Posted 21 Sep 2017 05:35 PM

Navratri means 'nine nights' in Sanskrit; Nav - Nine and Ratri - nights. During these nine nights and ten days, the three forms of the goddess -Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswathi - are invoked.
Amidst the great celebration, the mind can be carried away and easily go off-center. Usually, in any celebration, the mind goes everywhere. So to bring back the mind to the center, we keep a joyful silence with awareness.
The Navratri falls in the month of September or October is known as Sharada Navaratri on the tenth day of which Vijayadashami or “Dussehra” is celebrated.
Each day of the Navratri is dedicated to the Puja one particular aspect of the Devi, mentioned here:
• The first day is the day of Kalash Puja or the Ghatasthapana. This is also the day of the Shailaputri Puja.
• The second day is the Preeti Dwitiya, which includes the Brahmacharini Puja
• The third day is the day for Chandrakanta Puja or Chandraghanta Puja
• The fourth day is for the Kushmanda Puja
• On the fifth day, the Lalita Panchami, the Skandamata Puja is performed
• Katyayani Puja is performed on the sixth day, the Maha Shashti or the Durga Shashti
• The seventh day of the Navratri is known as the Durga Saptami or Maha Saptami and includes the Kaalratri Puja
• On the eighth day or the Maha Ashtami, the Mahagauri Puja is performed. It is also called Durgashtami Puja or Veerashtami Puja
• The ninth day is the Mahanavami or the Maharnavami and includes the Siddhidatri Puja, also called the Durga Navami Puja
• The tenth and final day of Navratri is the Vijaya Dashami or the Dusshera. On this day the Shami Puja or Aparajitha Puja is performed.

Navaratri is celebrated in different ways throughout India. Here in Jammu, people sow barley grains in a bowl on the first day of Navratri. This is indicative of fertility worship and is commonly known as “Khetri”. Most of the people keep fast for seven days. On the eighth day, they break their fast and reap the grown Khetri with Kanjak Poojan. People worship feet of Little Girls as Girl Goddess, and offer them the traditional puri, halwa, and chana to eat along with bangles and the red chunnis (scarves) to wear with a token amount of money as “shagun”. The reaped Khetri is then submerged into nearby water source mainly Tawi. People also perform Hawan on this occasion. Some people in Jammu perform this activity on the ninth day of Navratri also.
People even take part in dandiya festival which is usually practiced in Maharashtra but the influence can be seen in Jammu as well. The popularity of dandiya is increasing day after day. Happy Navratra's to all the readers!

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