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STORY   |   FESTIVALS & EVENTS

NAVARATRI
Festival of Nine Goddesses

ZUZANA ZWIEBEL

"Nine nights for Mother Goddess, full of dance and songs. People worship her image with flowers and prayers long. May the Goddess bless us with precious gifts to mankind. People praise her image full of beauty divine!"

Navaratri is a nine night festival that honors the Mother Goddess in all her manifestations. Festival is celebrated in late September or early October each year. In 2018, Navaratri starts on October 10 and ends on October 18. The dates of the festival are determined according to the lunar calendar, and there are actually 10 nights this year instead of the usual nine.

Over the course of the nine days, the Mother Goddess (Goddess Durga, who is an aspect of Goddess Pavarti) is worshiped in her various forms. The worship, accompanied by fasting, takes place in the mornings. Evenings are for feasting and dancing. Each day has a different ritual associated with it. In addition, predominantly in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, there's a custom of wearing different colors of dress on each day. The festival culminates with Dussehra, the victory of good over evil, on the tenth day.

SHAILAPUTRI 

Om Devi Shailaputryai Namah 

DAYº1: Pratipada falls across two dates this year. To mark the commencement of Navaratri, a ritual called Ghatasthapana is performed to invoke the energy of the goddess. On Pratipada, the goddess is worshiped as Shailputri, an incarnation of Goddess Parvati meaning 'Daughter of the Mountain'. She represents nature and purity. 
ICONOGRAPHY: Shailaputri rides a bull, carrying a trishul (trident) in her right hand and a lotus flower in her left hand. 
PLANET: Moon  
COLOR: Grey & Orange


 

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BRAHMACHARINI

Om Devi Brahmacharinyai Namah

DAYº2: Dwitiya is when the goddess is worshiped as Brahmacharini, the unmarried form of Goddess Parvati. As she undertook great penance to get Lord Shiva to marry her, she's associated with pious strictness. Word 'Brahma' stands also for meditation and penance. She is also goddess of meditation, who is reminding us importance of patience, discipline and time flow. 
ICONOGRAPHY: Brahmacharini walks on bare feet, carrying a beads (Japa Mala) in her right hand and a pot for water (Kamandalu) in her left hand. 
PLANET: Mars  
COLOR: White


 

CHANDRAGHANTA

Om Devi Chandraghantayai Namah 

DAYº3: Tritiya is when the goddess is worshiped as Chandraghanta, the married form the Goddess Parvati. Her name is derived from the half moon on her forehead, which looks like a bell. It is believed that the sound of the moon-bell on her forehead drives all types of spirits away from her devotees. She's depicted riding on a tigress, with ten heads with all her weapons. She is ready for war to protect the peace and welfare of her devotees. She might look horrific, but she is bringing peace. She is associated with bravery and courage to fight evil.
ICONOGRAPHY: Chandraghanta rides the tigress. She wears the semi-circular moon (Chandra) on her forehead, which looks like the bell (Ghanta). She is depicted with ten hands, in which she carries  trishul (Trident), hole (Gada), sword and pot for water (Kamandalu) in her four left hands and keeps the fifth left hand in Varada Mudra. She carries a lotus flower, arrow, bows and beads (Japa Mala) in her four right hands and keeps the fifth right hand in Abhaya Mudra.
PLANET: Venus 
COLOR: Red


 

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KUSHMANDA

Om Devi Kushmandayai Namah 

DAYº4: Chaturthi is when the goddess is worshiped as Kushmanda, who lived inside the sun and is believed to have created the universe in the flash of her smile, giving light and energy to it. She represents the form of Durga that is the source of all. It is believed, that she bestows supernatural powers (Siddhis) and wealth (Niddhis) to her devotees. 
ICONOGRAPHY: Kushmanda rides on a lioness and has eight hands. She holds a pot for water (Kamandalu), hole, bow and arrows in her right hands. Her left hands hold pot of nectar (Amrit), prayer beads (Japa Mala), lotos flower and disk (Chakra). 
PLANET: Sun
COLOR: Navy Blue


 

SKANDA MATA

Om Devi Skandamatayai Namah 

DAYº5: Panchami is when the goddess is worshiped as Skandamata, the mother of Kartikeya (also known as Skanda or Murugan), son of Lord Shiva and brother of Lord Ganesha. She carries baby Skanda in her lap, who is representing life created in her womb. Devotees who worship this form of the Mother Goddess get the added benefit of blessings of Lord Skanda, the God of War. 
ICONOGRAPHY: Goddess Skandamata mounts the ferocious lion. She carries baby Skanda in her lap and is depicted with four hands. She carries lotus flowers in her upper two hands. She holds baby Skanda in one of her right hands and keeps the other right hand in Abhaya Mudra. She sits on a lotus flower and because of that, is also known as Goddess Padmasana.
PLANET: Mercury
COLOR: Yellow


 

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KATYAYANI

Om Devi Katyayanyai Namah

DAYº6: Shasthi is when the goddess is worshiped as Katyayani, who Goddess Parvarti morphed into in order to fight and destroy the buffalo demon Mahishasura. She represents a warrior form of the goddess. She might look strict and cruel at first sight, but her determination gives us power to fight fears, diseases and all the problems. It is also night, when men are dressed as women to demonstrate, that all was created from the Mother Goddess.
ICONOGRAPHY: Goddess Skandamata mounts the ferocious lion. She carries baby Skanda in her lap and is depicted with four hands. She carries lotus flowers in her upper two hands. She holds baby Skanda in one of her right hands and keeps the other right hand in Abhaya Mudra. She sits on a lotus flower and because of that, is also known as Goddess Padmasana.
PLANET: Jupiter
COLOR: Green


 

KALARATRI

Om Devi Kalaratryai Namah

DAYº7: Saptami is when the goddess is worshiped as Kalaratri, the dark night. She appeared to destroy some particularly evil demons in the battle against Mahishasura. She's the goddess's fiercest form and represents protection from all troubles. 
ICONOGRAPHY: Kalaratri rides on a donkey, her complexion is dark black. She is depicted with four hands. Her right hands are in Abhaya Mudra and Varada Mudra. She carries a sword and deadly iron hook in her left hands.
PLANET: Saturn
COLOR: Peacock Green


 

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MAHA GAURI 

Om Devi Mahagauryai Namah

DAYº8: Ashtami is when the goddess is worshiped as Mahagauri, the younger version of Shailputri who has a very fair and perfect complexion, which she gained after Lord Shiva bathed her in river Ganga. The light spreading from her is the light of life. She represents beauty and grace, and the cleansing of sins. 
ICONOGRAPHY: Maha Gouri rides the bull, just like Goddess Shailputri. She has four arms, holding a trishul (Trident) in one of her right hands and depicts the Abhaya Mudra with the other right hand. She carries a drum (Damaru) in one left hand and depicts the Varada Mudra in her other left hand.
PLANET: Rahu
COLOR: Purple


 

SIDDHIDATRI 

Om Devi Siddhidatryai Namah

DAYº9: Navami is when the goddess is worshiped as Siddhidatri, who embodies all eight supernatural powers (Siddhis). She is believed to have granted them to Lord Shiva when he worshiped her, and she also bestows them upon her devotees. 
ICONOGRAPHY: Goddess Siddhidatri sits on lotos flower and rides on the lion. She is depicted with four hands. She has wand (Gada) in the one right hand, disc (Chakra) in the other right hand, lotus flower in the left hand and conch (Shankh) in the other left hand.
PLANET: Ketu
COLOR: Sky Blue


 

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EDITOR & WRITER

ZUZANA ZWIEBEL

Founder & Director of Ayurveda Trails, healing collection of (extra)ordinary people and their stories, whose experiences are transferred into various trails shared by travelers.

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