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Navaratri and its Celebrations in different parts of India

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Navaratri and its Celebrations in different parts of India

The 9-day-long festival of Navaratri takes place across the length and breadth of the country. We are introducing you to the Navaratri Pujas in different states which glorifies the beauty and richness of this nine day festival.

Maharashtra

The celebrations of the festival Navaratri varies in different parts of Maharashtra. The most common celebration begins on the first day of Navaratri with Ghatasthapana (sthapana of a ghat), which literally means "mounting of a jar". On this day, rural households mount a copper or brass jar and other agriculture symbols such as turmeric root, leaves of mango tree, coconut and major staple grains (usually nine varieties) are placed. The jar is filled with water and is kept upon a small heap of rice kept on a wooden stool (pat). Also a lamp is lighted symbolizing knowledge and household prosperity, and kept alight throughout the nine nights of Navaratri.


The family worships the pot for nine days by offering rituals and a garland of flowers, leaves, fruits, dry-fruits, etc. with a Naivedya. 

Gujarat

Navaratri in Gujarat is one of the state's main festivals. The traditional celebrations include fasting for a day, or partially on each of the nine days, such as by not eating grains or just taking liquid, in remembrance of one of nine aspects of Shakti. The prayers are dedicated to a symbolic clay pot called Garbo, as a remembrance of the womb of the family and the universe. The lamp in the clay pot is lit, and this is believed to represent the one Atma (soul, self). The most visible is group dances from villages to towns called Garba, accompanied by live orchestra or devotional songs. The Garba dance sometimes deploys Dandiyas (sticks), coordinated movements and striking of sticks between the dancers. Post dancing, the group and the audience socialize and have a feast together. 

 

 Eastern states – Bengal, Assam, Tripura, Jharkhand, Bihar

The Navaratri is celebrated as the Durga Puja festival in the eastern states. It is the most important annual festival to Bengali Hindus and a major social and public event in eastern and north-eastern states of India, where it dominates the religious life. The occasion is celebrated with thousands of temporary stages called Pandals they are built in community squares, roadside shrines and large Durga temples in West Bengal. Durga Puja festival marks the battle of Devi Durga with the shape-shifting, deceptive and powerful buffalo demon Mahishasura, and her emerging victorious. It is also celebrated widely in the eastern parts of India such as Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Tripura respectively.

North India: Numerous Ramlila events take place in the Northern part of India, where acts from the story of Rama and Ravana are enacted by teams of artists. The festival and dramatic depiction of the virtues versus vices filled story is organized by communities in hundreds of small villages and towns.


So at the end of the Navratri, comes Dussehra, where the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna, and Meghanada are burnt to celebrate the victory of Rama over evil forces of Ravana on Vijayadashami.

 

Karnataka: Karnataka celebrates Navaratri as Dasara. Mysore has a long tradition of celebrating it, out of many other celebrations the Mysuru Dasara is a major one and is popular for its festivities with an elephant procession in Mysore. On the seventh day of the Navaratri, Saraswati Puja also starts where books on ancient Indian traditions and books of children are kept for Puja. These books are worshiped and read on the 10th day the Vijaya Dashami.

On the ninth day of Dasara ‘Mahanavami’, the royal sword is worshipped and is taken on a procession of decorated elephants and horses. The day after Navratri, on the Vijayadashami day, the traditional Dasara procession is held on the streets of Mysore. The main attraction of the procession is the idol of the Goddess Chamundeshwari, placed on a huge golden top. Another major attraction during these days is the Dasara exhibition, which is held on the grounds opposite of the Mysore Palace. The exhibition has numerous stalls selling all kinds of articles and artifacts.

Tamil Nadu: Each of the Devi Durga three Swarupa (forms), Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi and Maha Saraswati, are worshipped for three days each. The celebration starts with setting up steps (Kolu) at the corner of each household. The numbers vary between three and eleven. Golu dolls depicting mythological characters, animals and people are arranged on the steps. Friends and family are invited at this time. Sundal made with groundnut, peas and pulses is a very special dish at this time. On the last day, one of the idol is laid to rest signifying the end of the celebrations. The temples in many cities of Tamil Nadu celebrate the festival ritualistically. These temples have a large dance hall with artistically carved pillars, a structure entirely made of stone. This dance hall has traditionally been known as Mantapa or Mandapa. The festivities begin with Vedic chants inaugurating the dances and other ceremonies. Other temples in Tamil Nadu, such as those associated with Sri Vaishnavism, also celebrate the Navaratri festivities. It’s also widely celebrated in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. 

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