India begins celebrating Hindi festival of Navratri

17th Oct 2012

Nine nights of celebration have begun in Indore, India as a festival worshipping the divine Goddess Durga gets under way.

The Navratri festival that takes place in October is the most important of the five Navratris celebrated during the year, marking the beginning of winter. The festival dates change from year to year as they are determined by the lunar calendar.

The people of Indore, a city of more than two million in Madhya Pradesh, love the glimmer and colour of the festival. Indore sets up many pandals of different sizes, where people can go to worship the Goddess. The ritual of lights, called aarti, are a festival feature.

"We are going to have aarti performed by 100 girls with separate 100 thalis every evening and apart from the aarti we will be preparing four quintals (about 400 kilogrammes) of prashad (food that is first offered to the deity than to the people attending) that will be distributed here at the venue," said Pappu Sharma, president of Sanstha Astha pandal at Rasoma square.

The Kankeshwari Garba Mahotsav pandal in Vijaynagar lays claim to being the largest in the state, as more than 4,000 people can dance the choreographed garba at the same time in the pandal.

"Here at our pandal only the girls play. We have the largest space for a pandal in the whole of Indore that is big enough for 4000 people to play garba. We also plan on distributing some goodies to all the participants on the last day," said Virendra Vyas, one of the pandal's organisers.

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