Festivals and celebrations are the heart of people in India. Navratri is one of the most important festivals in the country. It holds significance in North India, West Bengal and West India. Navratri is a holy devotion to nine incarnations of Goddess Durga. Durga is the mother of the universe. She has the power of creation, preservation and destruction of the eternity. Navratri gets celebrated for nine days with a common theme of good winning over evil.
GUJARAT AND THE CONNECTION TO NAVRATRI:
Gujarat is a state in the western part of India. It is famous as the jewel of the Western India. Navratri in Gujarat is the festive season with religious and cultural tones. Gujarat is the only state worshipping Goddess Durga with garba dance and traditional music. Gujaratis, non-gujaratis and international visitors can’t miss being a part of the garba culture. Garba events are organised at a large scale for all the nine days. Raas garba was derived from the folklore of Lord Krishna singing and dancing with his gopis. It has evolved to include various forms like dodhiyu, lehree, trikoniya. Devotees dance with bright costumes which is an experience to the eyes. In the modern time, especially Baroda, there is a mix of high-energy musical performances with singers.
Girls doing garba in traditional Gujarati Chaniya Chollis
The month has begun with the excitement of shopping for the festival of Navratri. Yes, the women are in the search for the most spectacular jewelry and fashion ka fatka Chania cholis.
Relation to mythology: Lord Rama is the most ideal form of god in India. He had worshiped all the incarnations of Goddess Durga for nine days. He did it to get all the powers to destroy evil Ravana and get his wife Sita back. Sita had been imprisoned by Ravana in Sri Lanka. Those nine days imply the festival of Navratri. Dussehra or Vijaydashmi on the tenth day celebrates the destruction of Ravana and his demonic powers.
Amazing view of Navaratri Maha Pooja at Umiya Temple, Surat, Gujarat
WEST BENGAL AND DURGA POOJA:
West Bengal is a state in East India. It is located between the Himalayas and the Bay of Bengal. It was the capital during the British Rule in India.
Durgotsav is the largest festival of Bengali Hindus all over the world. In Hinduism, there are many gods, goddesses and demons. Goddess Durga was born from the energies of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma. She destroyed the demon Mahishasur, who had mortal powers. In Bengal, Durga Pooja happens for the last six days of Navratri. Her win over evil on the tenth day is known as Vijayadashmi. Gigantic pandals (temporary shed) and temples house the huge clay idols of Goddess Durga. The idol of Durga is worshiped for five days. Later, the Idols get carried in magnificent procession to a local river for immersion. The immersion symbolizes Durga’s reunion with Lord Shiva. The end of durgotsav is a sacred occasion to begin new businesses and life.
A unique way of making visitors and devotees to be a part of Durga Pooja is a heritage walk.
The devotion of a Bengali Hindu is participation in the pooja.
THE RELIGIOUS SIMPLICITY IN NORTH-INDIA:
During navratri, there is an increase in the pilgrims visiting the Vaishno Devi Temple. The temple is in Jammu and Kashmir, which is the northern most state in India. In Himachal Pradesh, devotees visit the Shri Bajreshwari Devi Temple in Kangra. They follow a unique way of worshiping Goddess Durga with butter.
Some events: International Dusshera celebrations in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh.
The festive culture of Indians has spread across the world. To celebrate the tenth day of Navratri in United States or any country check out Navaratri events here.
SOUTH-INDIA CELEBRATES NAVRATRI IN A UNIQUE WAY:
South Indians worship Durga for first three days of the festival. Goddess Lakshmi gets worshiped for the next three days. Goddess Saraswathi gets worshiped on the last three days of Navratri. In this part of the country, devotion is more important than rituals. Devotees see Navratri as an expression of wisdom, learning and artistic skills. Navratri gets celebrated as Bommla Koluvu in Andhra Pradesh. In Tamil Nadu and Kerala it called Navarathri. Hindus in Karnataka observe Dusshera for ten days. In Andhra Pradesh, devotees display idols (kolu) to represent Saraswathi. On simplicity of faith, they light lamps and offer sweets as prasadam (holy offering).
Navaratri in 2015 will start on 13th of October and will continue for 9 days until 21st of October. Navratri is one festival and has many diversified ways of celebrations throughout the country.
In which state are you planning to celebrate the festival?
Check out all the upcoming Navaratri events in your city here.
Read more: Here are 9 reasons which make Navratri everyone’s favorite festival: