‘ Navratri ‘ the name itself brings a holy feeling along with joy, excitement and divinity in every Indians mind. Festival of 9 days dedicated to Goddess Durga is considered very auspicious. Different forms of Mata Durga are worshiped in these 9 days. People fast for these 9 days and end their fast after worshiping small girls who are considered as descendant of Goddess Durga.
Every state every region in India has its own unique way of celebrating festivals though one thing is common for sure that the enthusiasm among everyone remains same.
In the eastern and northeastern states of India, the Durga Puja is synonymous with Navratri (victory of Durga over the Buffalo Demon). In the northern and western states, the festival is celebrated with ‘Rama Lila’ and Dussehra (victory of Lord Rama over the demon king Ravana). In southern states, the victory of different goddesses and Lord Rama is celebrated.
Raipur has a mix of religions and culture. The beauty of this city is the way everyone leaving their caste and religion behind come together to celebrate this festival with so much joy and excitement and it has a reason to excite individuals of each and every age group. It has its spiritual as well as fun side included.
Speaking about the authentic and spiritual beliefs, the temples here hold great importance in every Raipurian’s life. Jyoti kalash are kept in temples for 9 days and almost a fair kind of atmosphere is built near the temples. Some of the famous temples of Raipur are the Mahamaya temple, the Kali Mata temple and the Bamleshwari temple, which holds great significance. The decorations, colorful lights and the crowd are a worth watching. Apart from these temples at various places all around the city, Durga idols are kept which are huge and beautifully handcrafted. These idols are prepared a month prior to the festival and the detailing added to these bring in a holy feeling among everyone. Even the visarjan is done with lots of enthusiasm along with music and dance.
It is an elegant scene; a beautiful array of colors harmoniously circling the idol of a deity while engaged in rhythmic and various forms of dance. In this festive nights, females dressed in lehenga-cholis, and males in traditional kedia (a Gujarati attire), play Garba with full pomp show and gusto. Garba starts from the first or third day onward during Navratri and are organized at a large scale. Few famous places in Raipur where Garba is a huge event are; 1. Ram Mandir (VIP Road) where celebrities are invited every year to make the night memorable, 2. BTI Ground (Shankar Nagar) where the main attraction is the prizes for best dress-up and dance, given on a daily basis, 3. Samta Colony and Devendra Nagar where competitions are held daily, so that families can enjoy altogether, 4. Patidar Bhavan (Timber Market, Fafadih) by the Gujarati Samaj where the entire Gujarati community gather together, 5. Balbir Singh Juneja Indoor Stadium (Near Vivekanand Sarovar) where almost everyone enjoys playing Garba in an air conditioned hall.
Many in this time keep fast for nine day. Some keep fasting with only fruits (falahar), some just intake milk or juice, and some non-vegetarians quit meat and flesh for Navratri. It’s mostly about the sacrifices which is made while worshiping. After the auspicious ‘Havan’ is done, the Bhog Khichadi is distributed everywhere to everyone.
The traditional occasions have their own place in this city. Bhajan Sandhya and Jagratas (overnight worshipping of goddess) are organized in every nook and corner all through Navratri.
The whole feeling of Navratri is brought very beautifully by Raipur and it lights up and shine to its fullest.
- – Akriti Agrawal