Navratri celebrations in India have always held a significant place in the country's culture, heritage, and traditions. Across various states, both in contemporary times and decades past, Navratri is a festival known for being celebrated with immense enthusiasm, joy, and all the associated festivities. This festival is dedicated to the revered Goddesses cherished by Hindu devotees, making these days among the most festive in the nation.
For instance, in Bengal, Navratri is celebrated by worshipping forms of Goddess Durga for the full ten days, while in Gujarat and many other regions, people engage in lively Navratri celebrations by participating in garba and dandiya raas dances, alongside paying homage to the nine goddesses over the nine days of the festival. Meanwhile, in other parts of the country, especially in North India, you'll witness the live enactment of Ramleela for the entire nine days of Navratri, culminating in the grand celebration of Dussehra on the tenth day.
Some of the most joyous Navratri celebrations In India to experience
The festival of Navratri is such a big deal in Kolkata, and all of West Bengal for that matter that the preparations for this festival start months before the festival starts. Durga puja in Kolkata is said to be an experience that everyone should have at least once. The Durga puja pandals, the idol of Goddess Durga and the sheer devotion that seems to run in the very air of the city make many people from near and far travel especially to attend the Durga puja in Kolkata. Such is the magnificence of the Durga puja in Kolkata, marking the festival of Navratri in one of the grandest ways possible.
Mumbai being a city where a huge portion of the Gujarati community lives, sees some of the most elaborate Navratri celebrations in all of the country. Huge garba and dandiya venues are set up to celebrate the nine days of Navratri in Mumbai with big names like Falguni Pathak headlining these events. Navratri in Mumbai is considered one of the best times to visit the city as not only will you get to participate in the Garba dances and other fun activities, but being a metro city, Navratri in Mumbai is celebrated in many different ways, concerning the many cultures residing in the city.
3. New Delhi
New Delhi, every year, sees Navratri being celebrated in more ways than one. While the Bengali population of the city celebrate Goddess Durga with their stunning pandals, the most prominent being in CR Park, the city also sees the Navratri festival being celebrated with many live versions of Ramleela being enacted, along with accompanying carnivals and more. The city comes alive, thanks to the beautiful makeover of lights and decorations it goes through for the nine days of Navratri, making the city one of the best places to visit during Navratri.
The culturally rich and vibrant state is famous for its Navratri celebration not just in the country but in the whole world. Navratri celebration in Gujarat is the biggest festival, hands down. The enthusiasm, anticipation and joy people display for Navratri in this state make the Navratri celebration in the state one of the best experiences, ever. Many cities of the state are known for their stunning celebrations every year, with garba nights and more being famous all over the world and Ahmedabad tops it all. People travel from all over India and some even from other countries to participate in these famous celebrations, which makes the Navratri in Gujarat truly a spectacle that is unlike anything.
While many people may be surprised to see Madurai on a list of places to visit for Navratri, the Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple is well-known for having a lively celebration of this holy festival. While the many other temples of Tamil Nadu also get decorated to absolute perfection, the households follow their little traditions to mark the festival as well. Almost all households celebrating the festival make the iconic white rangolis in front of their homes as well as the temples, giving the festival a colourful touch. People are also known to worship several household as well as occupational items such as kitchen tools, farm tools, etc. as another ritual while celebrating the festival of Navratri.
One of the holiest in India, this ancient city with its famous and culturally significant ghats, temples and more is naturally an excellent choice of a city to visit to experience the festival of Navratri. Marking the festival in a more spiritual and devotional way perhaps than in other places, Navratri in Varanasi is truly a refreshing experience. Temples in the city are lit up and every day of the holy festival is marked by the magnificent Ganga aarti as a way to appease the deities. This is one of the most stunning experiences of life, a must for everyone at least once. Thanks to a significant settlement of Bengalis in the holy city, you can also experience a wide variety of pandals.
Rajasthan also marks the festival of Navratri in its own way. Goddess Shakti is worshipped in a variety of forms in the princely state. A lot of regions in fact have what are called ‘kuldevi’ or the local protective deity, and during Navratri, their temples, like Karni Mata temple in Alwar are a must-visit for the devotees. From Dausa to Jaisalmer, across the state, the nine-day festival is an important celebration of valour, power, and strength.
Apart from celebrating the divine feminine in the nine days of Navratri, on the tenth day of Dussehra, Ramleela is observed in the state and is a grand affair. If you're visiting Rajasthan this festive season, don't forget to check out Kota's extravagant Ramleela, and other destinations you should experience Dussehra at.