Wednesday 1 October 2014

Nine Days of Most Sacred Nights

Besides Diwali, Navaratri is the most celebrated festival in tricity. The festival is devoted to Goddess Durga which marks the beginning of the festive season.  Temples are heavily crowded by the pilgrims who almost come on their feet to thank their goddess to fulfill their wishes.  These sacred nine nights are dedicated to the Mother Goddess Devi, who is the Shakti or power of all our deities.

There is one more belief of people in tricity that story of sati is also dedicated to this festival who is also known as UMA, the daughter of King Daksha. Uma married Lord Shiva against the wishes of her father. One day Daksha organized a huge yagna and invited all the gods and deities except Lord Shiva. When Uma visited her parents to take part in the yagna, her father offended Lord Shiva. Unable to bear the insults meted on her husband, Uma jumped into the agnikund, which is why she is also known as Sati. In her rebirth, she married Lord Shiva and also made peace with her parents. It is said that Sati comes to stay with them for nine days, which is celebrated as Navratri.

There are two Navaratris celebrated every year, one in spring and the other in autumn when people fast and pray for her blessings. But these navratras are more celebrated as during these nine days and nights the many aspects of the Devi are worshipped, with the celebrations ending on the day Dussehra. The people of tricity have brought culture of Gujarat here by dancing the dandia during these days. Dandiya functions are organized at many parts of the tricity but major one is always held at kalagram, Chandigarh.

Devi is the consort of all the gods. She is Parvati and Durga, the consort and Shakti of Lord Shiva. She is Lakshmi, the Shakti of Lord Vishnu and Saraswati, the Shakti of Lord Brahma. The nine most sacred forms worshipped at this time are of Durga, Bhadrakali, Jagadamba, Annapurna, Sarvamangala, Bhairavi, Chandika, Lalita and Bhavani. She is the generous Annapurna bringing food to people and the warrior goddess Durga battling evil, the ascetic Bhairavi and the gentle Lalita.

During these nine sacred days and nights the consumption of food items such as meat, onion and garlic lowers in the tricity while buckwheat (kuttu ka atta) and samak rice (an alternative to the sinful basmati) became ingredients which are cooked at homes. Now that has obviously changed, with people heading out to restaurants to fill up on traditional Navratri fare.

While still sticking to saatvic belief, several restaurants of tricity have started to add variety to their offerings. Restaurants like Anupam sweets are now layered with many navratra dishes such as buckwheat, honey chilly potatoes tossed with peanuts, carrot fried Samak rice, lychees and sago in coconut milk.

With lot of hustle bustle in the market for upcoming events tricity is all set to get decorated.  People across the India had made this place a hub to enjoy the every Indian festival.

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