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Our Navaratri

Most of you have already completed their celebrations of Dusehra. But our Dusehra which is also called Vijaya Dashami, is tomorrow. In fact for us, Madhwas, Navami is tomorrow as well and it is also called Madhwa Navami in remembrance of our own Madhwacharyar.
In one of my book reviews I have said that we are South Indians but have a lot of Punjabi influence over us. In fact, we have a lot of other influences as well, like for example of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Let me explain. We are from Tamil Nadu and mother tongue is Kannada. The influences not only are apparent on our cuisine but also on the way we celebrate our festivals.
Take for instance Navaratri. This is Sharadiya Navaratri, one of 4 that come every year. I have purposefully written about our Navaratri last, because it is different from the others.
It is a South Indian tradition to keep Golu during this Navaratri. Golu is placing sacred idols for display and pooja on steps. The steps are available in the market in metal. If the woman of the house, who usually keeps the Golu, is innovative, she might use any available product at home to make these steps.
Most important part of our celebrations is placing Raja Rani dolls made up of sandalwood among the sacred idols for display and pooja.


The Kumbha is placed for pooja on Ghatasthapna day. The ghatam vessel may be made of silver, copper or gold. Pure water is poured in it. The water may come from the Ganga or the sea. Rose water, sandalwood powder, kumkum and turmeric powder are added in it. Pachhe Kalpooram or the camphor that is added to food is also added to the contents in the Kumbha. A mango twig with leaves, 5 betal leaves and 5 bilva (bael) leaves are placed on the Kumbha. A rounded (with a almost flat bottom, so that it does not slip off) ripe and red pomegranate fruit is placed on the leaves. The pomegranate fruit should have the 5 calyx intact on it.
The place where the Kumbha is to be placed is cleaned and some rice is sprinkled on the asan. Care should be taken that none of the rice is broken. The Kumbha is now placed on the rice and gajavastra, small odhni and flower garlands are offered to the Kumbha. Panchopachara pooja (more information on this on the other side of this link: or Sodashopachara pooja can be performed daily for 10 days to the Golu and the Kumbha. Another Kumbha is installed on Ashtami day or the 8th day of the festival.
Often scenes from villages or Hindu mythology are made near the Golu.
For the 9 days the Naivedyam is sundal made of navadhanya (9 pulses) one each on every day of the festival. We have panaka and koshambri as naivedyam or prashad on Vijaya Dashami.


Daily little girls and Suhasini women are worshipped with tamboola, fruits, sundal and if possible some gift.
When the moon comes to Moola star, we collect some of our books and place them near the Golu for worship. On Saraswati pooja day or Navami day, we add to the books, pen, scissors, needle and thread, sewing machine or any other machine, screw drivers or any other tools that we use for work or study. We perform pooja to this and on Vijaya Dashami we perform punar pooja and start using them.
On the 8th or the 9th day, 9 little girls and 2 boys, representing Navadurga, Ganapathy and Bhairava, are worshipped with food and gifts.
On Vijaya Dashami, we perform pooja to vehicles.


On all the 10 days, girls visit the residences of other people and invite them to see their Golu. Other people visit our place and if there are South Indians nearby, who have arranged a Golu or have pooja at their home, we visit them.
If the women of the house or any visitors know singing, they can take a bow after singing odes to the Gods and Goddesses. This is a predominantly woman oriented festival for us, though men interested in looking at art are welcome to visit these houses.
The day after the Dusehra, if it is not a Tuesday or a Friday, the Golu is dismantled and stored for the next year.


About Gayatri T Rao

A double post-graduate (MSc. - Botany and MA - English Literature) Gayatri T Rao is a Senior Multimedia Journalist with vast experience in writing on varied topics.

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