Navratri is a Hindu festival extending over nine nights and ten days during which nine forms of goddess Durga are worshipped. Explore all about its customs, traditions, celebration and dates for 2016 and 2017.
Navratri is a popular Hindu festival dedicated to Goddess Durga. The festival is celebrated twice a year, dates of which are determined according to the lunar calendar. Generally, Navratri celebrations coincide with the beginning of spring and autumn season. The word Navratri has been derived from Sanskrit and literally stands for �nine nights�. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped. Goddess Durga symbolizes purity, power and divinity. During the nine days, the divine incarnation is invoked as people worship God in the form of universal mother in Goddess Durga. The festival symbolizes the victory of positivity over negativity. It urges people to get rid of the negativity inside them in the form of hatred, jealousy, anger, greed and violence and become better human beings. Navratri is celebrated all over India with much pomp and gaiety. There are various legendary stories as to why Navratri is celebrated, each having their own significance. As per a legend, one of the fiercest demons, Mahisasura was killed by Goddess Durga in a battle that lasted for nine days, coinciding with Navratri celebration. As per another legend, Lord Rama invoked Goddess Durga�s blessing before taking on Ravana. He fasted and prayed for nine days and on the tenth day killed the ten-headed Ravana, a day which coincides with Dusshera. Yet another tale says that Navratri celebrates the homecoming of Goddess Durga, when Shiva allowed Durga to visit her mother. Whatever the reason may be, Navratri celebration re-confirms our faith in Shakti or energy and invokes the awakening of divinity within us.
Nine Goddesses of Navratri
Navratri celebrations last for nine days. During these nine days, nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped.
Day 1 is called Pratipada on which Shailaputri Maa is revered. She is daughter (putri) of the mountains or Himalayas (Shaila) and is the primal energy of the trident � Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh.
Day 2 is called Dwitiya on which Brahmacharini form is prayed to. She is symbolic of penance and severity and shows way to moksh and complete blissfulness.
Day 3 is called Tritiya on which Chandraghanta is worshipped. Durga takes the form of a 10-armed mother riding a lion. She slays all the evil forces and negative energy.
Day 4 is called Chaturthi on which Kushmanda form is called upon. She is referred to as the creator of universe.
Day 5 is called Panchami on which Skandamata is worshipped. On this day, Goddess Durga is worshipped as the mother of Skanda or Karthikeya, the chief warrior of Gods.
Day 6 is called Shashthi on which Katyayani is prayed to. On this day, Goddess Durga takes a fierce form. She is worshipped as the daughter of sage Katyayan.
Day 7 is called Saptami on which Kaalratri form is worshipped. On this day, Durga takes up the most terrible and ruthless form. She showcases the other side of life, i.e. death.
Day 8 is called Ashtami on which Maha Gauri form is called upon. She is symbolic of calmness and wisdom. She grants peace and knowledge to her devotees.
Day 9 is called Navami on which Siddhidatri is prayed to. Goddess Durga fulfills all the wishes of her devotees and blesses them with boons in the form of good health, happiness, prosperity and wisdom.
Traditions of Navratri
Did you know that Navratri is celebrated five times a year? Yes, as surprising as this may seems to be, Navratri comes five times in a year, of which Vasanta/Chaitra Navratri and Sharad Navratri are of prime importance. The other three are observed by a select group.
Vasanta Navratri comes during the month of March and April and is celebrated with much gaiety and fervor. It is observed during the Shukla Paksha of Chaitra. It marks the start of the New Year as per the Hindu mythological lunar calendar.
Ashad Navratri or Gupt Navratri falls during the month of Ashad or June and July It is observed during the Ashadha Shukla Paksha. This Navratri is generally observed by shaktas only.
Sharad Navaratri or Maha Navratri is the most important of the Navaratris� and is celebrated during the month of September and October or the Sharad Paksha. This Navratri is celebrated widely with great enthusiasm, as devotees bask in the festive tide and invoke the glorious, mighty and powerful form of Shakti, Goddess Durga.
Pausha Navaratri falls during the month of December and January. It is observed during the Pausha Shukla Paksha.
Magha Navaratri is also known as Gupta Navaratri. This Navratri is celebrated during the month of January and February.
Chaitra Navratri or Vasant Navratri as it is known as is celebrated during the spring season of the year and it falls in the month of March or April. The significance of Chaitra Navratri revolves around the crowning of Prince Sudarsana, as the King of Kosala. However, a battle for the kingship led Sudarsana to seek refuge under Rishi Bharadwaja. In what occurred as a chain of events, Prince Sudarsana began to worship the Divine Mother who blessed him with divine weapons and inexhaustible quiver. He then wedded Sashikala, daughter of the King of Benaras. Devi exterminated the then King of Kosala and Prince Sudarsana became the new King. On Chaitra Navratri, havan and pooja is done to please Goddess Durga. Many devotees keep fast or vrat to sanctify their mind, body and souls and invoke the blessings of Durga. The Chaitra Navratri culminates in Ram Navami which marks the start of the New Year as per the Hindu mythological lunar calendar.
Sharad Navratri is the most popular among all the Navratris. Also known as Maha Navratri, it occurs on the lunar moth of Ashwin during Sharad Ritu and falls in the month of September or October. The nine days of the festivity are celebrated with immense zeal and enthusiasm. It symbolizes the victory of positivity over negativity. Goddess Durga is symbolic of power or �Shakti� and divinity. There are a lot of legends associated with Sharad Navratri. While some believe Goddess Durga battled against the bull-headed demon Mahisasur for nine days and slayed him on the tenth day, some say that Lord Rama intensely prayed to Goddess Durga to give him the courage to fight against the ten-headed Ravana. Some even say that Navratri celebrates the homecoming of Goddess Durga, when Shiva allowed Durga to visit her mother for nine days. Sharad Navratri celebrations are conducted on a grand scale. People indulge in cleaning the house and adorning it. Devotees keep fasts, perform religious rites both in the morning and evening invoking the blessing of Goddess Durga, make delicious sweets and do kanya pujan wherein young girls are treated as devi and pampered with gifts and food.
Customs & Rituals
Navratri is the longest Hindu festival of the year, spanning over nine nights and ten days. Though the customs and rituals vary state wise in the country, the spirit and enthusiasm remains the same. Nine forms of Shakti are worshipped during the festival. Generally, Navratri celebrations begin with the Ghata Sthapana. A pot is installed at a sanctified place at home. Akhand diya or uninterrupted lit lamp is lit in the pot that remains ignited for nine days and nine nights. While the pot symbolizes the universe, the akhand diya is the medium through which we worship Durga, the Adishakti. Devotes pray to Durga and perform religious rites both in the morning and evening. Another prevalent custom of Navratri is sowing of barley/jowar seeds on the first day of the festival. The seeds are sowed and watered for nine days continuously. The custom coincides with fertility worship. On the ninth day, Khetri or the sprouting of the seeds is indicative of the �first fruit� of worship.
Kanya pujan is yet another famous custom of Navratri. Fasts are kept on the first seven days of the festival. On the eighth day, delicacies like halwa, puri and chana are prepared. Young girls are called in. They are treated as Goddess Devi or Kanjak Devi. Kanya pujan is done by washing their feet, applying tilak on their forehead, giving them food to eat and gifting them bangles, chunni and other goodies. During Navratri, devotees avoid meat, alcoholic drinks, grains, wheat and onion. People fast so as to purify themselves of all the negative energy and start afresh. It is also a period of introspection. Negative traits like hatred, jealousy, anger, greed and violence are got rid of. People pray to Goddess Durga for health, happiness and wisdom.
Navratri celebrations take place with lot of fervor and excitement in all parts of India. Different region celebrate the festival in different ways.
In North India, Navratri celebrations are held with great pomp and show. States like Delhi, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Haryana celebrate the festival by keeping fast or vrat. Those who do not keep fast avoid alcohol, meat, garlic and onion for nine days. Akhand diya is lit, barley seeds are sown and religious rites are performed both in the morning and evening. The festival concludes on the eighth day when traditional halwa, puri and chana are made. Young girls or Kanjak Devis are invited and worshipped as Goddess Durga.
In West India, states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Mumbai immerse themselves in Navratri merrymaking through Dandiya Rass and Garba. Governments of the states organize huge dance festivals wherein people flock together and dance for the entire nine nights. The states come alive with the buoyant spirit of the dance. In Garba, men and women wear colorful costume and dance euphorically. In Dandiya Rass, men and women dance with each other by clicking wooden sticks or dandiya.
In East India, Navratri celebrations are known as Durga Puja in states of West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Assam. People celebrate the festival with great devotion and reverence. Exquisitely crafted and life-size clay idols of Goddess Durga depicting her slaying the demon Mahishasura are set up. These idols are worshipped for 5 days, starting from Panchami. Unlike the custom of fasting in North India, in east India, people indulge themselves to delicious sweets and savories. Every day, people devour upon a luxurious treat of food.
In South Indian states of Karnataka and Telangana, Navratri is celebrated with magnificent splendor and grandeur. In Mysore the festival became official during King Raja Wodeyar I�s reign in 1610. It coincides with Dasara festival. On the ninth day of the festival, a procession of embellished elephants, camels and horses carrying a royal sword is worshipped. In Karnataka, Ayudh puja is central to this celebration. Anything that helps one earn livelihood and living is worshipped. Books, pen, computers, plough, agricultural tools, machinery, cars/buses/trucks are all decorated and worshipped. In Telangana, Navratri is celebrated as Bathukamma festival. Three Goddesses are worshipped in nine days, Goddess Kali, Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati.
2016 - Chaitra Navratri: 8 April to 16 April, Sharad Navratri: 1 October to 10 October
2017 - Chaitra Navratri: 28 March to 5 April, Sharad Navratri: 21 September to 29 September
2018 - Chaitra Navratri: 18 March to 26 March, Sharad Navratri: 10 October to 18 October
2019 - Chaitra Navratri: 6 April to 14 April, Sharad Navratri: 29 September to 7 October
2020 - Chaitra Navratri: 25 March to 3 April, Sharad Navratri: 17 October to 25 October
"Navarathri" redirects here. For the Tamil film starring Sivaji Ganesan, see Navarathri (1964 film). For the Telugu film starring Akkineni Nageswara Rao, see Navarathri (1966 film).
Navratri celebrates either Durga or Rama victory over an evil demon, depending on the region
|Also called||Durga Puja|
|Observances||stage setting, prayers, plays, image immersion or bonfire|
|Begins||Ashvin Shukla Prathama|
|Ends||Ashvin Shukla Navami|
|2018 date||9 Oct, Tue – 17 Oct, Wed|
(Vijayadashami: 18 Oct, Thu)
|2019 date||29 Sep, Sun - 8 Oct, Tue |
(Vijayadashami: 8th Oct, Tue)
Navaratri (Sanskrit: नवरात्रि, literally "nine nights"), also spelled Navratri or Navarathri, is a nine nights (and ten days) Hindu festival, celebrated in the autumn every year. It is observed for different reasons and celebrated differently in various parts of the Indian subcontinent. Theoretically, there are four seasonal Navratri. However, in practice, it is the post-monsoon autumn festival called Sharada Navratri that is the most observed in the honor of the divine feminine Devi (Durga). The festival is celebrated in the bright half of the Hindu calendar month Ashvin, which typically falls in the Gregorian months of September and October.
In the eastern and northeastern states of India, the Durga Puja is synonymous with Navratri, wherein goddess Durga battles and emerges victorious over the buffalo demon to help restore Dharma. In the northern and western states, the festival is synonymous with "Rama Lila" and Dussehra that celebrates the battle and victory of god Rama over the demon king Ravana. In southern states, the victory of different goddesses, of Rama or Saraswati is celebrated. In all cases, the common theme is the battle and victory of Good over Evil based on a regionally famous epic or legend such as the Ramayana or the Devi Mahatmya.
Celebrations include stage decorations, recital of the legend, enacting of the story, and chanting of the scriptures of Hinduism. The nine days are also a major crop season cultural event, such as competitive design and staging of pandals, a family visit to these pandals and the public celebration of classical and folk dances of Hindu culture. On the final day, called the Vijayadashami or Dussehra, the statues are either immersed in a water body such as river and ocean, or alternatively the statue symbolizing the evil is burnt with fireworks marking evil's destruction. The festival also starts the preparation for one of the most important and widely celebrated holidays, Diwali, the festival of lights, which is celebrated twenty days after the Vijayadashami or Dussehra.
Etymology and nomenclature
The word Navratri means 'nine nights' in Sanskrit, nava meaning nine and ratri meaning nights.
Dates and celebrations
According to some Hindu texts such as the Shakta and Vaishnava Puranas, Navaratri theoretically falls twice or four times a year. Of these, the Sharada Navaratri near autumn equinox (September-October) is the most celebrated, and the Vasanta Navaratri near spring equinox (March-April) is next most significant to the culture of Indian subcontinent. In all cases, Navaratri falls in the bright half of the Hindu luni-solar months. The celebrations vary by region, leaving much to the creativity and preferences of the Hindu.
- Sharada Navaratri: the most celebrated of the four navaratris, named after sharada which means autumn. It is observed the lunar month of Ashvin (post-monsoon, September–October). In many regions the festival falls after autumn harvest, and in others during harvest.
- Vasanta Navaratri: the second most celebrated, named after vasanta which means spring. It is observed the lunar month of Chaitra (post-winter, March–April). In many regions the festival falls after spring harvest, and in others during harvest.[where?— see talk page]
The other two navratris are minor and observed regionally or by individuals:
- Magha Navaratri: in Magha (January–February), winter season. The fifth day of this festival is often independently observed as Vasant Panchami or Basant Panchami, the official start of spring in the Hindu tradition wherein goddess Saraswati is revered through arts, music, writing, kite flying. In some regions, the Hindu god of love, Kama is revered.
- Ashada Navaratri: in Ashadha (June–July), start of the monsoon season.
The Sharada Navratri commences on the first day (pratipada) of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Ashvini. The festival is celebrated for nine nights once every year during this month, which typically falls in the Gregorian months of September and October. The exact dates of the festival are determined according to the Hindu luni-solar calendar, and sometimes the festival may be held for a day more or a day less depending on the adjustments for sun and moon movements and the leap year.
The festivities extend beyond goddess Durga and god Rama. Various other goddesses such as Saraswati and Lakshmi, gods such as Ganesha, Kartikeya, Shiva and Krishna are regionally revered. For example, a notable pan-Hindu tradition during Navratri is the adoration of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge, learning, music and arts through Ayudha Puja. On this day, which typically falls on the ninth day of Navratri after the Good has won over Evil through Durga or Rama, peace and knowledge is celebrated. Warriors thank, decorate and worship their weapons, offering prayers to Saraswati. Musicians upkeep their musical instruments, play and pray to them. Farmers, carpenters, smiths, pottery makers, shopkeepers and all sorts of trades people similarly decorate and worship their equipment, machinery and tools of trade. Students visit their teachers, express respect and seek their blessings. This tradition is particularly strong in South India, but is observed elsewhere too.
To some, Navratri is a cultural and social festival which marks family time, along with the celebration of various performance arts. Navratri has been called the Hindu festival of dance.
Significance of Each Day
The festival is associated to the prominent battle that took place between Durga and demon Mahishasura and celebrates the victory of Good over Evil. These nine days are solely dedicated to Goddess Durga and her nine Avatars. Each day is associated to an incarnation of the goddess:
Day 1: Shailaputri
Known as Pratipada, this day is associated to Shailaputri( lit. Daughuter of Mountain), an incarnation of Parvati. It is in this form that the Goddess is worshiped as the consort of Shiva; she is depicted as riding a Bull, with a Trishul in her right hand and Lotus in left. Shailaputri represents the collective power of the Hindu Trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh. The color of the day is Red, which depicts action and vigor.
Day 2: Brahmcharini
On Dwitiya, Goddess Brahmcharini, another incarnation of Parvati, is worshiped. In this form, Parvati became Sati, her unmarried self. Brahmcharini is worshiped for emancipation or moksha and endowment of peace and prosperity. Depicted as walking bare feet and holding a japamala and kamandalu in her hands, she symbolizes bliss and calm. The color of the day is Royal Blue which depicts calmness-cum-energy.
Day 3: Chandraghanta
Tritiya commemorates the worship of Chandraghanta- the name derived from the fact that after marrying Shiva, Parvati adorned her forehead with half-chandra(lit. moon). She is the embodiment of beauty and is also symbolic of bravery, and hence, the color of the day is Yellow.
Day 4: Kushmunda
Goddess Kushmunda is worshiped on Chaturthi. Believed to be the creative power of universe, Kushmunda is associated to the endowment of vegetation on earth and hence, the color of the day is Green. She is depicted as having eight arms and sits on a Lion.
Day 5: Skandmata
Skandmata, the goddess worshiped on Panchami, is the mother of Skand(or Kartikeya). The color Grey is symbolic of the transforming strength of a mother when her child is confronted to dangers. she is depicted riding a ferocious Lion, having four arms, and holding her baby.
Day 6: Katyayani
Born to a sage, Katya, she is an incarnation of Durga and is shown to exhibit courage which is symbolized by the color Orange. Known as the warrior goddess, she is considered one of the most violent forms of Goddess Parvati. In this avatar, the Devi rides a lion and has four hands.
Day 7: Kalratri
Considered the most ferocious form of Goddess Durga, Kali is revered on Saptmi. It is believed that Parvati removed her fair skin to kill the demons Sumbh and Nisumbh. The color of the day is White.
Day 8: Mahagauri
Mahagauri symbolizes intelligence and peace. The color associated to this day is Pink which depicts optimism.
Day 9: Sidhidatri
On the last day of the festival also known as Navami, people pray to Siddhidaatri. Sitting on a lotus, she is believed to possess and bestows all type of Siddhis. Here she has four hands.
Navaratri is celebrated in different ways throughout India. Some fast, others feast. Some revere the same Mother Goddess but different aspects of her, while others revere avatars of Vishnu, particularly of Rama. The Chaitra Navaratri culminates in Rama Navami on the ninth day, and the Sharada Navaratri culminates in Durga Puja and Dussehra.
The Rama Navami remembers the birth of Rama, preceded by nine days of Ramayana recital particularly among the Vaishnava temples. In the past, Shakta Hindus used to recite Durga's legends during the Chaitra Navaratri, but this practice around the spring equinox has been declining. For most contemporary Hindus, it is the Navaratri around the autumn equinox that is the major festival and the one observed. To Bengali Hindus and to Shakta Hindus outside of eastern and northeastern states of India, the term Navaratri implies Durga Puja in the warrior goddess aspect of Devi. In other traditions of Hinduism, the term Navaratri implies something else or the celebration of Hindu goddess but in her more peaceful forms such as Saraswati – the Hindu goddess of knowledge, learning, music and other arts. In Nepal, Navaratri is called Dasain, and is a major annual homecoming and family event that celebrates the bonds between elders and youngsters with Tika Puja, as well as across family and community members.
Eastern India and West Bengal
Main article: Durga Puja
The Navratri is celebrated as the Durga Puja festival in West Bengal. It is the most important annual festival to Bengali Hindus, and a major social and public event in eastern and northeastern states of India, where it dominates the religious life. The occasion is celebrated with thousands of temporary stages called pandals are built in community squares, roadside shrines and large Durga temples in West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, eastern Nepal, Assam, Tripura and nearby regions. It is also observed by some Shakta Hindus as a private, home-based festival. Durga Puja festival marks the battle of goddess Durga with the shape-shifting, deceptive and powerful buffalo demon Mahishasura, and her emerging victorious.
The last five days of Navratri mark the popular practices during Durga Puja. The festival begins with Mahalaya, a day where Shakta Hindus remember the loved ones who have died, as well the advent of warrior goddess Durga. The next most significant day of Durga Puja celebrations is the sixth day, called Shashthi where the local community welcome the goddess Durga Devi and festive celebrations are inaugurated. On the seventh day (Saptami), eighth (Ashtami) and ninth (Navami), Durga along with Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha and Kartikeya are revered and these days mark the main Puja (worship) with recitation of the scriptures, the legends of Durga in Devi Mahatmya and social visits by families to elaborately decorated and lighted up temples and pandals (theatre like stages). After the nine nights, on the tenth day called Vijayadashami, a great procession is held where the clay statues are ceremoniously walked to a river or ocean coast for a solemn goodbye to Durga. Many mark their faces with vermilion (sindoor) or dress in something red. It is an emotional day for some devotees, and the congregation sings emotional goodbye songs. After the procession, Hindus distribute sweets and gifts, visit their friends and family members.
In North India, Navaratri is marked by the numerous Ramlila events, where episodes from the story of Rama and Ravana are enacted by teams of artists in rural and urban centers, inside temples or in temporarily constructed stages. This Hindu tradition of festive performance arts was inscribed by UNESCO as one of the "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity" in 2008. The festivities, states UNESCO, include songs, narration, recital and dialogue based on the Hindu text Ramacharitmanas by Tulsidas. It is particularly notable in historically important Hindu cities of Ayodhya, Varanasi, Vrindavan, Almora, Satna and Madhubani – cities in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.
The festival and dramatic enactment of the virtues versus vices filled story is organized by communities in hundreds of small villages and towns, attracting a mix of audience from different social, gender and economic backgrounds. In many parts, the audience and villagers join in and participate spontaneously, some helping the artists, others helping with stage set up, create make-up, effigies and lights.
Navaratri has historically been a prominent ritual festival for kings and military of a kingdom. At the end of the Navratri, comes Dussehra, where the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna, and Meghanada are burnt to celebrate the victory of good (Rama) over evil forces on Vijayadashami.
Elsewhere, during this religious observance, goddess Durga's war against deception and evil is remembered. 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 symbolizes the Adishakti, i.e. Durga Devi.
In parts of Bihar, goddess Durga is revered during the autumn Navratri. In other parts, such near Sitamarhi close to Nepal border, the spring Navratri attracts a large Ramanavami fair which marks the birth of Lord Rama as well as a reverence for his wife Sita who legends place was born at Sitamarhi. It is the largest cattle trading fair, and attracts a large handicrafts market in pottery, kitchen and house ware, as well as traditional clothing. Festive performance arts and celebrations are held at the local Hindu temple dedicated to Sita, Hanuman, Durga, and Ganesha.
Navaratri festival in Gujarat is one of the main festivals. The traditional method includes fasting for a day, or partially every of the nine days such as by not eating grains or just taking liquid foods, in remembrance of one of nine aspects of Shakti goddess. The prayers are dedicated to a symbolic clay pot called garbo, as a remembrance of womb of the family and universe. The clay pot is lit, and this is believed to represent the one Atman (soul, self).
In Gujarat and nearby Hindu communities such as in Malwa, the garbo significance is celebrated through performance arts on all nine days. The most visible is group dances from villages to towns called Garba accompanied by live orchestra, seasonal raga, or devotional songs. It is a folk dance, where people of different background and skills join and form concentric circles. The circles can grow or shrink, reaching sizes of 100s, sometimes 1000s of people, dancing and clapping in circular moves, in their traditional costumes, at the same time. The garba dance sometimes deploys dandiyas (sticks), coordinated movements and striking of sticks between the dancers, and teasing between the genders. Post dancing, the group and the audience socializes and feasts together. Regionally, the same thematic celebration of community songs, music and dances on Navaratri is called garbi or garabi.
In the temples of Goa, on the first day of the Hindu month of Ashwin, in temples (and some households), a copper pitcher is installed surrounded by clay in which nine varieties of food grains are placed inside the sanctum sanctorum of Devi and Krishna temples. The nine nights are celebrated by presenting devotional songs, and through religious discourses. Artists arrive to perform folk musical instruments. Celebrations include placing the goddess image in a specially-decorated colourful silver swing, known as Makhar in Konkani and for each of the nine nights, she is swung to the tune of temple music (called as ranavadya) and devotees singing kirtan and waving lamps. This is locally called Makharotsav.
The last night of the Goa Navaratri festival is a major celebration and attracts larger participation. It is locally called the maha arati.
In Karnataka, Navaratri is observed by lighting up Hindu temples, cultural sites and my regal processions. It is locally called Dasara, and it is the state festival (Nadahabba) of Karnataka. Of the many celebrations, the Mysuru Dasara is a major one and is popular for its festivities.
The contemporary Dasara festivities at Mysore are credited to the efforts of 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 and horses. The day after Navratri, on the Vijayadashami day, the traditional Dasara procession is held on the streets of Mysore. An image of the Goddess Chamundeshwari is placed on a golden saddle (hauda) on the back of a decorated elephant and taken on a procession, accompanied by tableaux, dance groups, music bands, decorated elephants, horses and camels.
Ayudha Puja is dedicated to Saraswati goddess, on the ninth day of Dasara, where military personnel upkeep their weapons and families upkeep their tools of livelihood, both offering a prayer to Saraswati as well as Parvati and Lakshmi. Another Navaratri tradition in Karnataka has been decorating a part of one's home with art dolls called Gombe or Bombe, similar to Golu dolls of Tamil Nadu. An art themed Gaarudi Gombe, featuring folk dances which incorporate these dolls, is also a part of the celebration.
In Kerala and in some parts of Karnataka three days: Ashtami, Navami, and Vijaya Dashami of Sharada 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 Vidyāraṃbhaṃ.
The Vidyarambham day tradition starts with the baby or child sitting on the lap of an elderly person such as the grandfather, near images of Saraswati and Ganesha. The elder writes a letter and the child writes the same with his or her index finger. This Hindu tradition is so popular that Christian organizations have copied it and ritually observe it inside many churches. However, Navratri traditions of Hindus is not the only tradition observed by Kerala Christians, many other Hindu ritual traditions are celebrated in Churches.
The Navratri celebrations vary across Maharashtra, and the specific rites differ between regions even if they are called the same and dedicated to the same deity. The most common celebration begins on the first day of Navaratri with Ghatasthapana (sthapana of a ghat), which literally means "mounting of a jar". On this day, rural households mount a copper or brass jar, filled with water, upon a small heap of rice kept on a wooden stool (pat). Additionally, with the jar, is typically placed other agriculture symbols such as turmeric root, leaves of mango tree, coconut and major staple grains (usually eight varieties). A lamp is lighted symbolizing knowledge and household prosperity, and kept alight through the nine nights of Navaratri.
The women worship the pot for nine days by offering rituals and a garland of flowers, leaves, fruits, dry-fruits, etc. with a naivedya, and water is offered in order to get the seeds sprouted. Some families also celebrate Kaali pujan on days 1 and 2, Laxmi pujan on days 3, 4, 5 and Saraswati puja on days 6, 7, 8, 9 along with Ghatasthapana. On the eighth day, a "Yajna" or "Hom" is performed in the name of Goddess Durga. On ninth day, the Ghat puja is done and the Ghat is dissolved after taking off the sprouted leaves of the grains. In many families, a woman from Matang community is called and offered food and blessings are sought from her. She is considered as a form of the Goddess "Matangi".
Two Durga Puja pandals in Kolkata during Navratri