Navarathri is here bringing with it the colourful season of music, dance and more importantly the Golu in South India. As the name suggests, Navarathri is celebrated for nine days (25th September to 3rd October), worshipping the three forms of shakthi as Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. It’s a Hindu festival celebrated in most parts of the country with regional and cultural mythical legends. While in North India it is Durga puja, which celebrates the divine victory of Mother Durga over the demon Mahishasura, in South India it celebrates the magnificence of the three forms of the supreme feminine power in terms of Valour, Wealth and Knowledge. Navarathri all over India is famous for many festivities, one of the most notable would be the Garba of Gujarat and the golu in Tamil Nadu.
In almost all the households and all major temples of Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu, the golu is arranged. Golu means, divine presence, where in wooden steps (in forms or tiers) are arranged one above other and dolls depicting various mythical themes are arranged. The golu steps are usually in odd numbers (7,9 or 11) and typically has dolls that have been collected over the year or inherited as family heirlooms.
As it is also a festival of music and dance, an array of performances are lined up in all major temples of the town. The Pondicherry Music and Dance Association has organised carnatic music and Bharatanatyam dance performances in the Saradhambal Temple during the entire 9 days festival. It is an opportunity for all to hear some of the best musicians of town and watch young dancers perform the divine art of dance. The performances are organised in such a way that established artists as well as upcoming talents are given a platform to perform and seek blessings on all the nine days. Other temples including Akka Samy madam temple, Soudambigai Amman temple, Paalathamman temple also have arranged for such performances. Few banquet halls in town and Shree Jalaram Temple organises Dandiya nights, with traditional Garba dances for the Gujarathi community of the town.
The nine days of the festival is dedicated to the three goddess in turn, which culminates on the ninth day with Saraswathi Puja or as it is called here the Ayudha puja. The Ayudha puja is the day when all the tools and instruments of knowledge, wealth and valour, ranging from a pair of scissors to books are presented in front of goddess Saraswati for her blessings. The tenth day is the Vijaya dasami, which is considered to be the most auspicious day for a new beginning. A day which also glorifies the sacred relationship of a teacher and student. It is believed that any deed that is started on this day always ends well.
Events in Pondicherry during this Navarathri Festival: