Navratri – Various Flavours across the States of India
Navratri is a 9-days long festival of devotion and of a nation-wide celebration. Nine forms of goddess Durga are worshipped over nine days and nine nights across the states of India. Navratri is a festival that not only is meant for the devotees, it also means a lot to the fun-lovers bunch among us. In addition, this is one festival that weaves the most culturally diverse country into one fabric of unity.
The colors of this diversity are spread across the spectrum called Navratri festival and are manifested in how this festival is celebrated in various states. Let’s take a look.
Navratri is celebrated in form of Durga Puja or Pujo in the state of West Bengal. The most crucial festival for Bengalis, Durga Puja, is celebrated during the last four days of Navratri. From children to youth to the elderly people, all seem high-spirited during Durga Puja. Their gorgeous outfits, beautiful and youthful makeups and jewelry, everything tells about their excitement to celebrate Durga Puja. Goddess Durga takes form of beautifully crafted, larger than life idols present at every Pandal. Everywhere you hear harmonies of Maha Aarti and resonances of Dhak during the evenings, amid the mild fragrance of Shiuli.
During Navratri, most Gurajati devotees fast for nine days to pay their tributes to goddess Durga. In every household, Garbi, an earthen pot with holes in it, is lit every day for nine days for performing an Aarti in the evening. Sounds of the Dandiya sticks can be heard everywhere and beautiful sights of men and women performing Garba Raas or Dandiya Raas can be seen in every neighborhood.
At Punjab, it starts with a fast for first seven days. Most Punjabis observe abstinence from drinking liquor and eating meat during the entire Navaratri. “Mata ki Chowki” and “Jagran” take place every night. At the end of Navratri, Kanjak are performed at every house. Nine girl children or young girls are invited from the neighborhood and are given food, gifts and money.
At Tamilnadu, Three goddesses Durga, Saraswati and Laxmi are worshiped in the entire state. There are ceremonies everywhere where relatives and friends are invited in the evenings and gifts are exchanged. A ritual called, Kolu, is observed where a temporary built staircase is embellished with dolls and other beautiful decorative items.
These nine days of Navratri are considered to be the most auspicious days of the year and many people buy properties, start new ventures and give gifts to each other during Navratri. During ceremonies, Haldi (turmeric) and Kumkum is applied to the foreheads of the married women. Also, Dandiya and Garba Raas are performed everywhere in Maharashtra, similar to the state of Gujarat.
With so many different colors and flavors of the same festival, entire India celebrates Navratri unlike anywhere else in the world. Whereas such a celebration signifies the unity of the country, it also offers a lot to the tourists that visit India during the Navratri festival.