Navaratri is celebrated five times a year. They are Vasanta Navaratri, Ashadha Navaratri, the Sharada Navaratri, and the Paush/Magha Navaratri. Of these, the Sharada
Navaratri of the month of Puratashi and the Vasanta Navaratri of the Vasanta
kala are the most important.
- Vasanta Navaratri: Basanta Navaratri, also known as Vasant Navaratri in the spring season (MarchApril). It is also known as Chaitra Navaratri. The nine days of festival are also known as Raama Navratri. Many temples and home recite Tulasi ramayan or Valmiki Ramayan during 9 days.
- Gupta Navaratri: Gupta Navaratri, also referred as
Ashadha or Gayatri or Shakambhari Navaratri,in the month of Ashadha (JuneJuly). Gupta
Navaratri is observed during the Ashadha Shukla Paksha.
Sharada Navaratri: This is the most important of the Navaratris. It is simply called Maha
Navaratri (the Great Navratri) and is celebrated in the pratipada (first day) of the bright fortnight of the
lunar month of Ashvina. Also known as Sharad Navaratri, as it is celebrated
during Sharad (beginning of winter, SeptemberOctober).
Paush Navaratri: Paush Navaratri is in the month
of Paush (DecemberJanuary). Paush Navaratri is observed during the Paush Shukla
- Magha Navaratri: Magha Navaratri, also referred as
Gupta Navaratri in the month of Magha (JanuaryFebruary). Magha Navaratri is observed
during the Magha Shukla Paksha.
This is celebrated during Vasanta Rhitu (beginning of summer) (March- April).
This is also known as Chaitra navarathri as it falls during the lunar month of
The Story of Vasanta Navaratri
In days long gone by, King Dhruvasindhu was killed by a lion when he went out
hunting. Preparations were made to crown the prince Sudarsana. But, King
Yudhajit of Ujjain, the father of Queen Lilavati, and King Virasena of Kalinga,
the father of Queen Manorama, were each desirous of securing the Kosala throne
for their respective grandsons. They fought with each other. King Virasena was
killed in the battle. Manorama fled to the forest with Prince Sudarsana and a
eunuch. They took refuge in the hermitage of Rishi Bharadwaja.
The victor, King Yudhajit, thereupon crowned his grandson, Satrujit, at Ayodhya,
the capital of Kosala. He then went out in search of Manorama and her son. The
Rishi said that he would not give up those who had sought protection under him.
Yudhajit became furious. He wanted to attack the Rishi. But, his minister told
him about the truth of the Rishis statement. Yudhajit returned to his capital.
Fortune smiled on Prince Sudarsana. A hermits son came one day and called the eunuch by his
Sanskrit name Kleeba. The prince caught the first syllable Kli and began to
pronounce it as Kleem. This syllable happened to be a powerful, sacred Mantra.
It is the Bija Akshara (root syllable) of the Divine Mother. The Prince obtained
peace of mind and the Grace of the Divine Mother by the repeated utterance of
this syllable. Devi appeared to him, blessed him and granted him divine weapons
and an inexhaustible quiver.
The emissaries of the king of Benares passed through the Ashram of the Rishi
and, when they saw the noble prince Sudarsana, they recommended him to Princess
Sashikala, the daughter of the king of Benares.
The ceremony at which the princess was to choose her spouse was arranged.
Sashikala at once chose Sudarsana. They were duly wedded. King Yudhajit, who had
been present at the function, began to fight with the king of Benares. Devis
helped Sudarsana and his father-in-law. Yudhajit mocked Her, upon which Devi
promptly reduced Yudhajit and his army to ashes.
Thus Sudarsana, with his wife and his father-in-law, praised Devi. She was
highly pleased and ordered them to worship her with havan and other
means during the Vasanta Navarathri. Then she disappeared.
Prince Sudarsana and Sashikala returned to the Ashram of Rishi Bharadwaja. The
great Rishi blessed them and crowned Sudarsana as the king of Kosala. Sudarsana
and Sashikala and the king of Benares implicitly carried out the commands of the
Divine Mother and performed worship in a splendid manner during the Vasanta
Sudarsanas descendants, namely, Sri Rama and Lakshmana, also performed worship
of Devi during the Sharada Navarathri and were blessed with Her assistance in
the recovery of Sita.
The Navaratri commences on the first day (pratipada) of the bright fortnight of
the lunar month of Ashvin. The festival is celebrated for nine nights once every
year during the beginning of October, although as the dates of the festival are
determined according to the lunar calendar , the festival may be held for a
day more or a day less.
Navaratri is celebrated in different ways throughout India. In North India, all
three Navaratris are celebrated with much fervor by fasting on all nine days and
worshiping the Mother Goddess in her different forms. The Chaitra Navratri
culminates in Ram Navami and the Sharad Navaratri culminates in Durga Puja and Dussehra . The Dussehra of Kullu in
Himachal Pradesh is particularly famous in the North. Navratri
festival in Gujarat is one of the
main festivals. Garba is
dance which people use to dance after the Durga Pooja with the groups and live
orchestra or devotional songs.
The last four days of Sharad Navaratri take on a particularly dramatic form in
the state of West Bengal in East India where they are celebrated as Durga Puja . This is the biggest festival of the
year in this state. Exquisitely crafted and decorated life-size clay idols of
the Goddess Durga depicting her slaying the demon Mahishasura are set up in
temples and other places. These idols are then worshiped for five days and
immersed in the river on the fifth day.
In Western India, particularly in the state of Gujarat and Mumbai , Navratri is celebrated with the famous Garba and
Dandiya-Raas dance. Since the past few years, the Government of Gujarat has been
organising the "Navratri Festival Celebrations" on a regular basis for the nine
days of Navratri Festival in Gujarat. People from all over Gujarat and even
abroad come to participate in the nine days celebrations. It is also popular
throughout India and among Indian communities around the world including the UK,
Canada and USA.
In Goa, zatra begins during Navratri, entire Antruz (Ponda) is highly ornated.
The Saraswat Brahmin temples are beautifully decorated and the idols are taken
out for worship. The idols are dressed and adorned with flowers, sandalwood
paste, turmeric and kumkum. Devotees come during Navarathri to get the special
darshan and what mostly a devotee awaits is the Kaul Prasad, which is as
something given from the Gods and Goddess itself. The Deities are emblazoned
with flowers and devotees or priests continue to worship the deity without even
changing the flowers on them. At the end of the festive night the flowers are
distributed as Prasad for the devotees. The Dasha Maitrikas (the 10 sisters of
Goa) of the Saraswat Brahmins are taken out to worship namely, Shantadurga,
Aryadurga, Mahalasa, Katyayani, Mahamaya, Kamakshi, Vijayadurga, Bhumika,
Mahalakshmi and Navadurga.
In South India, people set up steps and place idols on them. This is known as golu . Photos of typical golu
displayed in Tamil Nadu style can be found here .
In Karnataka , Ayudha Puja, the ninth day of Mysore Dasara , is celebrated with the worship of
implements used in daily life such as computers, books, vehicles, or kitchen
tools. The effort to see the divine in the tools and objects one uses in daily
life is central to this celebration, so it includes all tools that help one earn
one's livelihood. Knowledge workers go for books, pen or computers, farmers go
for the plough and other agricultural tools, machinery for industrialists and
cars/buses/trucks for the transportation workersall are decorated with flowers
and worshiped on this day invoking God's blessing for success in coming years.
It is believed that any new venture such as starting of business or purchasing
of new household items on this day is bound to bring success and prosperity.
Mysore is well
known for the festivities that take place during the period of Dasara , the state festival of Karnataka. The Dasara festivities, which are celebrated over
a ten-day period, were first introduced by King Raja Wodeyar I in 1610. On the ninth day of Dasara , called Mahanavami , the royal sword is
worshipped and is taken on a procession of decorated elephants, camels and
horses. On the tenth day, called Vijayadashami , the traditional Dasara procession (locally known as Jumboo Savari ) is held on the
streets of Mysore. An image of the Goddess Chamundeshwari is placed on a golden mantapa on
the back of a decorated elephant and taken on a procession, accompanied by
tableaux, dance groups, music bands, decorated elephants, horses and camels. The procession starts from the Mysore
Palace and culminates at a place called Bannimantapa ,
where the banni tree ( Prosopis spicigera ) is worshipped. The Dasara festivities culminate on the night of Vijayadashami with a torchlight parade, known
locally as Panjina Kavayatthu .
In Kerala , three days: Ashtami, Navami, and Vijaya Dashami of Sharad Navarathri are celebrated as
Sarasvati Puja in which books are worshiped. The books are placed for Puja on
the Ashtami day in own houses, traditional nursery schools, or in temples. On Vijaya Dashami day, the books are ceremoniously taken
out for reading and writing after worshiping Sarasvati. Vijaya Dashami day is considered auspicious for
initiating the children into writing and reading, which is called Vidyarambham .
Tens of thousands of children are initiated into the world of letters on this
day in Kerala .
In Telangana region
of Andhra Pradesh , people celebrate Bathukamma festival
over a period of nine days. It is a kind of navratri celebration.
Navratri is divided into sets of three days to adore three different aspects of
the supreme goddess or goddesses.
First three days
The goddess is separated as a spiritual force called Durga also
known as Kali in order to destroy all our ,evil and grants boons.
Second three days
The Mother is adored as a giver of spiritual wealth, Lakshmi , who is considered to have the power of
bestowing on her devotees inexhaustible wealth, as she is the goddess of wealth.
Final three days
The final set of three days is spent in worshiping the goddess of wisdom, Saraswati . In order to have all-round success in life,
believers seek the blessings of all three aspects of the divine femininity,
hence the nine nights of worship.
Eighth day is traditionally Durgashtami which is big in Bengal and Bihar
In some parts of South India, Saraswati puja is performed on the 9th day. Ayudha
Puja is conducted in many parts
of South India on the Mahanavami (Ninth) day with much fanfare. Weapons,
agricultural implements, all kinds of tools, equipments, machinery and
automobiles are decorated and worshipped on this day along with the worship of
Goddess. The work starts afresh from the next day, i.e. the 10th day which is
celebrated as Vijaya Dashami. Many teachers/Schools in south India start
teaching Kindergarten children from that day onwards.
In North India, as the culmination of the Ramlila which
is enacted ceremoniously during Dussehra ,
the effigies of Ravana , Kumbhakarna, and Meghanada are burnt to celebrate
the victory of good ( Rama ) over evil forces on the Vijaya Dashami day.
During Navratri, some devotees of Durga observe a fast and prayers are offered
for the protection of health and prosperity. Devotees avoid meat, alcoholic
drinks, grains, wheat and onion during this fast. Grains are usually avoided
since it is believed that during the period of Navratri and seasonal change,
grains attract and absorb lots of negative energies from the surrounding and therefore
there is a need to avoid eating anything which are produced from grains for the
purification of Navratri to be successful. Navratri is also a period of
introspection and purification, and is traditionally an auspicious and religious
time for starting new ventures.
During this vowed religious observance, a pot is installed (ghatasthapana) at a
sanctified place at home. A lamp is kept lit in the pot for nine days. The pot
symbolises the universe. The uninterrupted lit lamp is the medium through which
we worship the effulgent Adishakti, i.e. Sree Durgadevi. During Navratri, the
principle of Sree Durgadevi is more active in the atmosphere.
Navratri is celebrated in a large number of Indian communities. The mother
goddess is said to appear in 9 forms, and each one is worshiped for a day. These
nine forms signify various traits that the goddess influences us with. The Devi Mahatmya and other texts invoking the Goddess
who vanquished demons are cited.
During the eight or ninth day, Kanya Poojan , pre-pubescent girls are ceremonially
Dates for Sharad Navaratri All over the World:
- USA/Canada: Oct 13 2015
- West Indies: Oct 13 2015
- UK: Oct 13 2015
- Dubai: Oct 13 2015
- India: Oct 13 2015
- Malaysia/Singapore: Oct 14 2015
- Australia: Oct 14 2015
- New Zeland: Oct 14 2015
- Fiji: Oct 14 2015
- USA/Canada: Oct 20 2015
- West Indies: Oct 20 2015
- UK: Oct 20 2015
- Dubai: Oct 21 2015
- India: Oct 21 2015
- Malaysia/Singapore: Oct 21 2015
- Australia: Oct 21 2015
- New Zeland: Oct 21 2015
- Fiji: Oct 21 2015
- USA/Canada: Oct 21 2015
- West Indies: Oct 21 2015
- UK: Oct 21 2015
- Dubai: Oct 22 2015
- India: Oct 22 2015
- Malaysia/Singapore: Oct 22 2015
- Australia -- WAU: Oct 22 2015
- Australia -- SAU: Oct 22 2015
- Australia -- NT: Oct 22 2015
- Australia -- Queensland: Oct 22 2015
- Australia -- NSW: Oct 22 2015
- Australia -- ACT: Oct 22 2015
- New Zeland: Oct 22 2015
- Fiji: Oct 22 2015
- USA/Canada: Oct 22 2015
- West Indies: Oct 22 2015
- UK: Oct 22 2015
- Dubai: Oct 22 2015
- India: Oct 22 2015
- Malaysia/Singapore: Oct 22 2015
- Australia -- WAU: Oct 22 2015
- Australia -- SAU: Oct 23 2015
- Australia -- NT: Oct 23 2015
- Australia -- Queensland: Oct 23 2015
- Australia -- NSW: Oct 23 2015
- Australia -- ACT: Oct 23 2015
- New Zeland: Oct 23 2015
- Fiji: Oct 23 2015
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