Navratri, a Goddess-oriented Hindu festival, is celebrated across India. Navaratri means ‘nine nights’. This festival is celebrated for 9 nights. During Navaratri, people worship different forms of the Goddess for wealth, health, and prosperity. Youngsters also look forward to the festival, as it features 9 nights of nonstop dandiya, a kind of folk dance in which men and women take part.
Fasting on Navratri:
Navaratri is a time of fasting for some communities. Fasting is actually a healthy practice for many reasons. It aids in detoxification, self-discipline, mindfulness, and enables healing.
Navaratri celebrations may differ from region to region. The festival celebrates the triumph of good over evil, like most Hindu religious festivals. Let us see how Navaratri is celebrated in 7 different states in India.
7 Breathtaking Avatars of Navratri in India
1. West Bengal
In Gujarat, Navaratri is a grand festival. A 9-day fast is observed by devotees in order to honor the 9 aspects of Goddess Shakti. All prayers are devoted to the clay pot Garbo. This pot represents an atman or the soul. During the 9 nights, people enthusiastically take part in the famous folk dance, Garba. This is a dance form in which people dance around the fire in circles.
In Bihar, lies Sitamarhi, the birthplace of Sita, wife of Sri Rama. Two types of Navaratri are celebrated in Bihar. One is held in the spring season, and the other in the autumn season. During the first Navaratri, Durga is worshipped, and during the second, the Ramanavami fair is the main event. Cattle trading, display, and sales of pottery and other handicrafts are part of the fair, which draws huge crowds.
Himachal has many Devi temples, so Navaratri is an important festival here. The celebrations in HP begin when in other parts of India, they come to a close. Sri Rama or Raghunath, as he is called, is worshipped along with other gods at the Dhalpur Maidan in Kully Valley, throughout the nine-day-long festival. The 10th day is called Kullu Dussehra. To signify the culmination of the festival, a piece of wood and grass are burnt on the banks of Beas River. This symbolizes the destruction of Lanka, as described in the Ramayana epic.
In Goa, the Goddess is honored by singing devotional songs. Images of the goddess are placed on decorated swings which are swung as the songs are sung. On the last day, there is Maha Arti. Many people come to see it.
In Karnataka, this festival is called Dasara. Hindu temples and cultural sites are illuminated for the occasion. Dasara events are sponsored by King Raja Wodeyar I. On Maha Navami, the 9th day of the festival, the royal sword is worshipped and taken in a procession, in which bejeweled elephants take part. It is called Jumbo Savari. On the 10th day, there are celebrations on the streets. The ancient city of Mysore is the cynosure of all eyes during the festival. In the 17th century, the Vijayanagara dynasty began the Navratri or Nadahabba celebrations to symbolize Durga’s victory over the evil demon Mahishasura, after whom Mysore city was originally named. The Mysore Palace is magnificently decorated for the occasion, with more than a lakh lights on Vijay Dashami day. Many devotees and tourists from all over India come here to witness it. Fairs are also held at this time.
Tamil Nadu celebrates the festival in a different way from the rest of India. They worship not only Durga but also Lakshmi and Saraswati. A unique feature of Navaratri celebrations here is the golu, which features several dolls displayed on a many-tiered platform. They can be of gods, goddesses, animals, and ordinary people too. These are usually handed down for generations. Nowadays, the golus is based on specific themes. Elaborate golu arrangements will be made by women in many households, and they invite friends and relatives to see the golu and take back gifts. Tradesmen and farmers do Pooja for their tools and weapons on Saraswati Pooja day.
Navaratri thus reflects the diversity of India as people from different parts of the country celebrate the festival in different ways. In all its breathtaking avatars, it pays homage to the Supreme Goddess, who took different forms to destroy evil forces and negativity in the world and bless her devotees with health, wealth, success, happiness, and peace.