India Celebrates Navratri: 9 Traditions, 9 Nights, 9 Different States

Garba: Deepika Ranveer in Ram Leela

Navratri is just around the corner and preparations have already been started to celebrate the nine nights with much zeal and enthusiasm. It is that time of the year when nine days are spent dancing, fasting and celebrating.

Navratri means nine nights. It is celebrated in the honor of Maa Durga who is a Goddess of power, wealth and knowledge. The first three days, Durga is worshiped as the Goddess of power and destruction to destroy the evil powers. The next three days, she is worshiped as Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, and prosperity and the last three days, Saraswati is worshiped as she is the Goddess of knowledge and wisdom.

Each state in India has its own unique way of celebrating Navratri and get the blessings of all reincarnations of Goddess Durga. We bring you our pick of the nine places in India that have unique ways representing their unique tradition, custom, and flavor of Navratri.

  • Garba Raas and Garbi
Garba Raas

Where: Gujrat
The first name that clicks to our mind hearing the term ”Dandiya Raas” is Gujrat. This state celebrates the most musical Navratri festival. Both men and women perform Garba wearing traditional dresses.
Key Specialties: lightening of earthen pots, Garba dance and Dandiya Raas

  • Durga Puja
Durga Puja

Where: West Bengal, Assam, and Bihar
During the last four days of Navratri, the grand celebration of Durga Puja is observed. Huge pandals are set up with the idol of Durga.  The sounds of Dhol, Dhak, Dhunuchi nachh, the fragrance of agarbattis fill the air with a certain kind of devotion.
Key Specialties: Grand Durga Puja

  • Kanjika

Where: Punjab
Punjabi’s organize Jagratas and stay awake all night worshipping Goddess Durga. They worship 9 little girls which are called as “Kanjika”.
Key Specialties: 9 little girls and boys are worshipped as “Kanjika”

  • Kolu Ritual

Where: Tamil Nadu
The Kolu ritual is considered to be one of the most interesting features. Kolu is a staircase with 9 steps. Each step is decorated with dolls and idols. These idols are then passed on to the generations.
Key Specialties: beautiful dolls and idols are decorated on stairs

  • Book Reading Tradition
Book Reading

Where: Kerela
On the last three days of Navratri, Keralites worship Goddess Saraswati with books and musical instruments. They consider learning as very important part of life and hence worship it.
Key Specialties: Goddess Saraswati is worshipped with books and musical instruments

  • Batukamma Panduga Ritual

Where: Andhra Pradesh
Batukamma Panduga means “come alive mother Goddess”. In this ritual, women decorate flower-stack and perform puja. On the last day, this Batukamma is set afloat in a lake or river.
Key Specialties: Women make a beautiful flower-stack known as “Batukamma”.

  • Saumangalyam

Where: Maharastra
Saumangalyam means remaining the wife of her husband till her death. During the festival, females put haldi and Kumkum on each other’s forehead and exchange gifts.
Key Specialties: Married women invite female friends for haldi Kumkum.

  • Naada Habba Elephant Procession
Nada Habba

Where: Karnataka
Naada Habba is celebrated the same way as Vijayanagara Dynasty. There are elephant processions along with handicraft fairs and exhibitions.
Key Specialties: Elephants processions, fairs, and exhibitions of handicrafts and artifacts.

  • Kullu Dussehra
Kullu Desshera

Where: Himachal Pradesh
Celebrations begin in Himachal after Navratri that is on the tenth day. Idols are taken out from the temples for processions on streets. People celebrate the victory of good over evil.
Key Specialties: Idols from temples are taken out for processions

This Navratri visit at least one of these places to witness the celebration in a unique way. And don’t forget to tell us your experience.