Date: 28thMar - 5thApr, 2017
Chaitra Navratri is also known as Basant Navratri is devoted to the worship of Goddess Shakti and observed by devotees for nine days and nights. Chaitra Navratri, as the name indicates, is celebrated in the Hindu month of Chaitra (April). Navratri is derived from two words wherein ‘Nav’ stands for Nine and ‘Ratri’ means nights. This nine day festivity begins from the first day of Shukla Paksh in the month of Chaitra and end on Ram Navami, the ninth day of consecrated Navratris. During these nine divine nights, the followers of Goddess Shakti worship her nine divine forms.Nine Forms of Goddess Shakti, which are worshipped during Chaitra Navratris-
- Navamai Siddhiratri
These nine forms of Goddess Durga are collectively known as “Navratri”.Legends of Navratri Festival
Triumph over Mahishasura
According to Hindu mythological tales, Mahishasura, the powerful demon worshipped Lord Shiva and attained impregnable power. In a little while, he started slaying people living on earth and soon he possessed Swaraglok. Even the three mighty Gods, Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma were helpless to conquer him due to invincible power attained by him. Thus, all the Gods used their powers and created a divine being called “Shakti” or the warrior Goddess
All the Gods blessed Goddess Durga with impregnable power and send her on earth to defeat Mahishasura. She started a war and after battling him with nine days, she killed Mahishasura and saved the innocent lives on earth. Thus, Navratri is celebrated the triumph of Goddess Shakti over demon Mahishasura.
Legend of Sati
According to this legend, King Daksha of Himalayas had a virtuous and beautiful daughter ‘Uma’. She wished to marry Lord Shiva so Uma worshipped him with full devotion. As a result, Lord Shiva married Uma. One day, Uma yearned to take part in a yagna, but Lord Shiva stopped her to witness Yagna performed by her father Daksha.
When she went to take part in yagna, her father insulted Lord Shiva. Uma was unable to bear up this insult so she decided to end her life by jumping into agni kund. After this incident, Uma came to be known as ‘Sati’. She took birth again and tied the knot with Lord Shiva. It is mentioned in Hindu folklores that Sati stayed with her parents for nine days and every year these nine days are celebrated in the form of ‘Navratri’.Navratri Celebrations
During the initial days of the Navratras (1st - 3rd), a small bed of mud is prepared in the Puja room. Barley seeds in an earthen pot are sown and distributed amongst devotees . These 3 days are devoted to the Goddess of energy and power, Durga. 4th to 6th days of Chaitra Navratri are dedicated to the Goddess of prosperity and peace, Mata Lakshmi and people. Devotees worship Goddess Saraswati on seventh and eighth day with full devotion and high spirits. Navratri celebrations is incomplete without fasting and devotees of Goddess Shakti observe fast on these nine days to seek blessings of Ma Shakti. They perform holy aarti at home, lit lamps and chant holy mantras to attain happiness and wealth.
The festival of Chaitra Navratri is culminated on MMahnavami, which is the ninth day of this pious occasion. On this day, devotees perform Kanya Pujan as young girls represent the nine divine forms of Goddess Durga. The followers of Ma Durga also give food, clothes and money to the deprived ones to attain prosperity and happiness. The priests of the temples perform holy Aartis during Navratris to seek the blessings.