India and its love for festivities are an evergreen love story. Needless to say, one of the grandest festivals of all – The Maha Navratri. Celebrated all over India with the uniqueness of each region, Navratri is one of the most sought-after occasions in the country. Here, we shall go over the different places you can visit this Navratri and relish the beauty of the celebrations.
West Bengal: The celebration of Navratri in Bengal is a visual treat. Durga Pooja is the season’s highlight, involving the decoration of huge Durga idols, women dressing up in beautiful red and white, and the city filled with lights rejoicing the homecoming of Maa Durga after defeating Mahishasura. If you wish to be in Kolkata to witness its grandeur, eclectic food, decorated streets, nightlife and the much adored Durga Pooja, Navratri is the best time to visit.
Uttarakhand: In the land close to the Himalayas, the Navratri celebration in Uttarakhand will look like a celebration in heaven. The multitude of lamps and lights warm the place, the processions in the city with people chanting hymns, and singing sacred songs, and the dancing and feasting add life to the already dreamy and beautiful land. Ramlila (a play that portrays Rama’s victory over Ravana) is something everyone looks forward to. The city of Almora is lit with lights, pomp and show and is one of the best places to experience the season’s excitement.
Gujarat: Talk about celebrations, talk about Gujarat. Suppose you are a people who love to dance, enjoy yourselves, relish a grand play of colours, eat delicious, colourful palettes and vibe to celebratory music. In that case, Gujarat is a must-visit for you during Navratri. Every evening, during Arti to the goddess, people gather and perform the Garba (dance routine) to express their joy and adoration for the goddess. It is interesting to note that preparations for the decor, food, holy rituals, and even Garba, start way ahead of the festival, which shows how significant Navratri is to Gujarat.
Karnataka: South celebrates Dussehra for 10 days, with unique themes for each day. Huge celebrations happen in the state, right from music and dance festivals, decorating elephants, camels and horses in beautiful embellishments and taking them in procession, wrestling jousts that attract talent from across the country is as exciting as it can get. The Mysore Palace is aglow with infinite lights. An extraordinary royal assembly occurs during Dussehra, and the king’s sword is worshipped, making the palace look beautiful.
Tamil Nadu: For Tamil Nadu, Navratri is an occasion to celebrate the goddess and the love for family. Most households host ‘golu’ – an aesthetic arrangement of idols in specially designed steps symbolising the presence of goddess Durga in the house; friends and families are invited to watch the golu, and gifts and savouries are exchanged. The streets are illuminated with lights, people singing divine songs, and stalls selling gold dolls, crackers and food. In all temples, Navratri is celebrated by worshipping the nine forms of Durga, with each day dedicated to each state. If you are a person who loves intimate celebrations, do pay a visit to Tamil Nadu.
Maha Navami is celebrated on the ninth day of the Shukla paksha of Ashwin on the final day of the Navratri festival. On this day, also considered the paran day for Navratri fasts, devotees break their fasts after organising Kanya Pujan or Kumari puja at home and worshipping the ninth avatar of Maa Durga Siddhidatri. A delicious prasad of halwa, puri and kaala chana is prepared on this day which is offered as bhog to the goddess and then served to the little girls during Kanya Pujan, who symbolises nine different avatars of Maa Durga. On Navami, the goddess is also worshipped as Mahishasurmardini as the legend has it that on this day, Maa Durga was able to fatally hit demon Mahishasur before killing him on the next day, also known as Vijayadashami.