Adding to the festive mood are colourful pandals, cultural shows, diverse gastronomic delights and people cladding in vibrant clothes with dandiya in their hands and dancing to the tunes of Bollywood songs.
Durga Puja is a celebration of the victory of the revered warrior Goddess Durga over the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura. It is celebrated for nine days, known as 'Navratra or Navratri', which usually falls in the month of October.
The etymology of ‘Navratri’ holds a significant meaning. ‘Nava’ refers to ‘nine’ and ‘ratri’ is made up of ‘ra’ which means ‘night’ and ‘tri’ meaning the three aspects of our life – body, mind and soul.

During these nine days, devotees worship the nine forms of Goddess Durga. These nine avatars represent not only the secrets of nature but also carry a message for the human being. All the nine names of goddess are narrated in ‘Devi Kavacha’ of the ‘Chandipatha’ scripture.

The first day of this holy period is dedicated to Mata Shailputri, who is considered to be the first avatar of Goddess Durga.

Shailputri is the first form of Goddess Durga. She carries a trident and lotus in her hands. This form of Goddess Durga gives the message of protecting and conserving the nature.
It is believed that Shailputri was born as Sati, the daughter of Daksha, in her previous birth. She was devoted to Lord Shiva and expressed her desire to marry him.

The other eight form of Maa Durga are:

•    Mata Brahmacharini – Second Avatar of Durga
•    Mata Chandraghanta – Third form of Durga
•    Mata Kushmanda – Fourth Durga
•    Skanda Mata – Fifth form of Durga
•    Mata Katyayani – Sixth Avatar of Goddess Durga
•    Mata Kalratri – The ruler of the dead
•    Mata Maha Gauri –The Holy Wives
•    Goddess Siddhidatri – Ninth form of Maa Durga

Durga Mantras

Chanting Durga mantras during Navratri make the occasion more sacred and blissful. Following are prominent Durga Mantras.

• Sarva mangala mangalye shive sarvaartha saadhike Sharanye trayambake Gauri Narayani namosthute

• Ya devi sarva bhutesu, shanti rupena sansitha Ya devi sarva bhutesu, shakti rupena sansthita Ya devi sarva bhutesu, matra rupena sansthita Namastasyai, namastasyai, namastasyai, namo namaha!

• Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Buddhi Roopena Samsthita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha

• Jagdamb Vichitramatra Kim Paripoorna Karunaasti Chenmayi Aparadha Parampara Param Na Hi Mata Samupekshate Sutam

• Om Sharanaagata Deenaartha paritraana paraayaney Sarwa syarthi harey devi Naraayani Namostutey