With Navratras starting from 13 October, India is all set to begin the idea of long celebrations and festive merriment. The 9-day long celebration that starts from today is dedicated to the virtues of Goddess Durga.
Navratri denotes to the nine nights and ten days celebrations that starts with the worship of Goddess Durga and eventually ends with the beginning of Dussehra on the tenth day of the celebration. Not just in India, but Navratri is also popular in other countries like Nepal. Setting grounds for other festivals like Dussehra and Deepawali, Navratri according to the Hindu mythology is the fasting period where devotees imbibe blissful power and absolute energy through soul submission.
The Scientific Reason behind the Onset of Celebrations:
The onset of spring and autumn season is said to be the most influential junctions for climatic and solar changes. As far as the religious connotation is concerned, the period is sacred, prosperous and full of opportunities. This is the reason for the flexible shift in the dates (that are always determined according to the lunar calendar). As per the Hindu mythology, Navratri is the time when Lord Shiva allows Goddess Durga to visit her maternal home for the duration of 9 days. During the celebrations, devotees prepare a lot of dishes to end the long day fast. It is notable that throughout India, Navratri is celebrated in different ways.
Northern India with Kullu ‘Dussehra’ and ‘Dussehra in Varanasi’:
The culmination of Navratri and beginning of Dussehra brings an end to the demon deity ‘Ravan’ who was defeated by Lord Rama. It is believed that on the day of Dussehra, Lord Ram took the blessing of Goddess Durga to finally kill Ravan and save wife Sita. Varanasi in the North India is the oldest city to celebrate Dussehra with high fervor.
Dussehra in Kullu is celebrated as an international festival that goes for the duration of 7 days. As a festival that becomes the hub for tourist attraction from all over the world, the history of Kullu’s Dussehra goes back to the 17th century. It is said that a local king named ‘Jagat Singh’ installed an idol of Lord Ram on his throne as homage of penance, and declared Lord Raghunath (Ram) the ruling deity. During the Kullu Dussehra celebrations, a devotee can witness the homecoming of about 250-350 idols, coming in decorated chariots to pay homage to Lord Ram. The mystic rath-yatra, international dance festive, overnight celebration makes the Kullu Dussehra a must visit.
Eastern India with Sharad Navratras:
While the festive gist starts for the duration of nine days, the last four days are specifically remarkable for the dramatic zeal of celebration in Sharad Navratras. Eastern India, especially West Bengal and Odisha, waits throughout the year for celebrating the festive days of Durga Puja. Durgashtami is West Bengal is the biggest celebration where the exquisite use of craft and culture denotes Goddess Durga slaying demon Mahishasura. The fifth day marks the onset of ‘Visharjan’ ceremony.
The Dancing Colorful Dandiya Nights in Gujarat: Western India
Adding the colorful fun dose of excitement, Dandiya nights are celebrated in Gujarat where people play raas-garba and Dandiya through their energetic performances. Navratras in Gujarat (especially Ahmadabad, Rajkot, Surat, and Baroda) is celebrated to pay tribute to Goddess Ambe.
Southern India with Golu and Ayudha Puja:
Karnataka celebrates Ayudha Puja during the ninth day of Mysore Dasara (that includes worship of daily utility items like computers, books, vehicles and kitchen tools). The divine connection between utility tools and God is the urge that supports the livelihood concerns. Touching the finest heights of grandeur, Mysore Dasara celebrates the traditional slaying of Mahishasura by Goddess Chamundi. Mysore Dasara shares a typical history of 400 years of celebration.
Bastar Dussehra in the Central India:
Unlike any other Dussehra celebration, Bastar Dussehra that is celebrated in Chhattisgarh marks the onset of 75-day long Dussehra celebrations. Even though the event has nothing to do with Lord Ram of Goddess Durga, the Dandakaranya region in Bastar celebrates the event to pay homage to Devi Maoli and her sisters. The tribal festival involves the staged kidnapping of Tribal chief on the 12th day (followed by the tale of his return).