Ram Lila starts on the first Naurata and continues evey
evening for the next ten days. The epic is roughly divided into ten parts
and every night one part is performed. There is zeal and devotion all
along. All the participants are amateurs and boys in their early teens
perform the roles of girls. Great care is taken in the choice of proper
costumes and make-up. Ram's army is equipped with bows and arrows, demons
wear large masks and Hanuman has a long tail appended.
On one side of the stage there is Sita sitting sad
and dejected and on the other side, war between Ram and Ravan goes on.
The main scenes shown in the Ram Lila are Sita's swayambar, Ram's exile,
cutting of Saroopnakha's nose by Lakshman, abduction of Sita, Hanuman's
meeting Sita in Ravanas Ashok Vatika, war between Ram and Ravan,
resuscitation of the unconscious Lakshman, Hanuman's carrying a mountain
on his palm, defeat of Ravan and victory of Ram. The dialogue between
the actors is traditional and sometimes it is improvised on the spur of
the moment. The greatest attraction of the Ram Lila is in the presentation
of scenes and great effort is made to make them absorbing. The tenth day
of the performance start with the victory of Ram and the defeat of Ravan.
Huge effigies of Ravan, his brother Kumbkharna and his son Meghnad are
put up. The effigies are made of paper and bamboo and are nicely stuffed
with crackers. A little before sunset, they are set on fire and while
the flames from the burning effigies leap towards the sky, the air is
rent with the boom of crackers.