One of the most famous and auspicious festivals in India is Navratri. It is a nine-day celebration which is dedicated to Goddess Durga. The word ‘Navaratri’ is taken from the Sanskrit language which means ‘the nine nights’. Goddess Durga is worshiped during the tenure of nine nights in different forms. After the full point of nine days, on the tenth day, Vijayadashami is celebrated by immersing the idol of Goddess Durga into the water body. Read More About Navratri Colors
Navratri is celebrated throughout the country of India, but it is more popular in the states of Maharashtra, Western states of Gujarat and Southern state of Karnataka. On the first day, by chanting mantras Goddess Durga is immersed in a Kalash (small pot) with the complete Vedic Rituals. The procedure to invoke Goddess Durga in Kalash is known as Kalash Sthapana / Ghata Sthapanawhich is accomplished at an exact time of the day as per the Muhurat.
Navratri is popularly celebrated as Durga Puja in West Bengal. It is a culture in West Bengal to worship Goddess Durga in the final three days of Navratri. The three days are celebrated as Durga Saptami, Durga Ashtami, and Durga Navami. Basically, Durga Puja in West Bengal is a smaller format of 9 days Navratri. The celebrations of nine nights of the fight of the good against the bad with the result of winning of the good on a concluding day (tenth day). During this tenure, Goddess Durga is worshiped as the deity of energy, power, and wisdom.
As per the Indian Mythology, there are various stories behind the establishment of Navratri. Few of them can be narrated as:
The king of demons, Mahishasur began a war against the deities in heaven. To fight against the king of demons and his army, all Gods came together. The army of Gods included the trinity of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma. All of the Gods pooled in their divine power to give birth to the mother of Shakti (power), Goddess Durga.
So, Goddess Durga was born to enslave Mahishasur. Goddess Durga finished Mahisasur after nine nights of the dangerous battle against him. ‘Vijayadashami’ is celebrated as the tenth day of triumph of good over the evil.
It is known that Lord Rama was estimated to enter a war against in Lanka with Ravana to save Sita from his captivity. It is said that Lord Rama worshiped Goddess Durga before getting into the battle with Ravana. It is alleged that he gathered 108 lotuses to begin the Puja. After completing the count, Goddess Durga emerged and blessed Lord Rama with divine forces. Therefore, Lord Rama won the battle that day as known in the history.
Navratri is also famous as the homecoming of Uma, the daughter of Daksha, the king of the Himalayas. Uma married Lord Shiva and the festival of Navratri is marked as the homecoming of Uma on the Earth.
POPULAR RITUALS OF NAVRATRI
On the occasion of Navratri, various rites are followed and executed. These rituals hold importance during the celebration of this festival. Few of them can be narrated as:
In the nine nights of Navratri, for the first three days Goddess Durga is worshiped as ‘Shakti’; the Goddess of power. Then for the following three days, she is worshiped as Lakshmi; the Goddess of wealth and for the last three days, she has worshiped as Saraswati; the Goddess of knowledge and wisdom.
During the tenure of nine days, devotees observe a strict fast and avoid the usage of onions, grains, alcohol and meat in their diet. For such devotees, special food is prepared in the Northern India.
In the lands of Eastern India, Navratri is called Durga Puja popularly and is celebrated as the biggest festival throughout the year. During this time, big pandals (tents) are set up which are illuminated with beautiful lights and ornamental items.
Navratri is also known as Garba or Dandiya in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. Dandiya and Garba nights are held where local people dance wearing traditional outfits by holding Dandiya sticks in their hands.
In the state of Goa, during the Navratri special Zarate start and temples of Saraswat Brahmin are decorated for the festival. Dasha Matrikas with sandalwood paste, new clothes, kumkum, and ornaments are worshiped.
The Ghatasthapana Muhurta is considered to be really important in Navratri Puja. Let us know the Muhurat timings for this year:
Ghatasthapana Muhurat Starts: 06.24 A.M.
Ghatasthapana Muhurat Ends: 08.12 A.M.
This year the Muhurta falls on the Pratipada Tithi. It is conceived to begin at 10.50 A.M. on 20th September 2017 and will remain until 10.35 A.M. on 21st September 2017. The Ghatasthapana Muhurat marks the beginning of Navratri.