On my second visit to India, staying in a hotel in New Delhi, I was alarmed at two or three in the morning by a series of explosions – in this post 9/11 era we are all a little on edge. I spent a nervous night and next morning anxiously asked the concierge had he heard the massive explosions?
With a beaming smile on his face, he said “This is Diwali and people always fire off crackers – don’t be scared, be blessed”.
Pictured are dancers during Navrati Festival
This year, Navratri (Durga Puja) is being observed from September 29 to October 7 and Diwali on 27 October – which is my birthday, so it will be very special for me this year.
Navratri in Sanskrit means nine nights in which nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped in a particular order. Alongside observing fast and performing various rituals, preparing a special offering for each day holds symbolic significance.
Aarti was also performed and people were seen offering prayers at Mumba Devi temple in Mumbai (pictured above) on the first day of Navratri. Mumba Devi is an amazing temple and I recommend it be on your “must visit” list if in Mumbai.
Kalkaji temple and Jhandewalan temple in New Delhi were all decked up with flowers as people stood in long queues to attend the first aarti of the nine-day-long festival.
In India festivals are generally about great optimism – in one way or another, about the triumph of good over evil.
So, from me – “all best wishes of Navrati to you!”