Eco friendly Navratri - Dussehra

Navratri Calendar 2016

Navratri - Dussehra is celebrated for 9 nights and 10 days : 01 - 11 October 2016

01 October Saturday Padya Kalash Sthapana / Gatasthapana
02 October Sunday Padya Chandra Darshan
03 October Monday Bidige Brahmacharini Puja
04 October Tuesday Thadiya Chandraghanta Puja
05 October Wednesday Chouti Kushmanda Puja
06 October Thursday Panchami Skandamata Puja
07 October Friday Shashti Katyayani Puja
08 October Saturday Saptami Kalaratri Puja
09 October Sunday Ashtami Durga Ashtami
10 October Monday Navami Ayudha Puja
11 October Tuesday Dasami Vijayadashami, Durga Visarjan


Tradition was to celebrate each of the 4 seasonal transitions for 9 nights ( Navratri) and 10 days. Hence Navratri occurs 4 times in a year according to Hindu calendars:
  1. Magh Navratri (Jan-Feb): Autumn to Winter
  2. Chaitra Navratri / Vasanth Rthu (Mar-Apr): Winter to Spring
  3. Ashad Navratri (Jun-Jul): Spring to Summer
  4. Shardiya Navratri (Sep-Oct): Summer to Autumn
2 and 4 are closer to the 2 equinoxes and are celebrated. 4 is the most popular. 1 and 3 are known as Gupt Navratris.


The symolism has deeper significance:
  • Alignment of life-style to seasonal transition
  • Triumph of good over evil
  • Balance the 3 subtle forces of nature: Potential ( Parvathi), desire(Lakshmi) and knowledge (Saraswathi)
  • Honour to girls and women by worshipping female manifestations of Shakti
  • Unity in diversity
Dussehra symbolizes the dominance of good over the evil. In today's world, crime, discrimination, nepotism, corruption and pollution are only a few manifestations of the evil. Collective worship gives the hope to derive the power ( shakti) that is needed to eradicate these evils.

Variations across India

Same window of the year is celebrated across the country with pomp and splendour. Bengal celebrates Goddess Durga who beheaded Mahishasura, the buffalo demon. In Central and Northern India, Rama's annihilation of Ravana ( 10 headed mythical king of ancient Srilanka) is celebrated by burning effigies of Ravana. Goddess Chamundi Devi is taken in the Royal processions of the Mysore Dasara. Garba and Dandiya Raas dances of Gujarat are now a trend. Tamilnadu celebrates with Golu: a display of toys on steps at home. In the South, implements are worshipped on Ayudha Puja and Vijaya Dasami is auspicious to start education. In the North the nine incarnations of Shakti ( Shailputri, Brahmcharni, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kalratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidatri) are worshipped one on each day. In South, Parvathi, Lakshmi and Saraswati are worshipped 3 days each.

Eco friendly Dussehra

No special formula here; As in any other green festival, toxic colours, visarjan of POP idols, high decibels and crackers are to be avoided. Navaratri Golu toys, Durga Idol and Visarjan, Ravana effigy for bonfire can all be eco-friendly without toxic colours and non-biodegradable material. Bhoomi visarjan, a rare method of idol immersion in earth is pracised of late in districts of Bundelkhand region, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, due to scarcity of water and increased awareness to pollution. A deep pit is dug on the river bank and idols, preferably without decoration, are buried in it with rituals. When the river swells up, clay gradually dissolves in water. However, it is difficult to change age-old traditions. Every year guidelines issued by State Pollution Control Boards for idol immersion are flouted.