Zee Media Bureau/Ayushi Kakkar
New Delhi: The auspicious festival of Navratri, which is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga, is finally here. And, as its name suggests, Nav meaning nine and Ratri is nights. So ,it's a nine-day long festival which is celebrated with much pomp and show across the length and breadth of India.
During this period, people conduct dandiya and garba nights. On the tenth day, addressed as Vijayadashami or Dussehra, Hindus burn the effigies of demon king Ravana. Hence, the festival marks the victory of good over evil.
Though there are five types of Navratri that fall in a year, yet the two kinds are widely celebrated - one being 'Chaitra Navratri' (in the month of March-April) and the other being 'Sharad Navratri' (in the month of September-October).
Here, we bring you the Top 5 destinations in India where 'Durga Puja Utsav' is celebrated at its best:
Navratri is widely celebrated in the state of West Bengal where Durga Puja is held as a five-day long extravaganza. The city is decorated with hundreds of Durga Puja Pandals. Usually, ladies dress up in white sarees with red border and men wear dhoti kurtas. Maa Durga is welcomed with open arms and females go around by making a loud hoot through a shankh. The festival ends with the immersion of Mata idols on Maha Dashami. The city is overpowered by Durga Bhakti. Visiting the capital city Kolkata during this time is ones in a lifetime experience!
Devotees worship an earthen pot called garbha which signifies a womb and it symbolises the source of life on Earth. Then the holy earthen pot is filled with water, a betel nut and a silver coin. Also, a coconut is placed on top of the pot. Followed by the grand dance celebrations!
We all know how famous is the state of Gujarat for its dandiya and garba nights. So, if you are residing in a nearby state or in the Gujarat itself then you are in for a grand treat.
In Punjab, people observe fasts for 7, 8 or 9 days (depending on the days they are celebrating Saptami, Ashtami and Navami). The fasts are broken by worshipping little girls, from family and neighbourhood, who are treated as forms of Maa Durga. They are also called Kanjak.
After worshipping these younger forms of Durga, they are served a grand feast constituting puri, chole and halwa. Also, Jagran takes place during these nine nights where people sing and dance to the glory of Mata Rani.
Celebrate this nine-day long festival in the spiritual capital of India- Varanasi. Navratri is celebrated with great fervour in this holy city and the 'Ramleela' is the highlight of Navratri celebrations. Ramleela brings alive the tale of Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshman.
The Entitre city of Kashi is soaked in the bhakti of Mata. The magical view on the banks of river Ganges is unparalleled!
It's not just the CR park which is immersed with Durga Bhakti, rather the whole of the capital is soaked in the festive colours. As the capital constitutes all the communities from across the country, Navratri is celebrated in different ways.
You will get to see Durga Puja pandals in Chittaranjan park, or people hailing 'Jai Mata Di' in Jhandewalan temple, South Indians doing their Kolu rituals and Assamese and other communities also contributing to the festivities. Thus, the capital is a must visit during the time!