Navratri is a nine-day festival in which nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped. It is one of the most significant festivals celebrated by Hindus with great fervor.
‘Navratri’ in Sanskrit means ‘nine nights. On these nine nights, people observe fast and offer special prayer to the ‘Nine Forms of Maa Durga’. The Celebration of Navaratri cleanses the body of toxins and purifies speech & mind.
Dussehra or Vijayadashmi (the tenth day) is the climax of the nine-day long celebrations of Navratri. Puranas opined that on this day Goddess Durga defeated & killed the buffalo demon Mahishasura. It is a festival of victory of Good over Evil.
1. Goddess Shailputri
Goddess Shailputri is the first manifestation of Goddess Durga. She holds a Trishul in one hand and a lotus in the other and rides a bull called Nandi. Goddess Parvati was born as the daughter of Himalaya and in Sanskrit, Shail means the mountain, thus she is known as Shailputri.
2. Goddess Brahmacharini
The second day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Brahmacharini. The goddess walks bare feet with a rudraksh mala in one hand and a sacred Kamandalu in the other. The meditative form of this goddess symbolises Goddess Parvati when she engaged in her deep meditation to please Lord Shiva.
3. Goddess Chandraghanta
The third day of Navratri is of Goddess Chandraghanta. She is a fierce 10-armed goddess with a crescent moon on her forehead, which gives her the name Chandraghanta. She rides on a tiger to destroy all evil and wicked.
4. Goddess Kushmanda
Chaturthi or the fourth day of Navratri is of Devi Kushmanda. The name Kushmanda is derived from three words – ‘Ku’ (little), ‘Ushma’ (warmth or energy) and ‘Amnda’ (egg), which means the creator of the universe.
5. Goddess Skandmata
Goddess Skandmata who is worshipped on Panchami or the fifth day. Skandmata is a four-armed deity, who carries a lotus in two of her arms with a sacred Kamandalu and a bell in the other two. She also carries a little Kartikay on her lap and because of this Kartikay is also known as Skanda. She is seated on a lotus.
6. Goddess Katyayani
The sixth day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Katyayani, who is a form of Shakti. Also known as the warrior goddess, Katyayani is considered as one of the most violent forms of Goddess Parvati. She has four arms and carrying a sword.
7. Goddess Kaalratri
Saptami or the seventh day of Navratri is of Goddess Kaalratri. As per legends she sacrificed her skin colour and embraced a dark complexion to kill demons. She is a four-armed deity who rides a donkey, carries a sword, a trident, and a noose. She has a third eye on her forehead that is believed to contain the entire universe.
8. Goddess Mahagauri
Durga Asthami or the eight-day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Mahagauri. She is a four-armed deity who rides on a bull or a white elephant. She carries a Trishul and a damru in her hands.
9. Goddess Siddhidatri
The ninth or the final day of Navratri is of Goddess Siddhidhatri. She is projected as a four-armed deity sitting on a lotus, holding a mace, discus and a book and lotus in her hands. This form of Goddess Durga signifies perfection.