The Nine Day Festival Of Navaratri

Rath Yatra in Kullu - Dussehra Celebration

Since the Navaratri thrill is on, so here we would talk about the places to explore and celebrations during this time across the country. Navaratra is among the most celebrated festival among Hindus. It begins on the first day of Ashwina and goes on for nine long days. Navaratra is known to be the period of celebration of Goddess Durga.

 

 

Durga and her Symbolism:

Durga means the one who eliminates the sufferings. Thus, Hindu devotees believe that Goddess Durga helps them to face and get over all sufferings in life. There are many forms of Durga like: Kali, Bhagvati, Bhavani, Ambika, Lalita, Gauri, Kandalini, Java, Rajeswari, etc. It is believed that Goddess Durga united the divine powers into one (herself) and killed the immortal demon “Mahishasura”.

Goddess DurgaLike Shiva, Goddess Durga also posses the ‘Third eye” on the forehead. The third eye is said to have the fire. Durga also has eight to ten hands signifying the then directions in Hinduism. This suggests that she is a protector of devotees from all directions. Durga stands on her vehicle ‘Lion” signifying fearlessness.

Celebrations:

This festival is celebrated by all Hindus across the country, but in different ways. In Northern India, people generally celebrate it by rigorous fasting and celebrations. In Eastern India, people celebrate Durga Puja starting from the 6th day of Navaratri. In Southern India, it celebrated with a lot of fanfare. In Western India, various forms of dances and prayers are performed during this time. We will elaborate further on the celebrations of Navarata here:

Eastern India:

In Bengal, Navaratri basically means Durga Puja. Festival of Durga Puja is the awaited festival for Bengalis. They shop throughout the year and look forward for this puja. It takes place in the last four days of Navaratri and is followed by a grand farewell to the idol of Durga on the tenth day called as Vijay Dashami or Dussehra.

Durga Puja Pandals

Durga Puja Pandals

Idol Visarjan on Dussehra

Idol Visarjan on Dussehra

During this time huge decorative structures called as Pandals, where the worship of Goddess takes place are seen everywhere. The earthen idol of Durga is accompanied by Ganesh, Kartik, Saraswati and Laxmi. Goddess Durga is bid an adieu by a grand farewell on Dussehra and the idol is submerged in any nearby water body.

Western India:

People in western India are inclined to celebrate Navaratri is a very joyous way. In Gujrat, spend nine days of festival in dance, music and merriment where women and men dress up in colourful attires and dance gracefully in a formed circle called as ‘Garba’. Besides Garba, ‘Dandiya’ is also a sort of dance in which men and women dance using decorated bamboo sticks. The dance has a complex rhythm and people have to match up their beats.

Navratri Celebration in Gujarat

Navratri Celebration in Gujarat

Ras Garba and Dandiya dance forms has been extracted from the Krishna stories from Saurashta and Kutch. The focal point is the shrine placed in the centre around which the dance takes place. Each night puja is performed worshipping Goddess Durga, Laxmi and Saraswati. In case you are fond of dances and want to enjoy this joyous festival then Gujarat is the place to be in Navaratra.

Northern India:

Ashtami Celebration

Ashtami Celebration

In Northern India, the festival of Navaratra is celebrated by fasting rigorously for nine days. Devotees of Durga celebrate this festival with full faith.

On the 8th day or Ashtami people tend to break their fast by treating young girls with Puri-Halwa at home and worshipping them alike as Goddess. On the ninth day or the Navaratri signifies the end of the holy period.

Ramlila - Depicting the story of Ram

Ramlila – Depicting the story of Ram

In places like Varansai and other parts of Uttar Pradesh, Navaratri collides with Ramlila. Ramlila is the depiction of stories from the holy Ramayan in the form of play. It goes on for nine long days which covers the whole story of Ramyana and ultimately ends the killing of Ravana on the 10th day or Dusserhra.

Rath Yatra in Kullu - Dussehra Celebration

Rath Yatra in Kullu – Dussehra Celebration

In places like Kullu, special tradition of carrying Lord Raghunath is experienced. It is thought to be a very special form of celebration in Northern India.

Southern India:

Ayudha Puja

Ayudha Puja in Karnataka (Photo: AswathiBabu)

In South India, people set up steps and place idols on them. This is known as golu. In places like Karnataka, Ayudha Puja, the ninth day of Mysore Dasara, is celebrated with the worship of implements used in daily life such as computers, books, vehicles, or kitchen tools.

Dasara Celebration in Mysore

Dasara Celebration in Mysore (Photo: The Hindu)

Mysore is well known for the festivities that take place during the period of Dasara, the state festival of Karnataka. The Dasara festivities, which are celebrated over a ten-day period, were first introduced by King Raja Wodeyar.

Saraswati Puja in Kerala

Saraswati Puja in Kerala (Photo: Nell)

Books are worshipped

Books are worshipped (Photo: Nell)

In Kerala, three days: Ashtami, Navami, and Vijaya Dashami of Sharad Navarathri are celebrated as Sarasvati Puja in which books are worshiped. The books are placed for Puja on the Ashtami day in own houses, traditional nursery schools, or in temples.

Navaratra is a festival that can be enjoyed by all. If you are one who wishes to have world class experience during Navratri, then find your suitable property from The Other Home and roam around the whole country.

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