Shardiya Navratri Mahotsav
What is Shardiya Navratri Mahotsav?
Symbolizing victory of positivity over negativity, Navratri literally means ‘nine nights’ in Sanskrit; Nav – Nine and Ratri – nights. During these nine nights and ten days, the three forms of the goddess -Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi – are invoked.
What’s the Significance of Navratri?
During Navaratri, we invoke the energy aspect of God in the form of the universal mother, commonly referred to as “Durga,” which literally means the remover of miseries of life. She is also referred to as “Devi” (goddess) or “Shakti” (energy or power). It is this energy, which helps God to proceed with the work of creation, preservation and destruction. In other words, you can say that God is motionless, absolutely changeless, and the Divine Mother Durga, does everything. Truly speaking, our worship of Shakti re-confirms the scientific theory that energy is imperishable. It cannot be created or destroyed. It is always there.
Why Nine Nights & Days?
Navaratri is divided into sets of three days to adore different aspects of the supreme goddess. On the first three days, the Mother is invoked as powerful force called Durga in order to destroy all our impurities, vices and defects. The next 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 the inexhaustible wealth. The final set of three days is spent in worshipping the mother as the goddess of wisdom, Saraswati. In order have all-round success in life, we need the blessings of all three aspects of the divine mother; hence, the worship for nine nights.
Goddess Durga is also worshipped under nine different names for the nine days in Navratri. Every day, she assumes a new character, a new look and a new duty. These nine forms of manifestation are Shailaputri, Brahmachartini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamaata, Kaatyayani, Kaalratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidaatri. For the initial six days Puja celebrations are limited to home. The celebrations acquire a festive form since the seventh day when the festivities of Navratri surround the atmosphere.
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 impurities.
First Day Puja
The first form of Goddess Durga is called ‘Shailaputri’. She is considered the daughter of the Himalayas. She is a form of Shakti, the consort of Lord Shiva.
Second Day Puja
The second form of Goddess Durga is known as ‘Brahmacharini’. Her name is derivative of the word ‘Brahma’, which means ‘Tapa’ or penace. She is also a form of Uma or Parvati, a form of Mata Shakti.
Third Day Puja
On the third day the Goddess is worshipped as ‘Chandraghanta’. She is the symbolic representation of beauty and bravery.
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
Fourth Day Puja
On the fourth day Goddess Durga is worshipped in the form ‘Kushmanda’. It is believed that Kushmanda is the creator of the entire Universe and she has created the entire Universe by her laugh.
Fifth Day Puja
On the fifth day, the form of Goddess Durga is called ‘Skandamaata’. She is actually called so because she is here represented as the mother of Skanda, the chief warrior of the Gods army.
Sixth Day Puja
On the sixth day, the Goddess Durga is worshipped as ‘Kaatyayani’. Seated on her vehicle lion, Kaatyayani has three eyes and four hands.
Final three days
The final set of three days is spent in worshiping the goddess of wisdom, Sarasvati. 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.
Seventh Day Puja
On the seventh day, the Goddess Durga is worshiped as ‘Kaalratri’. As the name suggests, Kaalratri is as black as a dark night. She has four hands, she is meant to make the devotees fearless.
Eighth Day Puja
On the eight day, the Goddess Durga is worshiped as ‘Mahagauri’. She is considered to extremely beautiful, white like snow and accessorized with white colored ornaments. She represents calmness and exhibits wisdom.
Ninth Day Puja
On the ninth day, Goddess Durga is worshipped as ‘Siddhidaatri’. It is believed she consists of all the eight siddhis. She lives on lotus and is worshipped by all the Rishis-Munis, Siddhas, Sadhakas and Yogis.
Prominent Places for Navratri Celebrations
Experience the festivities and traditions of the Indian culture during Navratri in Gujarat. Navratri is devoted to celebrating Goddess Durga. You will see people dancing to garba tunes with a lamp in the hand.
Spread across Ahmedabad, Surat, Baroda, Gandhinagar and even the smallest villages, the state comes alive with gusto for celebration through music, dance and food. Relish authentic Gujarati food like dhokla, thepla, khakra and much more at the time of the festival.
2. West Bengal
The state comes to life and streets are bright with lanterns and on the ninth day, married women bid farewell by splashing colour (sindoor) on each other. The idol of Goddess Durga is immersed in water. Durga Puja ends with thousands of devotes bidding farewell to Goddess Durga marking the beginning ofVijayadashami.
Navratri brings out the triumph of good over evil, celebrated over 10 days in a form of dance-drama called Ramlila- a traditional play that enacts scenes from the epic of Ramyana.
The ghats of Varanasi come alive with beautiful hymns of Ramcharitmanas sung over the 10 days. Varanasi reverberates rituals, traditions and holiness in the ten-day fest. The temples are thronged by pilgrims from all over the world and lights illuminate the city.
4. Himachal Pradesh
Dhalpur Maidan in Kullu Valley, where Lord Raghunath is worshipped is the epicentre of this festival. The idols of the local Gods and Goddess are brought to the ground by a procession. The end of the festivity is marked by burning a piece of wood and grass at the banks of river Beas. The ritual symbolises the burning of Lanka as occuring in holy Ramayana, denoting the triumph of good over evil.
Dussehra festival is celebrated over 10 days in the Karnataka. The celebration is royal and grand, marking the victory of truth over evil. The festival has been celebrated for over 400 years; lights illuminate the complete city. The famous Mysore Palace is decorated with more than 1,00,000 lights on the festival of Dussehra, giving you a chance to en is a rare visual treat that no other city offers. Don’t miss the procession of beautifully adorned elephants on the decorated streets of Mysore, which displays city’s royalty and ethnic culture. The procession is held to celebrate Goddess Durga killing the demon Mahishasura on Dussehra day.
The tribal area of Bastar celebrates Dussehra like none of the other states does. Spread over a span of 75 days, Bastar celebrates the festive season by worshiping Devi Maoli, a local Goddess and her sisters during Navratri.
Thousands of devotees and priests gather to bring the local deities to Danteshwari Temple inJagdalpur. The idols are bought using chariots in a holy procession. The chariot is prepared by the local artisan’s using traditional tools. The procession is held between Bastar and Jagdalpur.
The oldest and one of the most visited shrines in the country of Vashno Devi is located at Katra inJammu. If you are looking for a spiritual experience, visit Katra during the Navratri festival. Thousands of devotees from across the nation arrive here to offer their prayers. Dazzling lights beautifully decorate the city for nine days of Navaratri. Listen to the chants of Jai Mata Di filling the air.
Delhi, the heart of India celebrates Dussehra with all the joy, marking the victory of good over evil. There are number of grounds where you will find small Ravana, Megnath and Kumbkaran statues. Ramlila is performed around this area. The most famous in Delhi is the Ramlila Maidan.
In Mumbai, the nights are musical, grounds are flanked with people clad in colourful dresses and the streets come alive with the sound of music. On Vijaydashmi, effigies of ten-headed demon Ravana are burnt marking the end of evil and beginning of good.
Shakti peetha temples are seats of adi shakti energy. so they are specially charged spots for shakti worshippers or people devoted to feminine energy or ma parvati. There are total 51 shakti peetha temples in indian sub continent. out of them three and half Shakti Peethas are in Maharashtra.
Significance of Shakti peethas:
What does four Shakti peethas resemble? We can’t tell why Jaganmata categorized these four shaktipeethas into a group. But many devotees gave explanations for this number four. The number four resembles the four parts of holy AUM. A kara, U kara, Ma kara and Mmm kara (Ardha matra). That is why they are also called as “Three and half Shakti peethas”.
Part of AUM
Any other explanations?
Yes. There are many.
According to Yoga shastras and Tantra shastras, Shakti is present in our body in the form of Kundalini. It is described as a female serpent which is sleeping inMuladhara Chakra turning it’s body into three and half (3 1/2) circles. If it is activated with the help of Spiritual practices, it raises and passes to Sahasrara throughSushumna, a small passage in Spinal cord. The three and half folds of Kundalini are compared with the four forms of Shakti present in this list of Four Shakti peethas of Maharashtra.
I heard another important explanation from a devotee of Shakti. These four Shakti peethas are worshiped in Chandi Upasana. Navakshara Mantra and Chandi Yantraare important for Chandi. In that worship, we come across Nanda, Shakambari and Bheema Shaktis. The physical resemblances for them are:
Nanda : Tulja bhavani : Maya
Shakambari: Maha lakshmi : Shakti
Bheema : Renuka : Jnana and
Saptashringi mata is considered as the combined power for these three.
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Sources: Walkthrough India, My Kundali