24 October 2012
Last updated at 11:01
Hindus in India are celebrating the festival of Dussehra on Wednesday. The festival celebrates the triumph of the Hindu god Ram over the demon king Ravana, marking the victory of good over evil.
The festival is celebrated in large parts of India with Ramlila, a dramatic folk re-enactment of Ram's victory over the 10-headed Ravana, as described in the Hindu religious epic, the Ramayana.
Ramlila is staged annually, often over 10 or more successive nights, to mark the 10-day battle between Ram and Ravana.
In 2005, Unesco recognised the tradition of Ramlila as a "Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity". Here, actors enact a fight from the Ramayana on stage.
Actors rehearse for weeks before the performances begin. The plays are high on drama and often use humour to convey their message to the audiences.
Here, 15-year-old actor Ajay Kumar gets ready for his performance at the Maharashtra Ramlila Manch in Mumbai.
In many cities and towns, actors dressed up as Ram, his wife Sita and brother Lakshman are taken through the streets on a chariot in a Dussehra procession.
The processions are a huge hit and attract young and old alike. In this photo, a Hindu devotee carries a young girl as they watch a Dussehra procession in Allahabad city.
The festival culminates on Dussehra night with devotees burning effigies of Ravana which are lit with fire-crackers in open grounds across the country to celebrate the defeat of evil.
This year, some are using the festival to make a political statement. In Delhi, those opposed to the government's recent plans to open up the retail sector to foreign supermarket chains burnt an effigy representing Foreign Direct Investment.