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Revel in the 9 Days of Navaratri

by Madhav Srinivasan 5 year, 6 months ago

Celebrations during the festival of Navaratri are extensive and colorful, and the festive atmosphere will be infectious to say the least. Here’s all you need to know about the festival…

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 GujaratAs 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.

The Story 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.

Celebrations 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!

Various classical 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.

A Little Something About Vijayadasami

Vijayadasami is 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. 

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