Nine Nights of Celebration

Posted by GHATA DESAI | 21st September 2017

  NAVRATRI - Nine Nights of Celebration!
As the name suggests, Navratri meaning ‘nine nights’ is observed in the honour of the divine feminine goddess Durga. Celebrated in different regions of the country in different ways, it ranges from enthusiastic garba as in Gujarat to the devout Durga Pooja in West Bengal. It is a vibrant social festival wherein we can connect with the community.
Belonging to the state of Gujarat, I would like to narrate the celebration of the most awaited festival of the year. Starting from the stage decorations to the immersion of Amba maa’s idol, all the activities are enthusiastically carried out by the people. People, especially girls and women, enjoy this festival a lot by wearing traditional outfits (chaniya choli, colourful jewellery etc.) and playing garba. This is a combination of graceful expressions and actions involving dandiya raas too. But, before this, they make sure to offer the prayer to goddess Amba in the form of aartee everyday. Besides playing garba, some of the people fast for nine days. This is a religious as well as difficult task performed by them. They keep the diya lighted continuously for the complete period of Navratri at their houses.  
Tracing the history of Navratri, it reminds us of the nine forms of goddess Durga. These are:
1. Goddess Shailputri
The first manifestation of Durga is Goddess Shailputri. According to scriptures, she holds a trishul and a lotus in her hands, and rides a bull called Nandi. 
2. Goddess Brahmacharini
The second day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Brahmacharini. She is depicted as a monastic goddess in Hindu scriptures, two-armed, clad in white and holding a rudraksh mala and a sacred Kamandalu. Her stance is of utmost piety and devotion. 
3. Goddess Chandraghanta
The third manifestation of Durga is Goddess Chandraghanta. She is worshiped on the third day of Navratri. She has a golden complexion and on her forehead she wears a crescent moon, which is why she is called Chandraghanta by her devotees.
4. Goddess Kushmanda
On the fourth day of Navratri, Goddess Kushmanda is worshipped. According to Hindu scriptures, the universe was a dark space and it was Goddess Kushmanda who produced the Cosmic Egg with her smile. 
5. Goddess Skandmata
The fifth manifestation of Durga is Skandmata Goddess Skandmata is depicted as a four-armed deity, who carries a lotus in two of her arms with a Kamandalu and a bell. She is also seen carrying little Kartikay on her lap. 
6. Goddess Katyayani 
Worshiped on the sixth day (Shashti) of Navratris, Goddess Katyayani is a form of Shakti who is depicted as having four arms, and carrying a sword. She rides a lion, and can be pleased with true devotion and piety. 
7. Goddess Kaalratri
Goddess Kaalratri is worshiped on the seventh day of Navratris. According to the Hindu scriptures, Goddess Kaalratri is etched as a four-armed deity who rides a donkey. She carries a sword, a trident and a noose.
8. Goddess Mahagauri
Durga Asthami or the eight day of Navratris is dedicated to Goddess Mahagauri. As per the scriptures, Mahagauri worshiped as the four-armed deity who rides on a bull or a white elephant. 
9. Goddess Siddhidatri
Worshiped on the ninth day, Goddess Siddhidhatri is projected as a four-armed deity sitting calmly on a lotus. She also holds a lotus, mace, discus and a book.  

   CLASS 10     

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