“Who is the Auspiciousness of all Auspiciousness, Who is the source of goodness, Who is accomplished of all objectives, To the source of all goods, to the mother of three worlds, To the source of light, O the exposer of consciousness, Salutation to you O Narayani.”
With this prayer, we start praising the source of energy, the Goddess Shakti for 9 auspicious nights of Navratri. This beautiful festival is one of the most important festivals of India which is celebrated with all grandeur and charisma throughout the country. Here in this mini Navratri Guide, we are going to discuss each aspect of this beautiful festival. Lest start with the things –
- What is Navratri and Why It is celebrated
- The Legends of Navratri
- Navratri Celebration in India
- Navratri Celebrations in North India
- Navratri Celebrations in Western India
- Navratri Celebration in South India
- Navratri Celebrations in East India
- Rituals Performed in Navratri
- When Navratri is Being Celebrated
1. What is Navratri and Why It is celebrated
Navratri, a pure Sanskrit word which means nine nights, the festival is celebrated for 9 nights in the season of autumn. This multi-day festival though is celebrated 4 times in a year, one for each season. The one celebrated post monsoon is called “Sharad Navratri” that is considered as the most prominent among all. Generally falls in Ashvin month of Hindu Calendar, Navratri comes in the months of either September or October. As for why we celebrate this divine festival, for this, there are many spiritual, natural and mythological reasons that give us chance to celebrate Navratri. Logically, the festival is celebrated as the juncture of seasonal changes. “Chaitra Navratri” is celebrated at the beginning of summer and “Sharad Navratri” is celebrated at the beginning of winter season.
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2. The Legends of Navratri
Marked as the symbol of victory of good over evil, Navratri is celebrated y year to remind us that no matter how strong evil can become, at the end it has to defeat by the hands of good. Even the legends can tell us many things about the same. According to one legend, a demon named Mahishasur has created a catastrophe on earth and in heaven after getting boon from Lord Brahma. Considering women feeble he asked Brahmma to only be killed by a woman. To stop his havoc, every God has shared their part of powers together and the power took the form of Goddess Durga. It is believed Mahishasur and Goddess Durga fought vigorously for 9 days and on the 10th day he was killed by Goddess Durga and 10th day is celebrated as Vijayadashami. According to other legends which is associated with Indian epic Ramayan, Lord Rama worship Goddess Durga for 9 days to seek his blessings to win over Ravana. Toon the 10th day, Ravana was killed.
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3. Navratri Celebration in India
Being a culturally diversify country; India has different ways of celebrating the Navratri festival. Each region is having its own importance and significance of celebrating the festival.
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4. Navratri Celebrations in North India
The northern part of the country is having its own way of celebrating this beautiful festival. Navratri Celebrations in North India is generally marked with the enactment of Ramlila where people showcase the story of Rama and Ravana. Cities such as Ayodhya, Varanasi, and Madhubani in Uttar Pradesh state boasted with Ram-Leela. Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh are other major North Indian state that makes your festival celebration and North India tour package memorable.
5. Navratri Celebrations in Western India
The western region of India generally is built with the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Goa. All these states celebrate Navratri with all grandeur and charm. In Gujarat, Navratri is majorly celebrated with Garbha. The unique and traditional dance form of Gujarat, Garbha is played in all 9 days on the festival. People keep fast and avoid taking grains and majorly dependent on liquids. In Goa, temples during Navratri are spectacularly decorated and filled with a plethora of devoting during this time. When you will be on your Goa tourism you can take a visit to Devi and Krishna temples where you can enjoy folk music, dances that take place during this time.
6. Navratri Celebration in South India
The southern part of the country makes a perfect combination of festival and nature. Even during the time of Navratri, South India makes no exception and shines with all grandeur. In Tamil Nadu, during Navratri festival, Devi temples are decorated with lights and lamps. Kolu ritual is the major attraction of this festival in Karnataka. In Andhra Pradesh, the festival is called Bathukamma Panduga and is dedicated to Maha Gauri (one of 9 Durga forms). In Kerala, the festival is associated with education. They also considered these days auspicious to start with something new. The importance of Devi in South Indian culture can easily be seen during this time. South India tourism during Navratri is something worth experiencing.
7. Navratri Celebrations in East India
In east India and in West Bengal the festival of Navratri is celebrated as Durga Puja. Bengal has a huge impact of Devi / Goddess Durga on their Bengali culture. Whole Bengal turns red in the hues of sindoor and spiritualism during this time. People called these 9 days as Durga Puja and the 10th day is celebrated as Vijaydashmi. During this time various Pandaals are established with the idol of Goddess Durga and on the last day, the idol will be immersed in the water body preceded by a majestic procession.
8. Rituals Performed in Navratri
During the 9 days of Navratri, nine different forms of Goddess Durga are worshiped, one on each day. The devotees along with worshiping also go on fasting for the whole day. In the evening they complete their fast with the feast and dancing. In Gujarat, people dance on garbha which is considered as a devotional yet vibrant dance form dedicated to Goddess Shakti. On the last day of Navratri, devotees invoke Goddess Durga with the Durga Mantra “Ya Devi Sarv-Bhuteshu Shakti Rupeenu Sansthithan Namastasyei, Namastasyei, Namastasyei, Namoh Namah” followed by organizing Kanya Pujan. 9 little girls are invited by devotees to their home along with a little boy of age up to 12 years. These little girls are considered as the 9 different forms of Goddess and a boy is considered as “Langoor” a form of Lord Hanuman. Worshipped with great devotion these little girls are offered with Halwa Puri and Kale Chane as a Prasad and seek their blessings.
9. When Navratri is Being Celebrated
The festival of Navratri is being celebrated in the month of Ashvin according to the Hindu calendar which generally falls in the month of September or October according to Gregorian calendar. In 2017 Navratri will be celebrated from September 21 to September 29, 2017. Plan for your India tour packages and be a part of this extravagant festival.