Among the most distinguished of festivals rejoiced in Gujarat is Navratri. This nine-day long festival is celebrated to glorify and worship Goddess Durga or Shakti. It is recognised by various pandals or enormous tents that form the energetic and mesmerizing dance of Garba or dandiya with traditional Gujarati music. It lasts with special fasting food and various other manners in which people commence and complete it. Come and celebrate the Navratri festival with Gujarat Tourism.
Classification of Gujarat festivals is inadequate without the mention of Navratri. Observed for nine long days with huge grandeur and show, Navratri is devoted to all the nine forms of Goddess Durga. All the communities come unitedly to dance in unison during Garba, an apparently simple dance, where the crowd moves collectively in a synchronised circular movement.
History and Ceremonies of Navratri Festival
The inscription has it, that there was a very stalwart demon king, known as the Mahishasura. By worshipping Lord Shiva, he obtained mighty powers and began to perform wickedness on the people who took the name of the Lord other than him. He was so exultant of his powers that he began to treat himself as a God. To protect the world from the immoral practices of the demon, the holy trinity of God (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) came together and by coupling their powers, created Goddess Durga. When Mahishasura saw the Goddess, he got attracted to her beauty.
The demon king was so hypnotised by the beauty of the Goddess that he sent her a proposal for the marriage. The Goddess accepted to marry him but on one condition that the Mahishasura have to beat her in a battle. The king was so proud of his powers that he quickly accepted the challenge. The battle between the Goddess and Mahishasura lasted for nine nights and at the end of the ninth night, the demon king was abolished by the Goddess. From then on, the nine days came to be known as the Navratri.
Navratri is celebrated for nine nights, commencing on the first day of the bright fortnight of the Hindu month Ashwin, approximately corresponding to dates in the Gregorian calendar in September/October. This also usually accords with the end of the rainy season. Dasara/Vijayadashami is the tenth day of Ashwin.
Garba happens at night in communities and regions all around Gujarat, so just step out and follow the booming Garba music. Vadodara is deemed the cultural capital of Gujarat, and the most inquired after location for celebrating Navratri. Try to visit at least one village Garba too, for a spectrum of experience. After the puja starts the music; it is evident to those who are familiar with the style and alluring to many. People enjoy dancing and begin to play dandiya in a circle, swirling away till late into the night. It is not surprising to find dancers with swords or lit flames and other exhibitions.
Religious travel during this festival focuses mainly on the Shakti Peethas: Ambaji, Pavagadh and Bahuchraji near Mehsana. There are also major ceremonies in temples such as Ashapura Mata-no-Madh in Kutch, Khodiyar Mandir near Bhavnagar, and Chamunda Mata Mandir at Chotila on the Ahmedabad-Rajkot National Highway.
See below for the day-wise schedule:
Form of Goddess
Sindoor Tritiya, Sowbhagya Teej
Varad Vinayaka Chauth
Upang Lalita Vrat, Lalitha Gauri Vrat, Skandamata Pujan
Saraswati Awahan, Katyayani Pujan
Saraswati Puja, Kalaratri Pujan, Utsava Puja
Durga Ashtami, Maha Ashtami
Saraswati Mata Pujan, Mahagauri Pujan, Sandhi Puja
Khande Navami, Durga Visarjan, Maha Navami
Ayudha Puja, Kanya puja
Other than this, in various Indian states, the Navratri festival is been celebrated. For example – West Bengal, Jammu, Rajasthan. Travellers from all across the world come here and plan their holidays in this season. If you wish to know more about this festival keep reading or comment for specific information.
PS: Whenever you travel, wherever you go, I request you all, to travel safe and try not to hurt the local communities and environment. Get hooked for more travel blogs…
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