Navratri or Dussehra is a festival which is celebrated which much grandeur in many parts of the country. The festival is dedicated to the worship of Mother Goddess and her various forms, such as Lakshmi, Saraswathi, Durga and many more.
As India is a country which is diverse, not only in the geographically aspect, but also in its culture and religions, there are festivals which are celebrated throughout the nation, but in different ways. While there are festivals which are unique to a particular region, Navratri, or Dussehra, is celebrated throughout the country in different styles. Take a look at some of the different places and the different patterns as to how this grand festival is celebrated throughout the country.
1. Himachal Pradesh
The celebrations of Navratri takes place on the tenth day in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Unlike other states, the celebrations here begin when it ends for others. Navratri is known as Kullu Dussehra which is celebrate to honour the return of Rama to Ayodhya and the victory of good over evil. The festival is marked by the Rath Yatra of Raghunathji along the streets of Kullu for seven days which attracts a large number of visitors.
Navratri in Karnataka is known as Nadahabba, which in translation means the festival of the region. The festival is celebrated in honour of Mother Goddess who killed the demon Mahishasura, the 10th day or Vijayadashmi marks this event.
The celebration of this festival was introduced by the rulers of the Vijayanagar Empire and it passed on its legacy which is still celebrated in a grand manner across the state. Mysuru Dusara is the most well-known one which attracts visitors from across the globe and the country.
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Navratri in Kerala is celebrated to honour the goddess of learning, Saraswathi, along with Lakshmi and Durga. Keralites consider these nine days as the most auspicious days for the beginning of something new or learning something new.
During the last three days, people here worship Saraswathi, the goddess of learning, and place books and other objects of learning in front her image in households and temples. On the 10th day or Vijayadashmi, tiny tots are welcomed to the world of letters by writing a mantra, invoking Lord Ganesha, on rice and writing on the tongue with gold to invoke the goddess.
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In the state of Maharashtra, the festival symbolises new beginnings. The women folk mount a copper or brass jar filled with water, upon a heap of rice kept on a wooden stool and a lamp is lit to symbolise knowledge and prosperity, while the jar symbolises agricultural well-being. Like other states, on Ayudha Puja vehicles, tools, weapons, etc. are cleaned and offered puja.
During the nine days, the people of Telangana, especially the women, celebrate Bathukamma. For which women make floral stacks particularly using marigold in honour of the three major aspects of Mother Goddess namely, Saraswathi, Lakshmi and Durga. The stack is worshipped and later is set afloat in a lake or any other water body.
6. Tamil Nadu
During Navratri, a notable tradition followed across the state of Tamil Nadu, along with certain parts of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, is the festival of dolls, which is known as Bommai Kolu. The dolls include gods, goddesses, animals, birds, farmers, almost all sorts of dolls which are specially collected for this purpose. People arrange these dolls in their homes in a systematic order or in various themes and invite their friends and other family members to visit their homes to view the Kolu.
In Punjab, most of the followers of Hinduism fast for the first seven days of Navratri. On the 8th day, or Ashtami, the fast is broken after inviting nine young girls from their respective neighbourhoods who are considered as the nine different forms of Mother Goddess and are honoured with gifts which include money, food, clothes, etc.
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Navratri is one of the major festivals of Gujarat. People offer prayers to a symbolic clay pot called garbo which represents the womb of a family and the entire universe, a lamp is lit next to the pot which is considered as a representation of oneself.
The folk dance of Garba is a very common sight across the state during these nine days, the dance form also makes use of small sticks known as dandiyas and people dance in coordinated moves in concentric circles irrespective of their caste, class, race, sex, etc.
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9. West Bengal
Navratri is celebrated as Durga Puja in West Bengal, it is the most important festival for Bengali Hindus. The festival is celebrated with countless pandals or temporary stages which are built on grounds, roadsides and temples across the state.
The most important day of Durga Puja is the 6th day or Shashthi where devotees welcome the goddess and the eyes of the clay idols are opened, which also declares the festivities open. On the 7th day (Sapthami), eighth (Ashtami) and the ninth (Navami), Goddess Durga is worshipped along with Lakshmi, Saraswathi, Ganesha and Kartikeya. After this, on the tenth day or Vijayadashmi, a grand procession is held where the statues are ceremoniously taken to a water body and tearful adieu is given to goddess.
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