Festival of Navratri in India

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Navratri ,the celebration of nine auspicious nights, in India

Navratri Festival celebrations and Indian culture

Travel India-Guide brings to you detailed information on the Indian festival of Navratri. Navratri, the festival of nine nights and is dedicated to Goddess Durga and her nine forms. The word Navaratri literally means nine nights in Sanskrit; Nava meaning Nine and Ratri meaning nights. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Shakti/Devi i.e. female divinity, Goddess Durga is worshipped. According to the Hindu calendar, Navratri begins from the first day of the bright fortnight of Ashwin which usually coincides with the end of the rainy season.

The nine days have great religious significance as Goddess Durga, the divine mother, had destroyed the evil force (in the form of the demon Mahisashura) during this period. It also holds philosophical significance, as the two season's when navaratri is held - autumn and spring, are known as the teeth of Yama, the God of Death. The nine day Navaratri festival is held twice a year, once in the month of Chaitra (Mar-Apr) as Rama Navratri, and then in Aswayuja (Sept-Oct) as Duga Navaratri. It's said that worshipping in Navartra's brings material and spiritual welfare.

The festival is celebrated with true devotion and purity all over the country. People from various sections of the society irrespective of caste and creed celebrate this festival by visiting temples and offering pujas at the Mother’s feet. Religious fasting is generally observed by many. Some people fast for the first and last days of Navaratri, while many others fast for all 9 days.

For those who prefer to eat selected vegetarian food during the festival, some favourite pooja food for Navaratri's are: Kuttu ki roti, paneer ki sabzi, vegetable raita with cucumber and tomato, zeera aloo, sinharay ki burfi, makhane ki kheer, sabudana khichdi, etc.

In some places special puja samarohas are also held by setting the images of Mother Durga on beautifully decorated pandals. Temples dedicated to Shakti also make arrangement for pujas and bratas to mark these nine days as true symbols of devotion and adoration towards the divine mother.

The Navratri Mythology:

Hindu Mythology suggests that due t increased menace of the Daityas on earth, all the Gods came to maa Durga for rescue. After praying to Goddess Durga for nine consecutive days, she got pleased and made a prophecy declaring the birth of Lord Rama, who would fight all the demons and restore peace on earth. This is why last day of Navaratri is celebrated as Ram Navami, the birth of Lord Rama.

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