Navratri, or “nine nights”, is the most famous Hindu festival dedicated to the goddess Durga. It symbolizes purity and strength, called “shaky”. The Navratri festival includes puja (prayer) and fasting, and is followed by resplendent celebration for nine days and nights. Navratri in India is celebrated according to the lunar calendar and falls on March-April when Chaitra Navratri occurs and September-October when Sharad Navratri is celebrated.
During Navratri, people from villages and towns come together and pray at small shrines representing various forms of Goddess Durga, including Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati. The singing of mantras and folk songs, the performance of bhajan (religious chants) accompany all nine days of the holiday.
Combining religious and cultural themes, Navratri celebrations flow into national music and dance. The center of Navratri is the state of Gujarat, where dancing and fun do not stop all nine nights. The Garba dance originates from the chants of Krishna, gopis (cowherd girls) use thin wooden sticks. Today, the Navratri festival has undergone a transformation with well-choreographed choreography, high-quality acoustics and colorful custom-made costumes. Tourists flock to Vadodara, Gujarat, to enjoy the uplifting music, singing and dancing.
In India, Navratri expresses the sentiments of many religions while maintaining the common theme of the victory of good over evil. In Jammu, the Vaishno Devi Temple welcomes a huge number of devotees who make the pilgrimage during Navratri. Navratri Day is celebrated in Himachal Pradesh. In West Bengal, Goddess Durga, who destroyed the demon, is worshiped with great devotion and reverence by men and women. Scenes from the Ramayana are performed on huge platforms. The holiday has a nationwide scope.
In South India during Navratri people make idols and invoke God. In Mysore, the nine-day celebration coincides with Dasara, a folk music festival with dance performances, wrestling tournaments and paintings. The procession with paintings decorated with elephants, horses and camels starts from the famous brightly lit Mysore Palace. Vijaya Dashami Day in South India is also considered auspicious to pray for your vehicle.
In 2015 Navratri festival will be held from 13 to 22 October.