Navratri Utsav

Navratri festival sacred to the Mother Goddess are celebrated in the month of October / November. It is a festival of worship,dance and music celebrated over a period of nine nights. It is celebrated from the first to the ninth date of Ashwin Shukla Paksha of the Hindu Calendar for the worship of the Goddess Durga. This festival commemorates the victory of Goddess Durga over a demon, Mahishasur. During Navratri, devotees of Durga fast and pray for health and prosperity. They also perform the 'devi-sthaapna' in their homes wherein they invite the Goddess and perform 'pooja-path' for nine days without consuming any food. It is an occasion for vibrant festivities throughout the country

Nine different manifestations of Durga are worshipped over the nine days:

  1. Durga: goddess beyond reach

  2. Bhadrakali: the auspicious power of time

  3. Amba or Jagdamba: mother of the world

  4. Annapurna: giver of food and plenty

  5. Sarvamangala: auspicious goddess

  6. Bhairavi: terrible, fearful, power of death

  7. Chandika or handi: violent, wrathful, furious

  8. Lalita: playful

  9. Bhavani: giver of existence

Idols of the Goddess Durga are elaborately decorated and worshipped in elaborate pandals for nine days, and on the tenth day immersed in a river or pond. Each day during this festival has religious significance for the devotees.


In West Bengal, Navratri is celebrated as 'Durga-pooja which is the most important festival in that part of India. Celebrations of Durga-pooja in Bengal are similar to celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi in Maharashtra. Idols of Goddess Durga are worshipped for nine days in beautifully decorated 'pandaals'. It is a public festival. On the tenth day,the 'Visarjan' or immersion of idols in sea waters is performed. In Punjab, Navratri is a period of fasting for seven days, and the people are said to keep their "Navratras" or fasts.

On the eighth day or Ashtami, devotees break their fasts by calling young girls home and these girls are treated as the goddess herself. People ceremonially wash their feet, worship them and then offer food to the "girl-goddesses" giving them the traditional 'puri', ' halwa' and chana' to eat along with bangles and the red 'chunnis' to wear. The ninth day is known as Ram Navami. In traditional North Indian households, a pot of wheat, known as 'khetri' is kept and home and worshipped during these eight days. It is significant of prosperity and abundance. On the first day of the Navaratras, grains of barley are planted in the puja room of the house.

Every day some water is sprinkled on it. On the tenth day, the shoots are about 3 - 5 inches in length. After the puja, these seedlings are pulled out and given to devotees as a blessing from god. The seedlings are placed on their caps, behind their ears, and inside books to bring good luck. This custom suggests a link to harvesting. The sowing and reaping of barley is symbolic of the "first fruit". In various parts of India,the 'Ram-Leela' is performed during Navratri. Ram-Leela is a stage enaction of Ramayana,the story of Lord Rama. The day after Navratri, tenth day, is observed as 'Dassera' or 'Vijayadashmi'. It marks the victory of good over evil. It is believed that on this day, Lord Rama had killed the demon Ravana. So, on Vijayadashmi, effigies of Ravana are burnt all over India.