Saturday, 24 September 2016


Navratri is one of the most celebrated festivals of our country. Navratri literally means the festival of nine pious nights. Goddess Durga is venerated during these nine days in her three supreme forms. This year navaratri starts on october 1st.
Goddess Durga embodies the representation of creation, power, and destruction. Her blessings are bestowed on us in the form of Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati on Navratri. In the first three days of Navratri, the Goddess is venerated as Durga, the following three days, Lakshmi is worshiped and the concluding days are dedicated to Saraswati.

There are five kinds of Navaratri. They can be categorized as:
       Vasant Navratri (Chaita Navratri) Vasanta Navratri
Asadh Navratri (Gupt Navratri) Gupt Navratri
Sharad Navratri  Sharad Navratri
Paush Navratri
Magha Navaratri Magha Navratri

Navaratri is the longest Hindu festival where each of its nine days holds its own significance. Navaratri 2016 commences with Pratipada and ends with Navami. Vijayadashami is the tenth day of Navaratri 2016 festival that symbolizes the winning of purity over evil.
Let’s give you the aroma of the Navratri mood beginning with the importance of each day of the festival.
First Day(Pratipada)  -Worship Goddess Shailputri

The first day of Navaratri is also known as Pratipada. On Pratipada, Goddess Durga is worshiped as Shailputri. ‘Shail’ means mountains while the literal meaning of ‘Putri’ is daughter. The Goddess is the embodiment of Goddess Durga and is believed to possess the powers of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.  The Goddess is also known as Parvati, Sati Bhavani or Hemavati.
Second Day(Dwitiya)  -Worship Goddess Brahmacharini

This is the second day of Navaratri where Goddess Durga is worshiped in the form of Brahmacharini. The name of the Goddess means as the one who follows pious strictness.
The form of Goddess Parvati grants prosperity and emancipation.
Third Day(Tritiya)  -Worship Goddess Chandraghanta

Chandraghanta is worshiped on Tritiya of of Navratri. The name Chandraghanta refers to the half moon on the forehead of Goddess Durga or Chandraghanta in the shape of a bell (ghanta).
She stands for courage and valour that is essential to fight the evil.
The third day of Navaratri  exhibits to characteristics of bravery and courage of Goddess Durga.
Fourth Day(Chaturthi)  -Worship Goddess Kushmanda

On the fourth day of Navratri, Goddess is worshiped in the form of Kushmanda. It is believed to that the universe got created by the Goddess as she laughed.
It is depicted to have 8 to 10 hands.
Fifth Day(Panchami)  -Worship Goddess Skandamata

The fifth day of Navaratri is known as Panchami. The fifth day owes to Skandamata which means mother of Kartikeya, who is also known as Skanda. Kartikeya led the army of angels and fought the demons. Skandamata is depicted holding an infant Kartikeya.
Sixth day(shashti)   - Worship goddess Katyayani

Goddess is venerated as katyayani on the sixth day of the festival.Venerated kata performed several austerities to accept the goddess in the form of a daughter. Impressed with the devotion goddess accepted his boon.The child born to Kata came to be known as Katyayani. Katyayani devi is worshipped on the sixth day of the navaratri.
Seventh day(saptami)  - worship godess Kalratri

The seventh day of Navratri venerates godess in the form of Kalratri, meaning a black dark night. The goddess is depicted having dark complexion with an aggressive posture, She symbolizes protection from all kinds of troubles. Kalratri is also known as Subhankari.
Eigth day(Ashtami)   - Worship Godess Maha Gowri.

This day symbolizes serenity and beauty when the goddess is worshipped as Maha Gowri.Maha Gowri is depicted as extremely beautiful, white as snow who marks to wash away the sins through her purity.
Ninth day(Navami)   - Worship Siddhidatri

On ninth day, Siddhidatri is venerated. Siddhidatri embodies all the eight siddhis.Lord Shiva worshipped Siddhidatri and was bestowed with all the siddhis. Lord Shiva came to be known as Ardhanarishvara.
The last day of Navaratri is followed by Vijayadasami. The tenth day is ultimately symbolizes the good destroying the evil. It is popularly celebrated as Vijayadasami where idols of Ravana, the demon king is burnt in many parts of India.
As per Hindu mythology, there is another legend attached to navaratri, it is belived that Mahishasura, a worshipper of Lord Shiva had grown into an inspiteful demon and started to kill innocent people.To stop his malevolent activities, Brhama Vishnu and Shiva united their powers to form the supreme. Goddess Durga.
She entered into a war with the demon an it lasted for the period of nine days and on the tenth day goddess ended the war by beheading the demon.These nine days to save the universe from the destruction signifiy the navaratri festival.
One more history behind the celebration of navaratri festival is, uma, the daughter of King Daksha married Lord Shiva against the will of her father.In response King arranged  ayagna to avenge Lord Shiva. When his daughter, Uma visited to take part in yagna, Lord Shiva was intentionally offended by the king.
Unable to bear the insult of her husband, Uma jumped into the  agni kund,which is why she came to be known as Sati
In her rebirth she married to Lord Shiva and made peace with her parents. It is said that resurrected Sati visited her parents and stays there for nine days which corresponds with the nine days of Navaratri festival.
 Let’s take a look at the ways Navaratri festival is celebrated in different parts of India.

Tamil Nadu
The Dravidian state devotes the nine days of Navaratri to Goddess Durga, Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati. Women belonging to the Iyer community invite their married female acquaintances and gift them symbols of marital goodwill- bangles, earrings etc. A special dish ‘Sundal’ is prepared of lentil seeds and pulses for the guests. Some people also creates a special makeshift staircase ‘Golu’ that consists of nine steps symbolizing the nine days of Navaratri. Idols of Gods and Goddesses are placed on the stairs that are handed over from generation to generation.

These are the few pictures of last Year's golu at my house.

Andhra Pradesh
Navaratri is celebrated as ‘Bathukamma Panduga’ in Andhra Pradesh. Bathukamma Panduga literally means ‘Come Alive Mother’. The term celebrates universal motherhood. Women prepare ‘Bathukka’ which is a beautiful stack of seasonal flowers which often appear like a pot. They have the ritual to position themselves in the centre and sing songs dedicated to Goddess Shakti. After performing the ritual, they float away the Bathukkas in lake water.
Kerala celebrates the last three days of Navaratri i.e. Ashtami, Navami and Vijaya Dashami. Being the most literate state in the country, this states the reason behind its literacy (piously). Since, Goddess Saraswati is worshiped during the last three days, they firmly believe that Saraswati Mata will grant them the wisdom of learning and knowledge.
They place the books and musical instruments in front of the Goddess on Ashtami. They pray the Goddess for granting them knowledge and education. On Vijaya Dashami, they take the books out for learning.
The celebrations in Karnataka dates back to the era of Raja Wodeyar. Although, the purpose of celebration is the same i.e. triumph of Goddess Durga over Mahishasura-the resident of Mysore, the celebration is done according to the traditions of the Vijaynagar empire of 17th century. Processions of elephants are taken to roads.
West Bengal
In West Bengal, Navaratri has its synonym as Durga Puja. Durga Puja is considered to be the most joyous and important festival for the Bengalis. It is celebrated with a great pomp and lavishness. This is a temporal sight when the festival begins from the sixth day of Navaratri 2016-Shashthi. Maa Durga is welcomed to her maternal home from the heavens. Idols of Goddess Durga along with her children-Kartik, Ganesh, Lakshmi and Saraswati are sculpted in the Durga Puja. The festival becomes worth considering if one talks about Navaratri.
Maharashtra regards Navaratri as a good time to initiate things. Some prefer to buy a car, or even venture into the investing arena. The Maharashtrians find it to be an auspicious time. Married women exchange the gesture of ‘Saumangalyam’ by putting Haldi and Kumkum onto their foreheads.
Gujarat is the centroid of the most vibrant Navratri celebration. A clay pot known as Garbha or womb is the source of life on earth. Women dance around the water-filled Garbha wearing vibrant costumes. This dance is also termed as Garbha that derives its name from the iconic claypot. Dandiya Raas is another contemporary attraction of the festival where people dance in coordination with each other. In Dandiya Raas event, sticks of equal length are used for the dance.
Himachal Pradesh
It is actually the most important festival for the Himachal Hindus. The tenth day of the festival is popularly known as Kullu Dussehra in Himachal Pradesh. While Navaratri festivity ends everywhere on the tenth day, it marks the beginning of the festival in this state. People gather together in a pompous mood, marking the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after killing the demon, Ravana. On Dussehra, the deities from temples are taken out to roads in processions.
The people from Punjab perform fasts to show their devout austerity to Goddess Durga- the symbol of Shakti or power. The fast is performed for the first seven days, which breaks on the eighth day of Navratri by organizing a Bhandara or feast for nine young girls known as Kanjak. They are also gifted red Chunris or Dupattas. A Jagrata is another special feature to them, where devotional songs are sung in the honor of Goddess and keep awake the whole night.

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