23 September, 2019
From the 29th of September, all parts of India will celebrate a festival called Navarathri, indicating ‘Nine Nights.’ It is said to be multidimensional since there is a special and different significance to this festival, in every part of India. In earlier posts, we have covered about how the Mysore Dusshera happens to be one of the most famous versions of Navarathri celebration, from South India. This attracts a lot of tourists from not just India, but across the world and showcases the erstwhile Mysore Kingdom and its rich culture.
Perhaps, you have already travelled to Mysore and experience it for yourself. This year, you can plan for another part of India, wherein you may find a treat awaiting you. The 2019 Navarathri season kicks off from 29th Sep to 7th October, when it is Vijayadashami day. You may have to plan your travel and book, as this happens to be one of the busiest tourist seasons in India. So, where can you go? Here are your choices.
Who isn’t aware of the famous Gujarati Dandiya dance, and the magic it holds over the masses? It is during Navarathri that Gujarat and indeed, many other parts of the country come alive with the Dandiya nights. There are pandals wherein Dandiya music is played all night, and people revel and dance all night. Usually, good food is also arranged aplenty to keep the dancers going! In Gujarat, it is a beautiful community event, and almost everyone participates in it, and they wear traditional costumes, which makes it look more attractive and bright. Many states have taken to this Dandiya nights, and in Maharashtra it has been adapted as Disco Dandiya, and here too, people sing and dance all night. However, there is nothing like seeing it in the original and therefore, if you haven’t experienced Gujarat earlier, perhaps, this is the best time to plan a visit.
In West Bengal, this is one of the most-awaited and celebrated festivals among the people of the state. Here, they refer to is as Durga Puja, and the Bengali and even many other North-Eastern communities like the Assamese put up Durga pandals across the state. Durga pandals, just like Dandiya nights are a very common phenomenon in all parts of the country now, as the Bengali or the Assamese community organize it with gusto.
Here, people buy new dresses and attend the Puja in the pandals on all nine days. Huge idols of Goddess Durga are put up, just like how it is done for the Ganesh Chathurthi. These idols are then taken in a procession with a lot of song and dance, and immersed in the water. Lip-Smacking Bengali food and dances in their traditional attire is also commonly seen in the pandals. If you like to experience a Bengali Navarathri, perhaps you should pack your bags to Kolkatta.
For those from the Southern part of the country, you have another choice in picking North India, for your Navarathri travel. Many parts of North India celebrate this period, as one of fasting. They give up on non-veg food and visit temples and conduct Pujas and also partake in many community events. Ram Lila happens to be one of the most famous such events, that is again a big tourist attraction.
The Ram Lila is a traditional dance-drama, wherein the life and events of Lord Ram are depicted, and people enjoy it through the night. What is interesting is that, on Dusshera day, effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkarna, and even Ravana’s son Meghnad are burnt to signify the victory of Lord Ram. The effigies are usually huge, and an arrow is shot into the same to start the fire to burn it down. In Delhi, there is a huge ground that is known as Ramlila Maidan, since it is used annually to host this event, and a considerable gathering comes together to witness the event.
So, as the Navarathri approaches, you have a good choice of places to pick from to decide what kind of experience you want to have. After all, you can pick another next year. So, make your travel plans and get going.
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