Navaratri, a term
that can be literally translated to ‘Nine Nights’, is a festival that’s
dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Shakti as it celebrates the nine different forms
of the Goddess. Though there are four different Navaratris, the one that’s
widely celebrated is Sharana Navaratri in the months of September-October,
followed by Vasanta Navaratri that falls between March-April. Vasanta Navaratri
ends in Rama Navami and for this reason; it is also called Rama Navaratri.
The more popular
Maha Navaratri is called Dussehra in Karnataka and Durga Puja in West Bengal.
There are Dandiya nights where everyone does the Dandiya dance across North
India, particularly Gujarat. As this is a great
time to celebrate all that’s good with life like wealth, wisdom and family,
people visit with their family and friends and exchange sweets and gifts. This
is the start of the festival season; so many fairs are held around the country
in most villages, towns and cities.
Most people consider
this to be an auspicious time as they believe that the Goddess Shakti resides
in their house during Navaratri. People living in villages buy gold, vehicles and
land during this time.
Behind the Celebration
There are many
stories about the origin of the Navaratri festival. The most widely accepted
one is the story of the Devi killing the demon Mahishasuran in the present day
Chamundi Hills. People in the northern parts of India celebrate Navaratri as
the return of Lord Rama from Ayodhya and people in the western parts of the
country celebrate it as Durga Puja, one of the most auspicious times in the
calendar for them.
For people in the southern
reaches, Navaratri is a time to celebrate the Goddess in all her avatars or
aspects; so all houses are strung with decorative lights and dolls depicting
various themes and stories about the Goddess. Such a splendid display in a
house is called ‘golu’ and this is done mostly in Tamil Nadu.
During Mysore Dussehra
In Karnataka, Navaratri
is celebrated as Dussehra, including tenth day celebrations of Vijayadasami.
The Mysore Royal House celebrates Dussehra to this day with pomp and splendor.
The entire city wears a festive look and all government offices and buildings
are lit up beautifully.The Palace is strung
with lights visible from great distances and when viewed from the slopes of the
Chamundi Hills, it is a sight to behold!
performances are arranged, presided by the Royal family and singers and dancers
from all across the country come to Mysore for performing during Dussehra.
Giant screens set up around the city relay all the performances for the merriment
of the locals. On Vijayadasami, the famous elephant procession is held and this
is an awe-inspiring sight.
Something About Vijayadasami
considered to be a very auspicious time for starting new ventures. Most new
students are enrolled on Vijayadasami than on any other day. Even most schools
take new children in for the first time informally on Vijayadasami day.
Almost all arts and
craft lessons are started on this day and across India, all tools of the trade
are worshipped on Saraswathi Puja and used on Vijayadasami. Even buses and
trucks are washed and decorated.
When you take a trip
to India, make sure that you witness the Navaratri celebrations at their
festive best, whichever part of the country you might travel to.