Chaitra Navratri: Know about the nine avatars of Goddess Durga
Also known as Rama Navratri, the auspicious festival of Chaitra Navratri celebrates Goddess Durga. The nine-day festival honors nine incarnations of the Goddess and each one of them is worshipped on different days. This year, the festival starting today, (March 22) ends on March 30. Many devotees across North India observe fasts during this time. Here are the nine avatars of Goddess Durga.
The first day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Shailaputri which means the daughter of the mountain. An embodiment of Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahadev, Shailaputri governs the moon and is the provider of prosperity and fortune. The Goddess is represented with a trident in her right hand and a lotus in her left hand. She has a crescent moon on her forehead.
Goddess Brahmacharini, the mightiest of the nine Durgas is worshipped on the second day. Personifying love, loyalty, knowledge, wisdom, and single-minded dedication, the Goddess represents bachelorhood. She wears white clothes and walks bare feet with a japmala in her right hand and kamandalu in her left hand. Her white-colored clothes represent purity, sacredness, virginity, and inner peace.
Chandraghanta and Kushmanda
The third Nava Durga aspect of Maa Durga, Chandraghanta represents fearlessness and courage. She sits on a tigress and has ten hands and three eyes. Her forehead is adorned with a half-moon. Worshipped on the fourth day, Goddess Kushmanda represents richness and elegance. She is credited with creating the world with her divine smile. She possesses the power to live inside the blazing sun.
Skandamata and Katyayani
Skandamata, the Goddess of motherhood is worshipped on the fifth day of Navratri. Also recognized as the Goddess of fire, Skandamata rides on a lion and carries Lord Skanda in her lap. She rewards devotees with power, energy, and salvation. Worshipped on the sixth day, Katyayani, the Goddess of power had destroyed the bull demon Mahishasura. Her characteristics include anger and victory over evil.
Kalratri and Mahagauri
Featuring a furious soul, scattered black hair, red eyes, and a dark complexion, Kalratri is the fearless avatar of Goddess Durga who is worshipped on the seventh day of Navratri. She represents death and destruction. Worshipped on the eighth day, Mahagauri represents beauty, peace, purity, endurance, and cleanliness. One of the most graceful forms of Maa Durga, she bestows prosperity on her worshipers.
The primordial form of Goddess Parvati, Siddhidhatri is worshipped on the final or ninth day of Navratri. She sits in a meditative pose and possesses the eight supernatural powers or the siddhis. She bestows her devotees with wisdom and spiritual knowledge. Sitting on a lotus she is surrounded by Gandharvas, Yakshas, Siddhas, and Asuras, all of who worship her.