Devotees converge at temples as nine-day long Hindu festival begins

New Delhi, Apr 11(ANI): Hindu devotees converged at a temple in New Delhi on Thursday to mark the beginning of the nine-day long Hindu festival of Navratri, which is held in honour of nine forms of Mother Goddess, popularly known as Shakti.

A Hindu devotee Sumitra in New Delhi said, “We would pray that this festival continues forever, as the goddess has given a lot to us and we have full belief in her. May the goddess give happiness to all.”

The festival lasts for nine days in honour of the nine manifestations of Mother Goddess.

During the festivities Hindus eat only vegetarian food and some even fast for all the nine days.

In the meanwhile another devotee Ashok Chaudhary said, “Here, a fair is conducted every year during the nine days of the festival. It’s the temple of goddess Durga and is very popular. Today is the first day of this festival and the fair will be held for eight more days. We all are here for the temple services. Devotees come from across the country to offer prayers in this temple. We have given a lot of facilities for the tourist devotees. We are doing our jobs properly.”

It is believed that during the nine days of festival, the devotees must keep their mind, body and thoughts pure.

Making a beeline, the devotees thronged at the temples to offer morning prayers on the festival’s first day, as they offer fruits and flowers to Mother Goddess.

One of the forms of Mother Goddess is Durga, who is depicted as a powerful deity, riding a raging lion, holding aloft ten war weapons in her ten hands.

Her trident is plunged into the side of a monstrous buffalo, out of whose body emerges the dreadful demon or evil.

Legend has it that “Asuras” or demons from the nether world invaded heavens after a hundred years of war. The Hindu trinity of Lord Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu created goddess Durga, the most powerful of all gods and goddesses to vanquish the demons.

The first day of ‘Navratri’ is dedicated to Goddess Shailputri, who bestowed her devotees with peace, happiness and harmony.

Devotees in the city celebrated the fist day with full zeal and happiness.

Meanwhile, people thronged to the temple in Jammu and Kashmir to offer prayers.

The devotees believe their wishes are fulfilled if they pray to Goddess during the nine-day festival.

Also, a fair is conducted every year during the festival days in Jammu where people from across the country offer prayers.

There are proper arrangements for the tourist devotees; as the place is popular among them.

In Bhopal, devotees were seeing performing religious rituals to mark the first day of festival.

On Asthami, which is the eight-day of the festival, young girls are regarded as “devis” or Goddesses and are invited to many homes in the morning.

As part of the celebration they are served a special offering of black gram and sweets. A small gift in the form of some money along with red bangles and a red scarf is also given to the girls.

The nine-night festival is observed twice a year, once in the beginning of the summer and the other in the beginning of the winter. (ANI)