Ambala (Haryana), Sep 28: Just a few hours before he was to go up in flames, demon-king Ravana was standing tall near here, literally. A Ramlila committee claimed to have put up the tallest Ravana effigy in the country -- at 175 feet the equivalent of a 15-storeyed building.
The effigy has been put up by the committee at Brara village on the Ambala-Jagadhri road, 20 km from this town that is 50 km from state capital Chandigarh.
"We had to use cranes to lift the Ravana and make it stand. It was a difficult process. This is the tallest Ravana in the country and thousands of people are coming here to see it," Ramlila committee president Tejinder Singh Chauhan told IANS.
Twenty artisans from Saharanpur district in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh -- all of them Muslims -- were brought here by the committee to build the effigy which will be set on fire Monday evening to mark the Hindu festival of Dussehra.
The festival symbolises the victory of good over evil -- showing Ram's triumph over Ravana as depicted in the epic Ramayana.
Given the height of the effigy, which will be set on fire by an arrow from Ram, the organisers are going to fire an arrow by remote control.
Built at a cost of over Rs.400,000, the Ravana effigy weighs nearly 3,000 kg.
"The Ravana has crackers and fireworks worth over Rs.100,000. The bamboo sticks used in this huge structure can help build nearly 50 huts," said chief artisan Mohammed Usman, who led the team of artisans to build the effigy.
This Ramlila committee has been scaling new heights when it comes to Ravana effigies. In 2007, it put up a 151-feet high Ravana, followed by a 171-feet one in 2008.
"Next year, we will attempt a 200-foot-high Ravana," Chauhan said.