Often my Mom gets queries about how to start doing Navaratri Poojas in South Indian style. Some North Indians from Chennai, who have shifted elsewhere, have begun missing the South Indian Navaratri. She also got a query from a North Indian how to begin the celebrations after taking blessings. She was asked how to get these blessings.
Beginning to celebrate South Indian Navaratri with blessings is rare because South Indian girls receive red sandalwood dolls during their wedding and immediately begin to celebrate Navaratri the same year. Girls go abroad after marriage. These dolls are not taken abroad and the girls are given money instead. Some girls come back to India and get settled here. Thus, this issue about blessings comes up.
The girls intending to start performing Navaratri with blessings should take the red sandalwood dolls to the home of such an older couple, who have been performing this pooja for many years and get them energized. This should be done anytime till Anant Chaturdashi or on the first day of Navaratri.
In the beginning, if the girls do not have other dolls, they can place at least 2 pairs of red sandalwood dolls in the pooja area. One pair is usually given during marriage. The other is bought on a trip to Tirupati in the first year of marriage. Just before Navaratri, these dolls are available in South Indian stores.
One or 2 Ganesha idols of suitable size and Devi idols or photos can be bought and placed on the pooja area. One kumbha is to be placed at that place, as well. Some people place coconut and some people pomegranate on the kumbha, according to their own tradition. If they do not know about their own tradition, they can follow the tradition of the older couple, whose blessings they take.
To be continued…