Crowds burst into cheers as the stuffed effigies, dotting grounds and open spaces, went up in flames at sundown. With police keeping a hawk-eye vigil, the festivities passed off peacefully in different parts of the country.
    
In Delhi, President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Union minister Harshvardhan Singh were among the dignitaries who saw the evil going up in smoke at Subhash maidan.
    
Addressing the gathering in Hindi, President Mukherjee said the day symbolises victory of good over evil.
    
"It inspires us to face difficulties...come, let us work together for development," he said in his brief address.
    
After the celebrations at Subhash Maidan, Sonia and Singh reached Ramlila Maidan here for another 'Ravan dahan' event where they were joined by Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi.
    
Dussehra, which also marks the end of scorching summer and heralding of winter, is preceded by nine auspicious days of Navaratri during which devotees pray, fast and feast.
    
Ramlilas, vivid enactments from the life of Lord Rama, were staged in large parts of the country during the nine days preceding the festival.
    
Amid beating of drums, frenziedly dancing devotees also bid adieu to Goddess Durga as she returned to her celestial abode, at the end of her three-day sojourn on earth, as against usual four-day, with the Navami and Dashami falling on the same day.
    
Hundreds of idols of Goddess Durga, which had adorned the marquees, were immersed in holy rivers amidst chants of 'aasche bochchor abar hobe' (it will happen again next year).

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