This is the time of the year 9 sacred days are celebrated in large scale. Though they are called different names as Navratri, Mysuru Dasara, Batukamma, Kullu Dussehra, Durga Puja, Nadahabba etc; worshipping avatars of Durga is common. This high-spirit festival is celebrated in many different ways. Some fast, some feast, some jagaran (don’t sleeping thru the night), some dance every night, some worship with high devotion.
Entire India is ready for Dasara aka Navratri. In Southern states, it is celebrated as Dasara, celebrating Rama’s victory over Ravana. It is celebrated as the victory of good over evil. As epic Ramayana describes the story of Rama. Rama was the prince of the Ayodhya kingdom banished into the forest by his step mother’s wish. While in the forest, with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana. Sita was abducted by Ravana, the demon king of Lanka. Rama, assisted by an army of monkeys and Lakshmana, attacked Lanka to rescue her. The fierce battle went on for days between the two armies. It was difficult for Rama to kill powerful, compelling mighty Ravana. So he prayed for nine days to nine different avatars of goddess Durga and grew strength to defeat Ravana.
At the same time, in southern India in the state of Telangana, batukamma is celebrated for 9 days. Day 1 being Engili Poola Bathukamma. It is celebrated on the Pethara Amasa (Mahalaya Amavasya – Bhadrapada Amavasya). At the time of writing, in 2016, Day 1 is on September 30th. Bathukamma is a festival of flowers and is celebrated for 9 days before Dasara, 10th day. 9th day is Saddula Batukamma, it is final and grand celebration of Batukamma. The Bathukammas prepared with layers of flowers immersed in water. It falls on Durga Ashtami day and sometimes it falls on Mahanavami day.
The Grand Dasara of Mysore
In Mysore in the southern state of Karnataka, Dasara is celebrated in Royal palace of late Tippu sultan. Mysore Palace is dazzlingly illuminated with lights, during the 10 days of the festival. Dussehra, the royal celebration in Mysore are held at the Durga temple atop the Chamundi hill. On Vijayadashami, the traditional Dasara procession is held. The Goddess Chamundeshwari idol is placed on a 750-kilogram golden mandapa on the top of a decorated elephant. This idol is worshipped by the royal couple and other devotees before it is taken around in the procession. Colourfully decorated elephants, horses, camels, dance groups, along with music, decorated elephants, horses and camels from a rhythmic procession from Mysore Palace till Bannimantap. According to a legend of the Mahabharata, Pandavas hide their weapons under the banni (jammi) tree. The Dasara festivities would conclude on the night of Vijayadashami with an event held in the grounds at Bannimantap called as Panjina Kavayatthu (torch-light parade).
In addition, the palace’s magnificent Golden Throne is taken out of storage and assembled in the Durbar Hall for public viewing. This is the only time it can be seen throughout the year.
In Tamil Nadu, Goddess Laxmi is worshipped. Tamil Nadu, in certain states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, dolls (Bommai Kolu) are arranged to mimic a village on specially built steps.
Western states as Gujarat, Maharashtra celebrate Nine nights of Durga Puja aka Navaratri celebrations. The tenth day is celebrated as Vijayadashami. Navaratri festival is celebrated in honor of worship Goddess Durga in all her reincarnations as Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. It’s a festival full of worship and dance. For nine days, the Goddess Durga is worshiped in her various forms. The festival ends on the tenth day, the victory of good over evil. On that day, Idols of Goddess Durga are immersed into the water. Fasting is carried out certain days or entire 9 days by a few devotees. Evenings Navaratri is celebrated with nine nights of dancing. The traditional dances of Gujarat, known as garba and dandiya raas, are performed in circles with dancers dressed up in colorful clothes. Small, decorated sticks called dandiyas are used in the dandiya raas.
Whether is it’s called Navaratri in north India or batukamma in south India, it is the celebration of great goddess Durga avatars. Both are celebrated for 9 days before Dasara and on 9th-day immersion takes place.
Of course, no celebration in any culture would be complete without food. At this auspicious occasion, celebrate with low-carb and low-sugar food without sacrificing genuine Indian taste with my recipes. For those who are on Navaratri vrat or fasting, this recipe is fasting compliant. No rice and rice flour, wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sooji (Rava or semolina), chickpea flour or gram flour.