Navratri - Navdurga - Navratri Celebrations in Different parts of India
Navratri 2014 : 31st to 7th April
What is Navratri ? |
Significance of Navratri |
Navratri Pooja |
Kalash Sthaapna in Navratri
Nine forms of Goddess Durga |
Goddess Durga Aarti |
Durga Chaalisa |
Navratri Celebrations |
Navratri and Garba dance
108 names of Goddess Durga |
Durgapuja, over the years, has outgrown its religious boundaries as
people all over the country celebrate it with the same fervour and
devotion. There are various ways in which Ma Durga is worshiped. The
rituals and customs vary due to vast difference in the culture of Indian
States. But, all these follow the century old tradition and practice
that intermingle with historical ethos.
In West Bengal, Durga Puja is five days of festivity. It hinges around
Mahalaya day, a week before the actual celebrations begin. It was on
this day that Durga was assigned the task of eliminating evil. So the
familiar pose of Durga unleashing her wrath on an out powered assura
(demon). Legend goes that Ram wanted to invoke the blessings of Durga
before his great war with Ravan. He performed the Durga Puja despite the
time of year not being right. That is why the puja is also known as Akal
Bodhon, or untimely invocation.
Navratri is devoted to Amba mataji. In some homes, images of mataji are
worshiped in accordance with accepted practice. This is also true of the
temples, which usually have a constant stream of visitors from morning to night.
The most common form of public celebration is the performance of garba or
dandia-ras, Gujarat's popular folk-dance, late throughout the nights of
these nine days in public squares, open grounds and streets.
In Maharashtra, Durga Puja is a fun occasion. Puja is performed each day and
devotees don't remove the flower garland that is put each day on the idol or
image of the deity. After nine days all nine are removed together. Young girls
who have not attained maturity are invited to eat, play games, dance and sing.
An elephant is drawn with rangoli and the girls play guessing games. Then they
are fed a meal of their choice.
People of Punjab strictly observes Navratri. Some Punjabus have only milk for
seven days before breaking the fast on ashtami or navami. They worship Durga Ma
and do the aarti at home. Some of them have fruit or a complete meal once a day
and intoxicating drinks or meat and other form of entertainment is completely
avoided. At the end of the fast devotees feed beggars or worship little girls
who spell the Shakti of the Mother Goddess.
In Kerala, Durga Puja signifies the beginning of formal education for every
child aged 3-5 years. While puja goes on in the temple for all ten days, it is
only the concluding three days which are really important. Ashtami is the day of
Ayudya Puja, when all the tools at home are worshiped. Custom dictates that no
tools be used on this day. On navami, day, Goddess Saraswati is honored by
worshiping the books and records at home. Thousands throng the Saraswati
temple at Kottayam during this period to take a dip in the mysterious holy pond
whose source is yet unknown. Large gatherings are also seen at the famous
temples at Thekkegram (Palghat), in which there are no idols -- only huge
mirrors. A devotee finds himself bowing before his own reflection which
indicates that God is within us.
The favorite deities of Kashmir are Lord Shiva and Serawali Ma Durga, the
one who rides the tiger. Pundits and Muslims alike vouch that Navratri is
important. No big pandals here, each Hindi house-hold does the pooja at home.
All the adult members of the household fast on water. In the evenings, fruit may
be taken. As elsewhere, Kashmiris grow barley in earthen pots. They believe that
if the growth in this pot is good, there is prosperity all year.
The most important ritual for Kashmiri Pandits is to visit the temple of
guardian goddess Kheer Bhawani on all nine days. On the last day of Navratri, an aarti is held at the temple after which people break their fast. On Dussehra
day, Ravana's effigy is burnt. Devotees also visit the Hari Parbat temple.