The much-awaited festival season in India has just begun. Celebrations of Navratri are an example of India’s seamless diversity. In Sanskrit, the word Navratri means nine nights. During these nine nights and ten days, people venerate nine different avatars of the Goddess. Navratri is one of the most important festivals for Hindus, celebrated with fervor and enthusiasm throughout the country.
Diversity is a way of life in India where everything is unique. Whether it is cuisine, culture, languages spoken or the clothes one wears depends on which part of the country you find yourself in. So, it isn’t surprising that ways of worship also change based on different local customs and traditions.
This year the nine days of revelry and veneration of the Goddess Shakti in her 9 avatars began on 29th September concluding on 8th October on Dussehra. Read on to know how others are celebrating Navratri
Navratri Celebration in Gujarat: Navratri is one of the main festivals celebrated in Gujarat. The whole state gears up to take part in the nine days of Navratri revelry. Praying to decorative clay pots called ‘Garbo’, these pots stand for the womb where the family and the universe live while the lit earthen lamp inside symbolizes ‘life within.’
The celebrations are incomplete without the famous folk dance Garba and Dandiya. Throughout the state, people gather to dance during Navratri. Both men, women, and children prepare months in advance for a Garba night right from clothes, jewelry, accessories, and even learning to dance the Garba or Dandiya well. Some of the most well-known Garba celebrations are in Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Surat, Gandhinagar, and others.
Navratri Celebration in West Bengal: Navratri is Durga Puja in West Bengal celebrated during the last five days. They venerate Goddess Durga in her warrior form Kali with weapons in her hand to symbolize the victory of good over evil. The eighth day of the nine-day festival is very auspicious and called Durgashtami. They immerse the clay idols in the river on the fifth day. Most families in West Bengal and other parts of northeastern India offer prayers at home and temples and then check out various pandals nearby.
These five days are for fun, veneration of the Goddess, taking rest, spending time with family; not to forget, pandal hopping where each pandal is unique with its own decorative theme. Traditional red and white saris for women and kurtas for the men is what you will find at most pandals.
Navratri Celebration in Tamil Nadu: Come Navratri and most Hindus bring out their best figurines and statues of Gods, Goddesses, animals, birds, farmers, and others to set up their Kolu. Known as Bommai Kolu i.e. Doll festival. People arrange these beautifully created dolls and figurines in various themes or as a depiction of stories in the house. People then invite their friends and relatives to see their Kolu display.
On Mahanavami i.e. the ninth day, many perform the Auydha puja worshipping all kinds of tools, implements of agriculture, musical instruments, books, computers, machinery, automobiles, etc. just like Goddess Saraswati. The idea is to worship the tools of the trade that help you earn your living. The tenth day is ‘Vijaya Dashami’ celebrating Lord Ram’s victory in the battle against King Ravana.
Navratri Celebration in Andhra Pradesh: Locals in Andhra Pradesh, especially the women celebrate Bathukamma. The women use various flower varieties especially marigold to create beautiful colored flower stacks that honor three major forms of the Goddess Shakti i.e. Sarasvati, Laxmi, and Durga. These flower arrangements symbolize the Goddess and locals offer prayers to it. Later, the flower stacks are set afloat in a lake, river, or any other water body nearby.
Navratri Celebration in Kerala: In Kerala, the locals pray to the Goddess of learning Sarasvati along with the Goddess Laxmi and Durga. These nine days are some of the most auspicious days to begin something new, learn something or buy something new. On the 8th-day of the Navratri festival, the people worship Goddess Sarasvati. They place books and other learning tools before her to seek her blessings at temples and homes. On Vijaya Dashami, children enter the world of learning by writing a mantra to invoke Lord Ganesha on rice and using gold to write on the tongue to invoke the Goddess.
Navratri Celebration in Karnataka: Nothing symbolizes a celebration like a platter full of lip-smacking food. Well, when in Karnataka celebrating Navratri, be ready to enjoy the visual spectacle and gastronomical extravaganza that awaits you on Dussehra especially in Mysuru. Make sure you get a chance to enjoy the incomparable celebrations in Mysuru. They decorate the Mysore palace with over 1 lakh earthen lamps that light up the night, making it an unforgettable sight. Don’t miss the elephant procession that starts at the palace all the way to the Chamundi temple. Dussehra festivities in Mysuru attract thousands from around the world and India.
Navratri Celebration in Maharashtra: Like all other festivals, Navratri finds a place in the list of Maharashtra festivals. People eagerly await this festival to try their Garba moves and have fun. Navratri symbolizes new beginnings. The women mount copper or brass pots filled with water on a mound of rice on a tall wooden stool with a lit lamp next to it. The lamp signifies knowledge and prosperity, and the pot signifies wellbeing in agriculture. People also perform the Ayudha Puja like other states offering tools and implements of trade to the Goddess to seek her blessings. There are several Navratri pandals hosted across Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra where you can enjoy Garba and Dandiya too.
Navratri Celebration in Himachal Pradesh: Unlike other states in India, Navratri festivities in Himachal Pradesh begin after Dussehra. Called Kullu Dussehra as it’s held in the Kullu Valley at the Dhalpur Maidan fairground. The celebrations center on Lord Rama or Raghunath as he’s called in Himachal where idols of local Gods and Goddess are brought to the fairground after a holy procession through the valley. This 7-days-long festival finishes after a wooden heap with grass is set on fire to symbolize the burning of Lanka on the banks of the River Beas. Make sure you spend at least two days to enjoy the festivities to the fullest.
Navratri Celebration in Punjab: In Punjab, people pray to Goddess Durga just like other states. During the Devi Navratri, temples organize Jagran every day. On the eighth and the ninth day of this festival devotees invite young girls aged 5-10 years considered Goddess and honored with food, gifts, and money. Mata Longawali Temple in Amritsar, Chandi Devi Temple and Mansa Devi Temple in Chandigarh have some of the best festivities in Punjab.
If these festivities interest, you then maybe its time you plan a trip to see them in person. To find the best deals connect with Kesari Tours.