Navratri is a 9-day Hindu festival, celebrated to worship the nine forms of Goddess Durga. It is a festival full of colours, lights, dance, worship, and fun. In Mumbai, Garba and Dandiya is a common sight at pandals dedicated to Goddess Durga. The tenth day is celebrated as Dussehra or Vijayadashami, and marks the slaying of the demon king Ravana by Lord Ram.
The festival celebrates the triumph of Maa Durga over the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura. Mahishasura had a boon that he could not die at the hands of a man. In his arrogance that a woman would never be able to defeat him, he waged a war against the devas. Hence, Goddess Durga was created to put a stop to Mahishasura, restore dharma, and prove it to the world that women can be just as powerful as men (if not more).
Navratri is celebrated differently in different parts of the country. But I think, it is celebrated with a lot of zest in West Bengal. I had the privilege of going to Kalimpong and Siliguri last year for Durga Puja. It was a surreal experience. We could find pandals dedicated to Goddess Durga on almost every street; even in the most remote locations in the mountains of Kalimpong. In the evening, everyone used to gather around in the pandals for a night full of fun, dancing, food, and what not! I hope I can go to Kolkata someday for Durga Puja. 😀
This year, I had a lot of fun visiting pandals and photographing the idols there. Idols of Maa Durga are decorated with fine jewellery, fabulous outfits, and placed in beautiful sets.
I have made a video of my best shots that can be viewed here
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Jai Mata Di!