Indians are all set to celebrate the nine-day goddess-worship festival of Navratri. Navratri will begin on September 25, and will be celebrated through to October 3. It will be preceded by Mahalaya Amavasya, on the night of September 23, which is the first new moon or Amavasya, that comes after the occurance of the Autumn equinox, coincidentally occurring on the 3rd of October too.
The Navratri and Dussehra festival is primarily meant to honor the goddess or Devi. Various goddesses are worshiped in different parts of the country. For example, in Bengal, Durga is the primary object of worship, while in the South Indian state of Telangana, Battukamma may be the main goddess to worship. Navratri involves several rituals and processes, and also several community-oriented activities, such as the garba, a communal dance festival on each night of Navratri.
Navratri ends with the final day known as Vijayadashami or Dussehra, which marks the day of victory over darkness. Again, the country witnesses various kinds of celebrations on this day. For example, in Mysore, the erstwhile Maharaja or king appears in a huge Dussehra procession to mark the event. In the northern regions of the country, Dussehra is marked by Ram lila or plays about the Ramayana, which ends in a conflagration and burning down of huge ten-headed effigies of Ravana, the demon-king and antagonist of the Ramayana.
The Indian security agencies are said to have taken precautions to ensure smooth conduct of the festival. Adequate preparations have been made in all major towns and cities, it is reported.