Navratri celebrations in different parts of the country

Navratri, meaning nine nights is when Devi Durga is worshipped. The festival, though, is celebrated in different parts of the country by dif ferent names and ways but the purpose of it remains the same the victory of good over evil. By adding its own tint of customs and flavour to it, here’s how the country celebrates the festival.MAHARASHTRA

Celebrations here are quite similar to Gujarat. The occasion, though, is a great time to start with new beginnings. Purchasing new cars, house, cracking business deals is quite common during this time.Married women invite each other to their place on the last day and apply haldi-kumkum on their foreheads and offer them a coconut, beetle leaves and beetle nuts. This is considered auspicious and observed for the husband’s long life.

GUJARAT

Navratri happens to be one of the most awaited festivals of the state. A lot of them fast for nine days and worship Lord Durga during this time. Colourful, in the evening, an earthen pot with a diya placed inside of it is and is called as garboand women perform aarti with it. Garba and Dandiya Raas are popular forms of dances and sees large participation from men and women dressed in traditional attire.

KERALA

A lot of emphasis is laid on studies during the last three days of Navratri in Kerala. Goddess Saraswati is worshipped on ashtami (eighth day) until dashami (tenth day) when books are finally taken out for reading.Poojas are performed at home and in temples and children are taken there to take the Goddess’ blessings. Young kids are taught how to write their first alphabet on rice on this day. The tenth day, Dussehra, is when Lord Rama defeated Ravana; on this day an effigy of Ravana is burnt.

UTTAR PRADESH

On the first day, pulses are sown on the first day and watered and worshipped through the nine days. The sprouts and seedlings are immersed in water after the pooja the custom denotes the harvesting customs of the place.After fasting for nine days, devotees break their fast by inviting home young girls who are considered as ‘devis’ themselves. After washing their feet and serving them prasad in the form of food,they are given gifts. Ramleela, an enactment of the epic Ramayana is a popular form of performance here. On the tenth day, effigies of Ravana, his brother Kumbhakarna and son Meghanad are burnt.Celebrations in Punjab are quite similar to those here. Some of them even organize jagrata, where, amidst devotional songs people are up all night and worship Goddess Shakti.

WEST BENGAL

In the East part of India, that is, West Bengal, Assam and Bihar. In West Bengal, Durga Puja is of great significance and the last for four to five days of Navratri are celebratedas Durga Puja. Celebrated in a glorious manner with pandals set up in different places, large idols of Goddess Durga on her lion, Mahishasur, Lord Ganesha, Kartikeya and Goddess Laxmi and Saraswati are erected. Bengali women dressed in their traditional red, white and golden sarees perform the pooja in a grand manner.

HIMACHAL PRADESH

The various shrines dedicated to Goddess Durga in the state see people swarming to the temples during this time. ‘Kullu Dussehra’ that happens during this time is celebrated on an international level with devotees from all over the world coming to attend the event. On this day, idols from temples are taken out in processions. During Navratri, devotees visit various temples in Kangra, Bilaspur and Una districts of the state.

ANDHRA PRADESH

Similarly, in Andhra Pradesh, the Kolu celebration of Navratri is called ‘Bathukamma Panduga’ meaning ‘Come Alive Mother Goddess.’ Women here make a beautiful stack of seasonal flowers, known as Bathukamma. With new sarees and jewelleries, they perform pooja for nine days and set afloat their Bathukammas in a water body .

TAMIL NADU

Goddess Durga, Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati are worshipped during these nine days, three days each and friends and relatives come over and exchange clothes, sweets and jewelleries. The highlight of the celebrations here is the decoration of the ‘Kolu’, which is actually a staircase with nine stairs, each representing the nine nights. Each stair is decorated with beautiful dolls and idols of Gods and Goddesses. These dolls are handed over from generation to generation.

KARNATAKA

In Karnataka, the ninth day of Mysore Dussehra is celebrat ed by worshipping items of daily importance, like kitchen tools, gadgets, vehicles, books and so on. People also worship items that are of importance to their respective professions thus, those in teaching profession worship books, pen, pencils; farmers worship their agricultural tools by decorating with flowers and worshipping on the day by invoking God’s blessings for prosperity in the coming years.

In Mysore, devotees worship the royal deity , Chamundi and celebrate the festival in a grand fashion.Mysore Dussehra is the state festival of Karnataka and is known for the festivities that take place during the period of Dussehra. On the ninth day of Dussehra, called Mahanavami, royal sword is worshipped and is taken on a procession of decorated elephants, camels and horses. On Vijayadashami, the last day , a traditional procession known as Jumboo Savari is held on the streets. The procession starts from the Mysore Palace and concludes at a place called Bannimantapa, where the banni tree is worshipped.The Dussehrafestivities finish on the night of Vijayadashami with a torchlight parade, known locally as Panjina Kavayatthu.