he looked at damaged effigies in the Sector 17 Parade Ground here Tuesday  evening.

The rain in Chandigarh lasted about three hours, in intermittent spells. The city's tallest Ravana was erected in Sector 46. The effigy stood 83 feet tall. After Tuesday's rain, the head of the demon-king has tilted.

On Wednesday morning, effigy artisans, many of them from Uttar Pradesh, set about assessing the damage and seeing how best to restore their handiwork.  "We are keeping our fingers crossed, hoping it does not rain again," a member of the Sector 46 Ramlila and Dusshera organising committee said.

Reports of the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkaran and Meghnadh being damaged in rain were received from Punjab and Haryana too.  On Dusshera (which comes from 'dash' or ten, and 'hara' meaning defeat) effigies of the ten-headed demon-king Ravana, his brother Kumbhkaran and son Meghnadh are burnt, to symbolise the destruction of evil.   

Residents hope the weather won't play spoilsport again. Met officials, however, said thunderstorms could occur over the region Wednesday too. Chandigarh and surrounding areas had partial cloud cover Wednesday morning.

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