Our Indian culture is marked for its magnificent celebration of festivals filled with rituals, colors, lights and diverse varieties of food. Pooja festival is one such remarkable festival celebrated across India.
Navratri, a nine-day festival, which also gets the name as Durga Puja, Dussehra, Ramlila, and Maha Navami, is celebrated in every region across the nation but in differ forms, names, and also of diverse rituals and history. The ninth day of Navratri is marked by Ayudha puja/Saraswati Puja. Navratri ends with Vijayadhashami meaning “victory on tenth day.” Check on the interesting traditional facts and decide on your plans for puja/pooja this year.
Durga Puja marks the victory of goddess Durga over buffalo demon Mahishasura. It is more famous in regions of West Bengal, Tiripura, and other northeastern states of India. The event happens for ten days, celebrating goddess Durga with Mantras, Shlokas, and Arati associated with cultural events. Every street and region across Bengal dazzles with colours and lights all around, indeed a treat for our eyes and also have a good treat for your taste buds with all those traditional recipes of the festive season.
Ninth day marks Mahanavami, victory of goddess Durga. As a mark of victory, women playfully smear sindoor on the face of other women and celebrate with music and dance. On tenth day, Vijayadhashami, the clay stautes of Durga are carried in procession and immersed in river banks or shores as a mark of goodbye to Durga.
Dhunuchi dance, Delicious Bhog, the enthusiastic crowd are important happenings one should never miss on Puja days and also don’t miss out on the rituals happening. Step out and treat yourself..!!
Navratri takes up the name Rama Lila in the northern and Western parts of India. It marks the victory of Rama over Ravana. Plays and dramas depicting the historic event and happenings between Rama and Ravana are enacted across the regions on all these days. Vijayadhashami/Dusshera marks the end of Navratri where the portraits/effigies of Ravana and his team are burnt and victory is celebrated.
The performance of traditional artistic events is honored as “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO. Check on the exciting offers for this Dussehra.
Vijayadhashami/Dasara in Karnataka
Royal Court clothed under dazzling lights – that’s how the Palace of Mysore turns on the festive season of Dasara. Around a lakh of lights are used to decorate the palace. Major city streets, historical monuments, and Hindu Temples glow under the coloured lights. This 10-day celebration is associated with cultural events, military parades, competitions, etc. A main source of attraction is the entire Mysore Palace is illuminated for three hours on all these ten days. Events highlighting the cultural specifications are performed in front of the illuminated palace.
On tenth day, Vijayadhashami, the traditional procession of Dasara happens on the streets of Mysore where the idol of goddess Chamundeshwari placed on a decorated elephant is taken in procession. Dasara festival and the cultural events, procession happening along with it attracts tourists from around the world. All credits to Raja Wodeyar I who first observed Dasara Festival in 1610.
Golu in South India
Golu is much common in the southern states and is associated with Navaratri, a nine-day festival which ends with Vijayadashami on the tenth day.
Goddess Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Parvati are worshipped with much reverence on these days and their idols are placed on the top shelf of Kolu. Racks of odd-numbered shelves are built (3, 5, 7, 9, or 11) and the figurines, idols, and dolls depicting historic events, court scenes, everyday life, etc are all placed. The images of deities are placed in the top shelves and the entire Kolu is decorated with lights.
Much of socializing happens on these days where they invite friends and neighbor to visit Kolu at their house. Bajans are sung and gifts and sweets are exchanged. Check for best deals on gifts from SaveMyRupee.
The ninth day is celebrated as Saraswati pooja, where goddess Saraswati who is considered as a source of knowledge and wisdom is offered special prayers. Poojas for books and musical instruments are also done along with the special prayers.
Vijayadashami, which literally means victory on tenth day, is believed to be a day of new beginning. Kids start their schooling and new ventures are opened on this day with a belief it would prosper.
Something that can’t be missed in Kolu is Marapacchi Bommai. The dolls are generally made in pairs dressed in wedding attire symbolizing husband and wife. It is also a tradition of gifting marapacchi dolls to the newly wedded daughter by her mother.
The ninth day of Navratri (Navami) is celebrated as Ayudha Pooja in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and certain northeastern parts. All instruments, tools, vehicles that help in daily livelihood of workers/people are decorated and worshipped along with goddess Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Parvati. Ayudha Pooja is associated with Saraswati Pooja.
In some districts of Odhisha, worshipping of weapons is carried out as a ritual by cops on Ayudha Pooja day. Goddess Durga, a warrior God, is worshipped in most of the police stations in Odhisha. The weapons are cleaned, decorated and placed at the feet of goddess Durga and poojas are offered with much reverence. This ritual is now followed in many work places by offering poojas to work instruments.
Navratri Food for Fasting
In the northern parts of India, fasting is observed especially by women on all nine days, wholly or partially. Check out for the special food choices you can have for this fast as regular diet can’t be followed.
A sweet pudding made out of tapioca pearls/sabudana/javvarisi, milk, sugar and spices. One of the best suggested foods during Navratri fast.
Samvat Rice Kheer
The recipe prepared from barnyard millet, a best substitute for rice in olden days. These millets are antioxidants, gluten free, and rich in fibre making it a best suit for fasting food. Cooked in milk along with sugar, rasins, cashews, cardamom powder, and saffron strands. Good served hot or cold.