Durga Navratri is the most celebrated festive season for Hindus. Durga Navratri 2016 begins on October 1 with Kalasha Sthapana and ends on October 11 with Vijaya Dashami. Nine auspicious days dedicated to Goddess Durga (Mother Goddess) are observed as Durga Navaratri.
Durga Navaratra puja is observed with great enthusiasm in Gujarat. Dandia and Garbha dances are performed during Navratri season in Gujarati cities like Ahmedabad, Baroda, Gandhi Nagar and Surat.
In Bengal, Durga Navratri is observed as Durga Puja which mainly starts on Durga Saptami. Shandhi Puja, Shidhor Khela, Kanya Pooja and Mahanavami puja are the main rituals during Navratri for Bengali people.
In North India, on Vijaya Dashami, Ramleela is observed. Ravanasur Vadha, Kumbhakarna Vadha and Meghanath Vadha are the main events in Ramleela. Vijaya Dashami is also called as Aparajita Dashami and on this day Aparajita puja and Shami Puja are performed.
In Andhra Pradesh, Durga Navratri is observed with utmost devotion in Vijayawada Kanakadurga (Durga Malleshwara swamy) temple. One more important thing during Navaratri in Andhra Pradesh is – Tirumala Tirupati Sri Venkateshwara Brahmotsavam (Annual brahmotsavalu) coincides with Durga Navaratri.
In some places, Goddess Shakti is worshipped in the forms of Durga, Bhadrakali, Jagadamba, Annapurna, Sarvamangala, Bhairavi , Chandika, Lalita, and Bhavani during Navratri Puja.
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Durga Navratri Puja is the most celebrated Hindu festival in India. During Durga Pooja, Mother Goddess Shakti is worshipped in 9 different forms. The rituals and the celebrations may vary from place to place.
Durga Navaratri puja starts on Ashwin Shukla Prathami (Ashwayuja Shukla Padyami) with Kalasha Sthapana or Ghata Sthapana. Before Ghata Sthapana, in some places Brahmin Santarpana is performed. During the nine-day festival of Durga Navratri, each day a Goddess of Navdurga is worshipped.
A Durga Navratri celebration marks the social togetherness and public connectivity in India. People celebrate Navaratri with utmost enthusiasm and devotion.
In some places, first three days of Navratri puja rituals are dedicated to Goddess Durga. And the next three days to Goddess Lakshmi and the final three days are to Goddess Saraswati.
In south India, Saraswati Puja is observed on the seventh day of Navaratri which is also observed as Durga Saptami or Maha Saptami. In Bengal and other East Indian states, Durgashtami (the eighth day of Navratri) is the biggest event among Navratri festivals.
Ayudha Puja is performed on either Mahanavami or on Vijaya Dashami day. Aparajita puja and Shami Pooja are performed on Vijaya Dashami.
In Kerala, on Vijaya Dashami day, Vidyarambham or Saraswati Puja is performed.
In North Indian states, Ramleela is celebrated on Vijaya Dashami day. Place to place; the worship of nine Goddesses during Durga Navratri may vary.
Ten days of Navratri, the rituals and pujas to perform and the Nine Goddesses to worship during Durga Navratri:
First day of Navratri – Kalasha Sthapana (Kalasha Pooja) or Ghata Sthapana – Shailaputri Puja
Second day of Navratri – Preeti Dwitiya – Brahmacharini Puja
Third day of Navaratri – Chandrakanta pooja or Chandraghanta puja
Fourth day of Navaratri – Kushmanda pooja
Fifth day of Navratri – Skandamata Puja – Lalitha Panchami
Sixth day of Navratri – Katyayani Puja – Maha Shashti or Durga Shashti
Seventh day of Navratri – Kaalratri Pooja – Durga Saptami or Maha Sapthami
Eighth day of Navaratri – Maha Gauri Pooja – Durgashtami Puja or Maha Ashtami or Veerashtami pooja
Ninth day of Navaratri – Siddhidatri Puja – Mahanavami or Maharnavami or Durga Navami pooja
Tenth day of Navratri – Aparajitha Puja or Shami Pooja – Vijaya Dashami or Dasara