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Rendezvous with a record-breaking Ravana

The Tallest Ravana in Panchkula
The Tallest Ravana in Panchkula

For all of us, Dussehra is all about the triumph of the victory of good over evil. But for Tejinder Singh Chauhan of Barara village in Ambala, it is mostly about setting records. This 51-year-old has just built the tallest Ravana effigy in the world!

The Vital statistics

Angadveer Singh with the effigy

The 215-feet high effigy of the demon king stands tall in the grounds of Sector 5 in Panchkula. The creator of the giant, Tejinder Singh Chauhan, says, “We have braved rain, heat, mosquitoes and toiled away from home for five months to make this Ravana. 3000 meters of cloth has been draped on the body of the effigy. The fibreglass face has been adorned with a moustache that is 42 feet wide from end-to-end”. I was truly lucky that Mr Chauhan who also is the president of the Shri Ramlila club in Barara allowed me to climb atop the effigy and see for myself the beautiful way in which enamel paints have been used to paint the fierce expressions onto the demon king. “The face alone weighs 300kg. 700kg of bamboo, 200kg of glue, 600kg of paper and 20 quintals of an iron frame have gone into making this Ravana. The sword is 50-feet long, his shoes are 30 feet and the crown is 40 feet,” said Mr Chauhan as I stared at him in disbelief. What was even more unbelievable was the fact that it took two cranes, one earth-moving machine and 160 people about 8 hours to make the tallest Ravana in India stand on its feet on a foundation that is 8-feet deep. It isn’t for nothing that Mr Tejinder Singh Chauhan has been featured five times in the Limca Book of Records. Mr Chauhan made his first Ravana in 1987 at the age of 21. That Ravana was 21 feet tall.

To Burn or Not to Burn

Angadveer Singh with Tejinder Singh Chauhan

As I looked at the mighty King of Lanka watching over the city of Panchkula, a question came to my mind “Don’t you feel bad burning your hard work and labour?” I asked Mr Chauhan. His quick reply was – “Not at all! It is a matter of pride for me. More than anything else, I feel very very happy when children like you come and see the effigy and smile.”

I still was not convinced about burning the Ravana – keeping in mind the pollution part. I said the same thing to Mr Chauhan, who replied very patiently: “Yes, pollution is a concern for us too. Which is why we have used a special type of crackers which don’t give out smoke. The Ravana will be detonated using an automated remote control system. Burning Ravana is a tradition, but I am trying to make it eco-friendly. ”

I have another suggestion, not just for Mr Chauhan, but even for those who are burning Ravana elsewhere – Maybe we could devise a system where we water the Ravana effigy down instead of burning him? The paper could still be degraded and seeds should be incorporated into the body of Ravana?

If you have any other suggestions on how to celebrate Dussehra, kindly leave them in the comment box below.

Text by Angadveer Singh

Images by Aarti Kapur Singh

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