N has to be for 'Navratri'

.. the nine nights of celebration. Few other festivals can match this one in colour, music or the sheer energy of it all. What I completely love is how the same festival is celebrated across India in so many different ways. The message, however, remains the same - 'A clebration of the victory of good over evil'.

In North India: 
where I was born - Navratri meant nine days of fasting. At night we would go to see the Ramlila where scenes from Lord Ram's life would be enacted culminating in Dussehra and the burning of the effigy of Ravana on the tenth day. What fun it was.

In Western India:
specially in Gujarat Navaratri is synonymous with dancing. Over the last decade since I've been shuttling between  Bombay and Pune I've come to realise that no written word or pictures can match the energy of a real live dandiya dance. It has to be seen to be believed. Can there be anything more colourful that the traditional garba dresses? N specially loves Navratri for this reason alone.

Down South: 
people put up the golu. The first time I was invited to one I had no clue what it was. Idols are displayed in a typical step fashion and friends and relatives are invited home. This one is from a friend's house this year. Strange, isn't it.. how we keep on discovering new things about our country?

I love the add ons she did just for fun - a village scene

and that cricket pitch - her son's contribution.

And in the East:
There's Durga Puja. Maa Durga is believed to visit her 'home' during these nine days and what a welcome people give her! Majestic idols of the goddess are put up and worshiped. On the last day they are immersed in water. Bengalis all over the country celebrate it but I guess it'll be something else in Calcutta, I've yet to experience that.

I've talked about just four versions of Navratri. Apparently there are many many more... in Goa, In Andhra Pradesh, in Himachal Pradesh... Seriously India is a hundred countries all rolled into one.

Linking to  ABC Wednesday

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