New Delhi, Mar.31 (ANI): Festive fervour has gripped India as thousands of Hindus begin the nine-day fasting festival ‘Navratri’ on Monday, held in honour of goddess Durga, devotees across the country converged on river banks and queued up at temples chanting hymns and offering special prayers.
The festival lasts for nine days in honour of nine manifestations of Durga, goddess of power
It is believed that during the Navratri, Goddess Durga descends on earth to rid it of the demons and blesses her devotees with happiness and prosperity.
Priests in the temple town of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh performed a yoga exercise, surya namaskar (sun salutation), to pay obeisance to Sun God on the auspicious festival.
A priest, Shyam Prasad, highlighted the importance of the festival which was celebrated with enthusiasm.
“There is no other country in the world where people follow two calendars. It is unfortunate that Indians have to follow two calendars. When we have to celebrate Hindu festivals, we follow Hindu calendar but when we have to celebrate Independence Day, Republic Day we have to follow Gregorian calendar,” he said.
Most of the Hindu devotees observe fasts during the nine days and offer fruit and flowers to the Goddess.
Crowd of devout Hindus also thronged the banks of scared river ‘Sangam’, which is a confluence of three rivers-Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati, in Allahabad city, to take holy dip on the festival.
In the national capital, devotees also converged at various temples, prominent among them being Jhandewalan Temple to offer prayers prior to the dawn and observed fast throughout the day.
A priest at the temple, Prashant, said that devotees believed their wishes are fulfilled if they pray to goddess during the nine-day festival.
“The auspicious nine-day long Chaitra Navratri festival begins and Hindu Goddess Shailputri is worshiped on the first day. The goddess fulfils all the wishes of her devotees,” he said.
People were seen making holy offerings to the idols of Hindu gods and goddesses and praying for the goodwill of their family.
The Hindu festival culminates with Ram Navami, which falls on the ninth day of the moonlit fortnight in the Chaitra as per Hindu almanac, which usually coincides with the spring season and falls in the month of March or April. (ANI)