Navratri is celebrated from Oct 5th to 14th, 2013. The festival of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Durga and hence also called as "Durga Puja". The festival is celebrated for 9 days and the last day, 10th day, is commonly known as Vijayadashami or Dussehra.

Navaratri is celebrated in different ways throughout India.

In North India, Navaratri is celebrated by fasting on all nine days and worshiping the Goddess in her different forms.

In East India, esp. in West Bengal, Navratri is celebrated as Durga Puja.] This is the biggest festival of the year in this state. Exquisitely crafted and decorated idols of the Goddess Durga depicting her slaying the demon Mahishasura are set up in temples and other places. These idols are then worshiped for five days and immersed in the river on the fifth day.

In Western India, particularly in Gujarat and Mumbai, Navratri is celebrated with the famous Garba and Dandiya-Raas dance. Garba is dance which people use to dance after the Durga Pooja with the groups and live orchestra or devotional songs.

In South India, Navratri is also called as Golu or Navratri Golu where people set up steps (golu padi) and place idols of gods and goddesses on them. These days there are various theme sets that you can buy specially for decorating the Golu.

In Karnataka, Ayudha Puja, the ninth day of Mysore Dasara, is celebrated with the worship of implements used in daily life such as computers, books, vehicles, or kitchen tools. The effort to see the divine in the tools and objects one uses in daily life is central to this celebration, so it includes all tools that help one earn one's livelihood. Knowledge workers go for books, pen or computers, farmers go for the plough and other agricultural tools, machinery for industrialists and cars/buses/trucks for the transportation workers—all are decorated with flowers and worshiped on this day invoking God's blessing for success in coming years. It is believed that any new venture such as starting of business or purchasing of new household items on this day is bound to bring success and prosperity.

Mysore is well known for the festivities that take place during the period of Dasara, the state festival of Karnataka. The Dasara festivities, which are celebrated over a ten-day period, were first introduced by King Raja Wodeyar I in 1610. On the ninth day of Dasara, called Mahanavami, the royal sword is worshipped and is taken on a procession of decorated elephants, camels and horses. On the tenth day, called Vijayadashami, the traditional Dasara procession (locally known as Jumboo Savari) is held on the streets of Mysore. An image of the Goddess Chamundeshwari is placed on a golden mantapa on the back of a decorated elephant and taken on a procession, accompanied by tableaux, dance groups, music bands, decorated elephants, horses and camels. The procession starts from the Mysore Palace and culminates at a place called Bannimantapa, where the banni tree is worshipped. The Dasarafestivities culminate on the night of Vijayadashami with a torchlight parade, known locally as Panjina Kavayatthu.

In Kerala, three days: Ashtami, Navami, and Vijaya Dashami of Sharad Navarathri are celebrated as Sarasvati Puja in which books are worshiped. The books are placed for Puja on the Ashtami day in own houses, traditional nursery schools, or in temples. On Vijaya Dashami day, the books are ceremoniously taken out for reading and writing after worshiping Sarasvati. Vijaya Dashami day is considered auspicious for initiating the children into writing and reading, which is called Vidyarambham. Tens of thousands of children are initiated into the world of letters on this day in Kerala.

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Recipes for Navratri

Navratri is also renowned for the delicacies served during this period. Many famous vegetarian dishes and sweets are cooked and savored during the nine days of celebration.

The Navratri Vrat (Navratri Fasting) is observed from the first day to the ninth day and people confine to milk and fruits during the nine days. Food is Most devotees take a single meal during the day. Non-vegetarian food is totally avoided. Many people also avoid the consumption of onion and garlic for the entire duration of Navaratri.

In South India, Sundals are very popular during Navratri. They are offered to the Gods and Goddesses in Golu as Neyveidhyam and also distributed to friends and family who come to see the Golu.

Some of the recipes that are made during Navratri include:

Navratri Sundal Recipes:

You can find more Sundal recipes here Sundal Recipes - Page 1

Navratri Payasam/Kheer Recipes:

You can find more Payasam/Kheer recipes here Kheer Recipes - Payasam Recipes - Page 1

Navratri Sweets:

Find some more recipes for Navratri on this page - Navratri Recipes - Navratri Vrat Recipes - Page 1