Sri Krishen Kaw
Jammu: The annual Navratri festival, also known as Shardiye Navratri, has commenced from October 15 across Jammu and Kashmir and will continue till October 23. The festival’s inaugural event was held at Yog Ashram Ground in the holy town of Katra, the abode of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi on Trikuta Hills, followed by a Shobha yatra and several events to showcase the cultural heritage of J&K and India as a whole, sources said here today.
In Jammu and Kashmir, all the big and small temples are geared up for the nine-day Navratri celebrations commenced from Sunday, October 15. The Navratri festival has begun at the Katra town of Reasi district amid religious fervor and gaiety. All preparations for a smooth pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi have been made by the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board. The festival will attract more tourists and promote religious and pilgrimage tourism in the region. All the major temples of the Jammu division, including Bawe Wali Mata, Chichi Mata, Sukrala Mata Temple, Kol Kandoli, Chandi Mata Temple in Bhaderwah, and Padder Kishtwar, were illuminated and decorated to welcome devotees during the festivals.
Karnataka’s renowned ‘Yakshagana’ theatre presentation centered around Mata Vaishno Devi. Yakshagana has been showcased on the inaugural day for the first time during the nine-day Navratri festival. It is a form of dance-drama originating from South India and is closely associated with the state of Karnataka. Elaborate and colorful costumes, makeup, and masks are among the most distinctive features of this art form. Several programs have been lined up to celebrate the Navratri festival in Katra town of Reasi district. The annual Navratri festival was scheduled to be commenced from October 15 and continue till October 23. The festival’s inaugural event was planned to be held at Yog Ashram Ground in Katra, followed by a Shobha yatra and several events to showcase the cultural heritage of Jammu and Kashmir and India as a whole. Congregational programs like ‘Prabhat Pheri’, ‘Mata ki Kahani’ recitation, devotional song competition, Ram Leela, and ‘Dangalm’ will be held during the nine-day festivities. Wrestling competitions and performances by specially-abled children and other cultural activities will also be held during the festival.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinah, who is also the Chairman of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, has issued directions to incorporate various forms of art and theatre from various parts of the country in the festival. The number of registration counters has been increased to 37, and the registration process will commence at 4 AM instead of 5 AM, ensuring pilgrims won’t have to endure long queues. It will be regulated based on the Yatra track’s carrying capacity.
Every year the 9-day festivity marks with different events by showcasing heritage and traditional activities. People from all walks of life participate in the festivities, which presents a colorful look at our great tradition of brotherhood and communal harmony. Several programs at the administration level are also conducted during the nine-day long festivity. Navaratri, spanning nine days and nights, holds great importance among Hindus as it is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga.
Occurring in the month of September to October, it is known as Shardiya Navratri. Devotees offer prayers to the nine different forms of Goddess Durga during this period, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil. The culmination of the Navaratri festival is set for October 24, 2023.
During the Navratras, devotees offer special food offerings and puja to goddess Durga. Mata Shailputri: On the first day, worshippers offer ghee as prasad to Goddess Shailputri. Mata Brahmacharini: The second day is dedicated to Goddess Brahmacharini, and devotees are advised to offer Shakkar or sweets to please her.