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Hindu Existence Desk Kolkata : Amidst vedic chants and religious hymns, devotees worlwide thronged the, Shakti Peethas, temples, holy shrines as Navratri – the nine-day festival dedicated to Goddess Durga – began Wednesday the 28th Sept, 2011.
Eager to offer coconuts, ‘chunris’, bangles, vermilion and other religious items, devotees in serpentine queues were seen waiting for their turn outside the temples to seek the deity’s blessings.
“It is believed the devotees who pray and fast during the auspicious occasion are blessed by the divine mother,” Dev Narayan Shastri, a priest at the Lucknow Kalibari temple in Uttar Pardesh, India, told reporters.
Besides the Kalibari temple in Chowk locality, a heavy rush of devotees was also witnessed at Maa Chaturbhuji temple in Gosainganj, Bhagwati temple in Aliganj and Chandrika Devi temple in Bakshi ka talab – situated on the outskirts of the city of Lucknow.
“Prayers during Navratra hold special significance as they are answered by the Goddess Durga if offered with a true heart,” said a devotee Satyadev Mishra.
The nine nights of the festival are devoted to the reverence of the nine aspects of the divine mother.
Navratri the festival dedicated to the Goddess Durga started from today with absolute devotion and bliss. With the sthapana starts the nine days of fasting and prayers dedicated to the nine forms of Goddess of Power.
The temples have been preparing for this festival from last so many days and today at the auspicious time ‘mahurat’ ghat sthapana took place and wheat seeds were kept for germination. These germinated seeds will be immersed in the water at the end of the festival. However, different communities practice different rituals to offer their tribute to Maa Shakti (Goddess of Supreme Power).
On one hand religious people adhere to strict rules, regular visit to temples and austere life during these days; the youth on the other hand remains busy with preparation of garba-dandiya in the day and enjoying it at night.
The most beautiful Navratri celebration of Udaipur (Rajasthan India) at Sutharwara has also observed a grand beginning of the 9 day festival. It started with a magnificent dance performance by artists of Jasol village of Barmer which has enthralled the spectators.
A large number of firecrackers were busted just before the Maha Aarti took place on the 50 feet high stage where the idol of Goddess Amba is placed. “Nearly 5000 devotees visit this place every day,” says Tulsiram Mali, President of Sutharwara Mitra Mandal.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Wednesday reviewed security arrangements in and around the cave shrine of Mata Vaishnodevi ahead of the commencement of Navratri festival. Vaishnodevi Mata shrine of the most visited Shakti Peeth is likely to draw thousands and lakhs of devotees these days around Navratri.
While aarti reminds participants of the real objective of garba, the distribution of prasadam at the end symbolises the food that is produced as a fruit of the effort of all members of society.
InVadodara and Rajkot and in other cities in Gujrat people dance traditional garba for hours together.
With Navratri beginning on 28-09-2011, Wednesday preparations for Durga Pooja are also in full swing. Widely celebrated in West Bengal, Durga Pooja marks the arrival of Goddess Durga at her father’s place.
The city will see several decorated mandals bearing the idol of Goddess Durga. There will be pandals in Vastrapur, Maninagar, Chandkheda and Sabarmati, among other areas in Gujrat. She will be worshipped for five days beginning from October 1. The last day of Durga Pooja is also celebrated as Vijayadashami (10th day of victory).
Speaking about the festival, general secretary of Bengal Cultural Association (Ahmedabad), KD Adhikari said, “We are having a huge mandal in Vastrapur at AES ground. This is our 74th year of celebration in Ahmedabad, the oldest by any association of Gujarat to celebrate Durga Pooja.”
Hundreds of devotees thronged the Jhandewala Temple to worship Goddess Durga, as the nine-day long Navratri festival boosted the energy of festivity in the capital city of Delhi in India.
The festival is celebrated with much enthusiasm and devotees often fast for all nine days.
In Bengal, both in West Bengal & Bangladesh and in Tripura & Assam and obviously in all places where ever the Bengali Hindus live; they observe the five days Durgotsav as their biggest festival in the whole year as a religious and cultural part of their life. Kolkata the capital city of Paschimbanga (West Bengal) more than 1250 Pooja committees are trying hard to present their best to observe the most lovable celebration of Bengali Hindus with all colors and grandeur. In Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh 196 Poojas are arranged this year with all devotion of largest minority Hindus out side India.
In the Northern East India, news of Durga Pooja comes in with all enthusiasm from Agartala, Kailashara of Tripura and Guwahati, Kacchar, Dibrugarh and other places of Assam along with the possible arrangements in Shillong in Meghalaya and Imphal in Manipur.
A special programme of Navratri including Pooja, Havan, other rituals including the discourses on spirituality is goning on in the international center of Art of Living in Bangalore, India.
To mark the celebration of Navratri, as West Bengal celebrates ‘Durga Pooja’, Gujaratis ‘Dandiya’; Amritsar in Punjab celebrates ‘Langoorwala Mela‘ dedicated to Lord Hanuman.
Hindu-Sikh devotees also pay obeisance in large number at Durgiana Temple during Navratri festival in the northern Indian city of Amritsar.
Although this festival is not so prominent amongst the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh in his magnus opus ‘The Dasam Granth’ narrates three separate compositions in grace of Mother Durga – ‘Chandi di Var’ in Punjabi, ‘Chandi Charitra 1 and Chandi Charitra 2’ in Braj. (kanwal). Many pious Sikhs usually complete the full reading of Dasam Granth with an emphasis upon Chandi Charitra accordance to the Sikh heritage.
Actually from Gauhati to Gandhinagar and Jammu to Rameswaram , the whole Bharat is overwhelmed with Durga Pooja and Navratri.