Indian Festivals - Navaratri

Maa Durga's sculpture during Navaratri.
Maa Durga's sculpture during Navaratri.

There is no doubt why India is called the country of festivals. You can’t find any month in the Indian calendar that goes without a festival. The reason behind this is India’s diversity – of religions cultures and traditions. Every now and then, we find ourselves engaged in the enjoyment of some festivals. Sometimes, even one doesn’t completely go when the next one hops in. These festivals are also a good reason for binding the souls of the fellow countrymen and maintaining the unity; that unity for which India is renowned – “Unity in Diversity”.

One such festival is the Navaratri festival. Although this festival is of the Hindus, but other people from almost all other religions in India celebrate it with equal joy. So, here I am going to describe this festival.

The Navaratri festival begins on the “Prathma (Shukl Paksh)” day of the “Asvina” month of the Hindu calendar. This time usually falls between the end of September and the starting of October. This is the time when the soft pinkish winter just starts to enter the atmosphere silently. Mornings are cool with bright sunlight and everywhere the enchanting of the mantras and the jingling of the temple bells can be heard. The Navaratri festival is a nine-day fest for the worship of the Hindu Goddess Durga. Each day of this fest is related with a specific Swaroop or incarnation of Goddess Durga. In different parts of the country, this festival holds its own unique importance. Like, in states such as West Bengal, Punjab, Gujarat etc, people celebrate this festival in their own special way. Several places such as Maa VaishnoDevi Dham in Katra, Jammu and Maa ShardDevi Dham in Maihar, Madhya Pradesh witness the visit of several thousands of people especially during these days that come for the holy ‘Darshan’ of the incarnations of Goddess Durga.

Maa Shailputri.
Maa Shailputri.
Maa Brahmacharini.
Maa Brahmacharini.
Maa Chandraghanta.
Maa Chandraghanta.
Maa Kushmanda.
Maa Kushmanda.
Maa Skandmata.
Maa Skandmata.
Maa Katyayani.
Maa Katyayani.
Maa Kalratri.
Maa Kalratri.
Maa Mahagauri.
Maa Mahagauri.
Maa Siddhidatri.
Maa Siddhidatri.

The nine incarnations of Goddess Durga and their respective days of worship during the festival.

Day of the festival
Tithi (day according to hindu calendar)
Swaroop (incarnation)
First day
Shukla Paksh/Prathama
Shailputri
Second day
Shukla Paksh/Dwitiya
Brahmacharini
Third day
Shukla Paksh/Tritiya
Chandraghanta
Fourth day
Shukla Paksh/Chaturthi
Kushmanda
Fifth day
Shukla Paksh/Panchami
Skandmata
Sixth day
Shukla Paksh/Shashthi
Katyayani
Seventh day
Shukla Paksh/Saptami
Kalratri
Eighth day
Shukla Paksh/Ashtami
Mahagauri
Ninth day
Shukla Paksh/Navami
Siddhidatri
The nine incarnations of Goddess Durga and their respective days of worship.

About Goddess Durga :-

The Hindu Goddess Durga is considered as the eternal mother, the mother of the whole universe, the supreme deity, the symbol of power ‘Adishakti’. She loves us all equally and saves the whole universe from evils. We, all the creatures in the entire universe, are her children. She is often called as ‘Maa Durga’, where ‘Maa’ is the Hindi word for ‘mother’. Red is considered as her favorite color and so she wears red. Her ride is a tiger or a lion. She has got eight hands and in each, she holds a weapon or equipment. Her equipments are – a sword, bow and arrow, a ‘Shankh’ or conch, a 'Chakra', a 'Trishul', a 'Gada' and a lotus flower. Her eighth hand is always in the posture of giving blessings or Aashirwaad to her children and her beautiful face is always lit up with a caring smile. Goddess Durga is believed to live on hills and that’s why most of the major temples of the incarnations of Goddess Durga are situated at hill tops.

About the festival:-

It is said that during these days, Maa Durga killed all the Asuras or the demons. This festival is in the celebration of that victory of good over evil. In almost every square, street, lane and colony, statues of Goddess Durga are kept under ‘Pandaals’. Throughout the days, these ‘Pandaals’ are filled with visitors who come for the holy ‘Darshan’ and worship of Maa Durga.During these nine days, people make special arrangements for worshipping Maa Durga in their homes too. Especially the women of the family and all others, who are capable of doing so, keep a fast for those nine days, during which they do not consume common salt and anything which is made from grains or ‘Ann’ (but it not at all means that they can eat non-vegetarian food. They can’t even think of doing so!). Some people sleep on bare ground and walk barefooted. All these people keep and worship an ‘Akhandjyoti’ in their houses, which is actually a small flame in a special brass vessel, which is lit up using a thick cotton thread dipped in cow’s milk fat called ‘Ghee’. The Akhandjyoti is very well taken care of that the flame must be kept enlightened because it is believed to empower Maa Durga in her battle against the evil and so, the Akhandjyoti must keep on burning all day and night throughout these nine days. At the eighth day, a ‘Kanyabhoj’ is organized in every house in which nine little girls are invited to the house on a feast. They are believed to have the Swaroop of Maa Durga inside them and so, they are treated with utmost care. At the end of the ninth day, the fast is relieved by consuming anything made with grains and common salt. The ninth day is called the ‘Visarjan’ day, or the day when Maa Durga, after winning her battle against the evil, goes back to her place. All the arrangements made for her worship are displaced.

After this nine-day festival, the tenth day is yet another fest known as ‘Dussehra’ orVijayadashami’. On this day, during the day time, all the sculptures and statues of Maa Durga that were established during Navaratri in every street, lane and colony, are taken in a rally or ‘Jhanki’. Thousands of people accompany these Jhanki and while on their way to the river, they keep on shouting the ‘Jaykara’ of Maa Durga. After reaching the river, all the sculptures are very carefully submitted to the waves of the river and Maa Durga is waved goodbye, with the hope that she’ll return soon next year. During the evening time, people gather in a ground where a statue of ‘Raavana’ is to be burnt. A fair is organized in the ground by the local bodies and authorities. The Vijayadashami festival is also the symbol of victory of good over evil. This is celebrated in the memory of the killing of ‘Raavana’, thedemon king of ‘Lanka’ by Lord ‘Ram’. This story goes back to the Hindu epic ‘Ramayanaor 'Ramcharitmanas'. In the evening, people (especially the princely Kshatriya and the Rajput clans) clean their weapons and worship them. At midnight, the ten-headed statue of ‘Raavana’ is set on fire in the public ground. This festival is actually the announcement of the upcoming winter and several other Hindu festivals including the grand one – “Diwali”- the festival of lights.


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Comments 21 comments

Fellow Mumbaite profile image

Fellow Mumbaite 5 years ago from India

Complete information on Navrati. Good job!


Abhimanyu Singh92 profile image

Abhimanyu Singh92 5 years ago from Satna, Madhya Pradesh (India) Author

Hello FM. Thank you very much for the appreciation. I am glad that you commented so quickly just after my hub was published. :)


jenubouka 5 years ago

Such a beautiful culture and love how the celebrations pay respects to the history.


Stacie L profile image

Stacie L 5 years ago

I always like to learn about other cultures and beleif systems.

The Indian festivals give people something to look forward to.


Sneha Sunny profile image

Sneha Sunny 5 years ago from India

Proud to be an Indian... :)


AUPADHYAY profile image

AUPADHYAY 5 years ago from INDIA, UTTAR PRADESH STATE, KANPUR CITY

Well done? The whole hub appears like the sacred rays of Goddess Durga, Ambe, and Jagadjanani Maa. You have rightly explored the features of this sacred Indian Festival. I vote it up.


swathi180 profile image

swathi180 5 years ago

Beautiful article about Devi ma on the occasion of Navaratri.Happy Dusshera :-)


Abhimanyu Singh92 profile image

Abhimanyu Singh92 5 years ago from Satna, Madhya Pradesh (India) Author

Hello jenubouka and Stacie L.

Thank you very much for your wonderful comments and showing interest in the Indian culture. Glad you liked the hub and our festival. :)


Abhimanyu Singh92 profile image

Abhimanyu Singh92 5 years ago from Satna, Madhya Pradesh (India) Author

Thanks sneha, AUPADHYAY and swathi for taking time to read the hub. We all are proud that we belong to this holy country. I agree with your comment AUPADHYAY. Thanks for voting. @Swathi: thanks a lot for the appreciation and happy dusshera to you too and everyone else. :)


carcro profile image

carcro 5 years ago from Winnipeg

Very interesting culture, thanks for sharing all this info.


WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 5 years ago from Space Coast

I am part "Indian" - Comanche. We had it good before the Europeans showed up.

Here on the Space Coast, we have a real India Festival. I love the food, but never know what to order. I am proud to know someone from one of the oldest continuous civilizations on the plant. Please don't be offended if I bumble, I am on only an American and am not as sophisticated as you.


Abhimanyu Singh92 profile image

Abhimanyu Singh92 5 years ago from Satna, Madhya Pradesh (India) Author

Thanks and welcome carcro! :)

Thanks a lot WD Curry 111 for your wonderful comment. Oh, not at all. Please feel free to express your thoughts. And if you want, i can assist you in choosing what to order. :)


thumbi7 profile image

thumbi7 5 years ago from India

Very good and complete information on Navaratri. I love spending this time of the year in Kolkata for Durga Pooja. Thank you for following me. Will look forward to your hubs.


Abhimanyu Singh92 profile image

Abhimanyu Singh92 5 years ago from Satna, Madhya Pradesh (India) Author

Thanks and welcome ma'am for the appreciative comment. I too am very much influenced by the grandeur of the celebration of the festival in west bengal, although never had the chance to visit. :)


inaniLoquence profile image

inaniLoquence 5 years ago from Singapore

Great hub, Abhi! :) This October, I believe, is Deepavali! 26th is a public holiday here in Singapore. Why do Indians celebrate Deepavali, btw? :)


Abhimanyu Singh92 profile image

Abhimanyu Singh92 5 years ago from Satna, Madhya Pradesh (India) Author

Thank you very much inaniLoquence. :)

Indeed 26th of this month, i.e, october is Diwali, one of the greatest hindu festivals. Just give me a few more days, and i'll come up with the hub about Diwali that i am working on! :)


WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 5 years ago from Space Coast

You are an educator in your own right. Thanks for being an ambassador. Help me . . . what is a good dish to order at our top notch Indian restaurant . . . one that is appropriate for the season?


Abhimanyu Singh92 profile image

Abhimanyu Singh92 5 years ago from Satna, Madhya Pradesh (India) Author

Thanks again chip for praising me. You sometimes make me realize my worth. hahaha :D

Yes sure I can help you in choosing what to order (or may be I can just try to do so :P )

As winters are coming, so here in India we prefer spicy food during winters that contains lots of spices and especially, chillies. You can opt "Rajma-Rice" a combination of, or perhaps the best combination of a type of beans' curry and boiled rice. It is most of ours favorite. Or if you prefer non-vegetarian food,you can go for "Tandoori Chicken", a whole marinated chicken cooked inside a "Tandoor", a traditional Indian oven. There are a lot other famous dishes I can tell, but it entirely depends on what is available in your restaurant. But overall, I'll suggest you to go for spicy dishes because spices are the thing Indian food is famous for. and please do tell me about your experience.

Good Luck! :)


inaniLoquence profile image

inaniLoquence 5 years ago from Singapore

So it's called Diwali instead of Deepavali? Now that's a new information... ALright! I shall wait for that Diwali Hub. :D


WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 5 years ago from Space Coast

I came back to tell you my experience. I love Indian food, but do not know this from that. I went to the Land of Spices. A small grocery store. It was Saturday. The owners family makes several kinds of samosas and a couple of other dishes to sell on the weekends. They recommended special chutney for each dish. i left with a bag full of ingredients to try later as well.

The owner and his family do not wear western clothes. It was funny to see him glued to the TV watching the Florida Gators playing football and cheering for the team. I bet he misses cricket. The food was excellent. The coriander chutney was so hot, I cried. I couldn't stop eating it, anyway. I want to learn more about your rich culture. More hubs young man!


Abhimanyu Singh92 profile image

Abhimanyu Singh92 5 years ago from Satna, Madhya Pradesh (India) Author

@inaniLoquence: it's called both diwali and deepawali. sorry for replying so late to your comment and not being able to publish the diwali hub on time. will publish the diwali hub in a few days :)

@chip: Yeah sure. I'll keep on publishing new hubs about my country's culture and everything else and I hope everyone will be able to learn a lot from them. And your experience sounds really good. Samosas are probably the most famous snacks of India, especially central and northern India. Although different sellers give different kinds of 'chutney' with them, but we prefer the green coriander 'chutney' that you ate. If you want to know, I can tell you its recipe as well (in case it was the same chutney that I am thinking).

You've mentioned a great thing here - cricket. Cricket is the most famous game of India, mainly because its the only game in which we have an international reputation.

Even I feel that the guy you met, might be missing cricket a lot! :)

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