Navaratri I.
Navaratri I.
Culture & Tradition

Navaratri I.

Shobha Gopalakrishnan

Navaratri is here. The nine nights and tenth day, Dussehra are auspicious to the Hindus. Devi as Shakti is celebrated and revered with fervour and devotion. The nine different aspects of Shakti are Shailputri, Brahmacharini , Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandmata, Katyayani, Kaalratri, Mahagauri, Siddhidatri and Aparajita. Shakti is she who creates, preserves and destroys. These forms of Shakti may be broadly divided as the triple forces of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi. The nine Devis originate from these three Devis who are in turn are incarnations of Adi Shakti.

This festival is an occasion of prayer and great rejoicing with family. To some it is a religo –cultural and social festival. These days are marked with pujas and recitation of the scriptures as well as feasting, dancing and merry making.

The festival is observed for different reasons and celebrated differently in different parts of India. It is celebrated in autumn every year. In north India at the end of Navaratri comes Dussehra which is a celebration of Rama’s victory over Ravana, the victory of good over evil.

Ramlila events with episodes of Ram's story are enacted by artists in rural and urban centres. It is particularly notable in cities such as Ayodhya , Varanasi , Vrindavan , Almora and Madhubani in the states of UP, Uttarakhand, Bihar and MP. Effigies of Ravan, Kumbhakarna and Meghanad are burnt in celebrations to mark the triumph of good over bad forces.

People gather in large numbers as at the Ramlila grounds in New Delhi to witness the burning of the huge effigies and lighting of fireworks to mark the occasion.

Fasting is observed and pujas performed on all the 10 days.

The festival is a precursor to Diwali, the festival of lights which comes 20 days after Dussehra.

P S: Details of Navaratri in the other parts of India to follow.