Chaitra Navratri or Choti Navratri, is celebrated with great fervor across the country, it is a nine day fasting festival that falls in the month of Chaitra as per the Hindu calendar. Just like the Navratri celebrations that happen before Dussehra, mandaps are prepared in many parts of the city and goddess Durga is worshiped.
During this nine day period, many prefer to walk barefoot and some even fast. On the eighth day, young girls are invited to the house and they are offered food and gifts. These children are considered to be godesses and worshiped. Some keep special aarti and pujas at home, these nine days are considered auspicious as for many, this is the start of the New Year. It also marks the beginning of spring and summer.
Many organisations, political parties and societies have organised Navratri celebrations on a grand scale. They build mandaps and decorate it, a huge idol of Goddess Durga is kept inside these mandaps and worshiped everyday for the next nine days. Mandaps have been put up at Jambhli Naka and Kolshet during this nine day festival.
"Apart from various cultural programme during these nine days, we have also organised a felicitation ceremony where all those who have contributed for the progress of Thane, will be felicitated. But, as it is the exam season, we have not put speakers or organised events on a large scale, as we do not want students to be disturbed in the name of religion," says K Bansode, organiser of mandap at Jambhli Naka.
"During these nine days, women observe strict fast and rely only on very light homemade snacks or fruits. We also offer fruits and flowers to the deity on these nine days and ensure cleanliness at home. We cook food only after taking bath, to maintain hygiene during these days. It is believed that the godess visits our homes during this nine day period," says Kinjal Karandhikar, resident of Brahmand.