Navaratri is considered to be one of the most auspicious festivals among the Hindu community. This 9-day long festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy to mark the victory of good over evil. During this period, devotees worship the nine incarnations of Goddess Durga. There are four types of Navratri – Sharad Navratri, Chaitra Navratri, Magha Navratri and Ashadha Gupt Navratri, in which Sharad Navratri, which people celebrate during the months of September and October, is considered to be the main one.
Sharad Navratri begins on the first day and ends on the tenth day of the lunar month, the Shukla Paksha of Ashwin. This festival is celebrated with tremendous enthusiasm especially in northern and eastern India. The tenth day is often referred to as Vijayadashami or Dussehra. Sharad Navratri is celebrated in the month of Ashwin or Sharad month, which marks the beginning of winter.
Start and End Date
Navratri is a nine-day long festival dedicated to Maa Durga and her nine incarnations. It is scheduled to begin with the Ghatasthapana ritual from September 26, 2022 and end with Durga Visarjan or Dussehra/Vijayadashami celebrations on the tenth day – October 5, 2022. Sharadiya Navratri is usually celebrated in the month of Ashwin between September and October. Each day of the 9-day festival is dedicated to an incarnation of Goddess Durga.
According to mythology, Lord Rama worshiped the holy goddess to fight and destroy the demon king Ravana. He was a symbol of the victory of good over evil.
The word Navratri is derived from the Sanskrit word, which translates as Nav as nine and Ratri as night. According to Hindu scriptures and beliefs, for these nine days and nights, Goddess Durga fought with the demon Mahishasura (who represented the ego) and on the last day, when she beheaded the demon, that day is known as Vijay Dashami became famous.
According to another legend, Lord Rama worshiped Goddess Durga to save Mother Sita from Lanka for nine days before fighting Ravana. Pleased with his devotion, he blessed her with victory. On the tenth day Rama defeated Ravana and conquered Lanka. This day is celebrated as Vijayadashami or Dussehra.
This festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor in different states of India. While Hindus across the country celebrate the festival, Gujarati and Bengali communities celebrate it with grand celebrations. Navratri is also known as Navadurga festival. This festival is considered to be the most auspicious time to worship Shakti (divine power) in the form of Goddess Durga.
9 Forms of Goddess Durga
- Maa Shailputri: Navratri begins with the worship of Goddess Shailputri, who is also known as the daughter of the mountain because in Sanskrit Beti means ‘daughter’ and mountains means ‘Shail’ (Shail+putri = Shailputri) . She rides on a white bull named Nandi and holds a trident in one hand and a lotus in the other. On this day devotees offer pure desi ghee or food made from it to Goddess Shailputri so that she is blessed with a healthy life. His favorite color is white.
- Maa Brahmacharini: On the second day of Navratri, devotees worship Goddess Brahmacharini – also known as the mother of devotion and penance. To get his blessings, food made from sugar is offered to him by the devotees. This form symbolizes Goddess Parvati, when she was in deep meditation for many years to please Lord Shiva. She is adorned with white clothes with a Mala (Rudraksh Mala) in her right hand and a kamandal in her left hand. His favorite color is red.
- Maa Chandraghanta: On the third day, devotees worship Goddess Chandraghanta, who is known as the destroyer of demons. He has 10 hands and nine of them hold a trident, mace, bow, arrow, lotus, sword, bell and a ship and one hand remains in abhaya mudra, which blesses his devotees. He has a crescent moon on his forehead, hence he is called Chandraghanta. She rides a tiger and her favorite color is royal blue. It is believed that if the devotees offer her kheer, she removes all their pain.
- Maa Kushmanda: On the fourth day, devotees worship Goddess Kushmanda, also known as the goddess of the universe. It is believed that he created the world with his divine and radiant smile. He has eight hands and is riding on a lion. During this, devotees offer him Malpua, which is considered to be his favorite food. His favorite color is yellow.
- Maa Skandmata: Also known as Mother Goddess, Goddess Skandamata is worshiped by her devotees on the fifth day of Navratri. She has four arms, two of which hold a lotus, and the other two hold a sacred kamandala and a bell. She has three eyes and bright complexion. The goddess carries Kartikeya or Skanda in her lap, hence she is called Skandmata. His favorite color is green and he loves banana fruit.
- Maa Katyayani: On the sixth day of Navratri, devotees worship Goddess ‘Katyayani’ or (warrior) a form of Goddess Shakti. He has four hands, which hold sword, shield, lotus and trident. He is riding on a lion. Her favorite color is gray (Dhumela). Devotees worship the goddess by offering honey as prasad.
- Maa Kalratri: The seventh day of Navratri is dedicated to one of the most ferocious forms of Goddess Parvati, known as Kaalratri, who renounced her skin color and slayed the demons Shumbha and Nishumbha. adopted a dark colour. She rides on a donkey. He has four hands and holds a sword, a trident and a noose, and the fourth is on abhaya and varada mudra to bless the devotees. His favorite color is orange and devotees offer him jaggery as Prasad.
- Maa Mahagauri: The eighth day of Ashtami or Navratri is dedicated to the four-armed goddess Mahagauri, who rides on a bull or a white elephant and carries a trident and a damaru in her hands. His favorite color is peacock green. Devotees offer coconut to Maa Mahagauri.
- Maa Siddhidatri: Goddess Siddhidatri is the final form of Goddess Durga, who is seated on a lotus. He has four hands and holds a mace, a wheel, a book and a lotus in his hands. His favorite color is pink. Sesame is very dear to Goddess Siddhidatri.