Indian all around the world are welcoming the festival season. It is almost Diwali time. But before Diwali, come the Navratri. Literal meaning of Navratri is “nine nights”. The celebration is devoted to power (Shakti) or nine forms of Goddess Durga. The festival symbolizes victory of good over evil.
With the same message, many places in India celebrate this festival in different ways. The entire country is beautifully lit up and you can hear music, see people dancing and enjoying to the fullest. People wear bright and stunning traditional outfits. But different cities might follow different rituals. Here is a list of 9 places in India that celebrate Navratri in different ways.
In the state of West Bengal Navratri is celebrated as Durga Puja. The state celebrates the last four days of the festival, which are Saptami, Ashthami, Navami and Dashami. These days are celebrated with great splendor with colorful and enormous idols of Goddess Durga. The Goddess is welcomed on the 6th day with warmth and love. And on the 10th day, idols of the goddess are immersed in water. During Durga Puja, the entire state is beautifully decorated and is worth watching.
In this state three Goddess are worshiped. Goddess Durga, Saraswati and Laxmi. Each goddess is on a particular day. In Tamil Nadu, family members and relatives perform the puja and later on exchange gifts. Newly married women are given bangles, bindi and other ornaments. A ritual called the Kolu is performed here. It is an interesting ritual, where a temporary staircase is decorated with different dolls. These dolls are said to be further passed on to the next generations.
This beautiful state celebrates Navratri in a different way. The Hindu families here only celebrate the 10th day of the Navratri. It is called Kullu Dussehra, it marks the return of Lord Rama to his home, Ayodhya. People are seen dancing and singing on this auspicious day. Some even call their relatives and have a get together and pay their respects to Goddess Durga.
In this state you can hear clapping of the dandiya sticks and the sound of the dhol all Navratri. People here celebrate Navratri with a lot of enthusiasm and devotion. In the evening, a clay pot called the Garbi which symbolized the source of life is used for the Puja. The pot is filled with water, a silver coin and a betel nut. It is then beautifully decorated. Women perform the traditional Garba dance while spinning around the clay pot. After that,men join in which is called the Dandiya Raas.
People in this state have a unique way of paying their respect to the Goddess. People here fast for the first seven days. And in those seven day, they organize jagraats, where they dance and sing religious songs all night long. On the 8th day or the Ashtami, they break the fats by giving food, money and gifts to nine girls,called kanjak. They represent the nine forms of the Goddess.
In this state, people celebrate the last three days. Navratri is related to education here. Keralities consider these three days highly auspicious to start learning something new. People here place books or musical instruments in front of Goddess Saraswati. The books are then worshiped and people pray the Goddess to grant them knowledge and wisdom. On the 10th day, these books are taken out and read.
The strong spirit people of Maharashtra celebrate Navratri by buying a new car, house or making business deals. They consider this period as highly auspicious and think it’s lucky to start something new. People here also hold Garbas and dandiyas, like Gujarat. The married women of Maharashtra invite other married women to their homes and apply kumkum and haldi on each other’s foreheads and exchange gifts.
This state follow a 400 year old ritual while celebrating Navratri. Till date people here celebrate in the same as it was celebrated during the Vijayanagaradynasty called the Vijayadashami. The 10th day is called the “NaadaHabba” and marks the victory of Goddess Dugra over demon Mahishasura. People here celebrate by marching elephants on the road and by organizing exhibitions and fairs.
The people of this state celebrate the “Bathukamma Panduga” which means “come alive mother goddess”. These nine days are devoted to celebrate Maha Gauri, who is the goddess of womanhood. Women here make stunning flower stack which are also called Bathu kamma. After making this, they all gather together wearing beautiful silk sarees and perform the puja. At the end of the Navratri, women take these Bathu kammas and leave them floating in a lake.
It is really fascinating how different states in the same country celebrate a particular festival in different ways. All of them follow different rituals.