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Shardiya Navratri 2021: How it is celebrated in different parts of India

Shardiya Navratri
Shardiya Navratri is celebrated in various ways. India celebrates unity within diversity, and that is reflected in the way Navratri is celebrated and goddess Durga is worshipped from Himachal Pradesh to West Bengal, from Punjab to Karnataka.
This year, Navratri started on October 7 and will go on till October 15. As the festival kickstarts, let’s look at the diverse ways by which the country celebrates its nine-day-long festival.

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West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Assam – In these states, Navratri celebrations are mostly done in the last 4 days – referred to as Shaptami, Ashtami, Navami and Dashami. In West Bengal, Navratri is called Durga Puja and is one of the biggest festivals of the state. Large pandals, larger-than-life Durga idols, themed pandals adorn the city, which is decked up in lights and colour. It is a tradition in the Bengali culture to deck up in new clothes and go for pandal hopping. Bengali women are usually seen in traditional white and red coloured sarees.
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Gujarat – Navratri is one of the main festivals of Gujarat, where the devotees keep fast for 9 days and worship Maa Shakti. In the evenings, an earthen pot with holes is kept with diyas inside. Also known as Garbi, the diyas are lit and women perform aarti with it. Traditional dance forms of Gujarat, garba and dandiya raas are also performed by both men and women, to celebrate Navratri.

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Tamil Nadu – This state celebrates Navaratri by worshipping goddess Durga, goddess Saraswati and goddess Lakshmi for three days each. The most interesting part of Tamil Nadu’s celebrations is the decoration of the kolu – a 9-step staircase. It is said that each step represents each day of the festival. The stairs are adorned in miniature dolls of gods and goddesses which are acquired by the devotees as heirlooms from their forefathers.
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Andhra Pradesh – Tamil Nadu’s kolu finds a new name in Andhra Pradesh - Batukamma Panduga, which is decorated during Navratri. Women also make a flower stack with seasonal flowers, known as Batukamma, which is worshipped for nine days. On the last day of Navratri, the Batukamma is set afloat in a nearby water body.
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Kerala – In Kerala, the devotees celebrate the art of learning during Navratri. During the last three days, they place books and music instruments near the idol of goddess Saraswati and perform the puja. On the last day, they take the books for reading.
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Karnataka – Karnataka respects history by celebrating Navratri – called as Naada Habba - in the exact way it was celebrated back in 1610 during the Vijayanagara dynasty. They take out elephant processions on the road. Fairs and exhibitions adorn the state.
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Maharashtra – This state celebrates Navratri in a similar fashion to that of Gujarat. Navratri refers to new beginnings for Maharashtrians, and that’s why new purchases are done around this time. Married women perform the Saumangalyam – a gesture where they invite their female friends, apply haldi and Kumkum on their forehead and gift them with betel leaves, coconut and betel nuts. Maharashtrian men and women also perform garba and dandiya during the nine days of the festival.
Himachal Pradesh – Interestingly, Himachal Pradesh starts its celebrations of Navratri on the tenth day, when the festivities of the other states end. They refer to the tenth day as Kullu Dussehra – Lord Rama’s return to Ayodhya. Idols from the temples are taken out in a procession across Himachal Pradesh on this day.
Punjab – Devotees in Punjab celebrate Navratri by keeping fast for the first 7 days and then breaking their fast on the next two days by worshipping nine little girls and a boy, also known as Kanjika. They stay awake the whole night and worship goddess Shakti.

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