Things I miss about my Navratri celebrations at home !

Navratri is the beginning of the festival season for all of us. Each of the nine days is dedicated to different Avatars of Goddess Durga.Festivities start with Navratri to Dussera & continue till Diwali.

Food for fasting
Sabudana khicdi

Starting from the first day, when everyone at home would be fasting & kids used to get leverage. Fasting for us meant eating loads more yummy food. Sabudana khicdi, kuttu pakode, potato chips,halwa-poori – top ones I could think right now. In my family the fasting is done for first seven days & Asthmi(eighth day) is Kanya Pujan.

Navratri Food
Food for fasting

My nephew is participating in Ramleela celebrations this time. He reminded me of my childhood celebrations. Everyone practising different roles & fight to get selected as Ram, Sita or Hanuman for skits held in the society.We used to collect funds from people living in the colony. Small Ravana replicas were created by all kids in the block & burnt in the evening. Over the course of nine-day different parts of Ramayana are enacted. Huge processions passing through the streets with children dressed as different Gods & Goddesses. Am I the only one getting nostalgic? Or you too are missing those carefree celebrations ?

Ramleela celebrations
Ramleela celebration
Girls worshipped for KanyaPujan
Kanya Pujan

As a child, I used to wait eagerly for the Asthmi/ Navmi (9th day). Girls would be dressed up in the best clothes & visit nearby home for the Kanya Pujan. Being treated as a Devi & worshipped is an amazing feeling. Also, there used to be one boy whom we would all tease.For a little kid that is a special privilege. We were fed halwa-poori-chana & given small gifts. Mothers were fed up by the end of the day, cause they were not even aware of our whereabouts throughout the day. Just thinking about it now & I am craving to relive all those moments again.

We celebrate the tenth day (Dussera) to mark the victory of good over evil – Lord Ram over Ravana. Evenings were spent in visiting different pandals & watching Ravana being burnt to signify the victory. I used to accompany my Grandpa & would constantly nag him for buying him different toys at the mela shops.

Ravana Effigy
Ravana Effigy

Dussera is known as Durga Puja in West Bengal, wherein pristine life-size crafted idols of Goddess Durga are installed in pandals. The idols are immersed in water on the last day. In later years, we had started witnessing this culture even in Lucknow. Adding up to the variety of celebration 🙂

A Devotee offering her prayer while Pujari deeply engrossed in performing the Maha Ashtmi Puja at a pandal in New Delhi on October 19, 2007

Thinking about Navratri & how can I miss the Dandiya – Garba sessions of Gujarat. People engrossed in the graceful dance steps. I am guilty of having injured quite a number of people with the Dandiya sticks. Dandiya nights held in school & college. Sadly,I am yet to attend any Dandiya night this year. Just close your eyes and you can hear Falguni Pathak songs in the background.

Too many things to cherish about the Navratri celebrations. I hope that you were able to recall few of your own sweet memories. Eagerly waiting to hear about how you celebrate the Navratri, any rituals close to your heart !

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(All pictures sourced in from Google images & credits go to the owners)

Travelling through Tamil Nadu – Kanyakumari (Part 1)

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – Lao Tzu

How many times do we miss to take that first step ? Planning for a trip & then not going for it. Does it happen with you also ? I have seen most of my trips are sudden ones – the unplanned types. And, I have a crazy friend who has convinced me many times to travel at spur of the moment. So, I got my tickets booked & ran off to Tamil Nadu without a fixed itinerary.

First obvious stop was Chennai as my friend was meeting me there. And, same evening we left for southern most tip of Indian mainland -Kanyakumari. Overnight train journey spent in gossiping reading-sleeping.

Vivekananda Rock memorial
At Viveknanda Rock Memorial

List of  things to do in KanyaKumari –

Its easier to find a hotel near the beachfront. All hail TripAdvisor for the help! So many places to visit & less time. We were picky about the places to visit. First stop for the day was Vivekanada Rock Memorial. It takes another hour after getting the ticket to boarding the ship for Rock Memorial.We have wait in a queue under a shelter. I have been here thrice & still get the same thrill. There is a meditation room where you can sit & be enchanted by the mantras.Away from land & amidst high winds, you can just let go everything. Watching the waves lash at the rocks for hours.Baby I am addicted 🙂

Vivekanada Rock Memorial
Vivekanada Rock Memorial
Thiruvalluvar Statue
Thiruvalluvar Statue

You can also visit nearby Thiruvalluvar Statue. Tough luck that I have always found it closed off due to tidal waves.Next we went to Bhagvathy Amman Temple(Devi Kanya Kumari), it’s a temple dedicated to Kanya kumari Deity. There are many legends associated with the place.

Church in Kanyakumari
 Our Lady of Ransom Church

We also went to Our Lady of Ransom Church. It’s a Catholic church & you get to see Mother Mary clad in a Saree. For photographers all these places are like treasures. Every nook & corner beholds your attention. I am the opposite kind and get dumb on entering such places, thus forget to take beautiful pictures. Does this happen only to me or you too feel the same ?

The fun part of the day was visiting the Wax Museum. I enjoyed being childish and posing for photographs with the statues of Charlie Chaplin, Albert Einstein, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam & many more.

They also have a room dedicated to 3D paintings, which was most busy place in the museum. The 9D movie show felt like being part of a video game.

Wax Museum
Wax Museum,Kanyakumari
3D images
Fun with 3D images

All these places are within few kilometers range and we had covered them by walking around on foot. That’s how we discovered small shops with amazing coffee & vada 🙂

The better part of the evening can be spent sitting on the beach and watch the sun do down. Behind us was the Tsunami Memorial & watching it you realize the fierce nature the sea can take. God bless all those souls ! At any given moment in day, people gather at the beach & its tough to see any free space available. Surrounded by many, yet alone with your thoughts.

This was just day one of the trip & I will continue more about the trip in the coming blog series.You can also checkout the photo blog about my Tamil Nadu travel here. Do share your special memories attached with this place. Would love to read your stories.

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