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Navratri: Why India is celebrating 9-Day Hindu Festival and how it is associated with re-incarnations of Goddess Durga?

The festival, though celebrated in a distinct way all across the country, has the same spirit everywhere i.e., celebrating the triumph of good over evil

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Navratri, Flickr

October 8, 2016: From 9 days fasting in the north, to worshipping the tools in the south. From parties hosted by Falguni Pathak in the west to the magnificent Durga Pooja in the east. No doubt, that the Hindu Festival Navratri is the paradigm of Unity in Diversity in Indian culture.

The festival, though celebrated in a distinct way all across the country, has the same spirit everywhere i.e., celebrating the triumph of good over evil. It helps us purify our body as well as our spirit. The tenth day of Navratri is known as Vijayadashmi. Twenty days later, the festival of lights, Diwali is celebrated.

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Navratri is one of the most propitious and celebrated Hindu festivals. This year, this sacred festival is celebrated in the first week of October i.e., from 1st to 10th October.

The tenth day of Navratri is known as Vijayadashmi. Click To Tweet

Each day of Navratri is dedicated to a re-incarnation of Goddess Durga. The avatars of Goddess Durga are as follows:

i. Shailaputri Devi: Also known as Sati or Parvati. She is the daughter of the Himalayas and the embodiment of the Tridev. Yellow is the colour of the day.
ii. Bharmacharini: She gives the path to achieve moksha. She gives the strength to fast during Navratri.Green is the colour of the day.
iii. Chandraghanta: The enchanting Goddess who fought valiantly against demons. She has a Chandra or a half moon on her temple in the shape of a ghanta. Grey is the colour of the day.
iv. Kushmanda: She is the maker of the world. It is said that she filled the vacant dark cosmos with her light. Orange is the colour of the day.
v. Skanda Mata: She rewards her followers with salvation, abilities, wealth and fortunes. White is the colour of the day.
vi. Katyayani: Daughter of Guru Kata. Red is the colour of the day.
vii. Kalaratri: The three-eyed Goddess with breath consisting of terrible flames. Blue is the colour of the day.
viii. Maha Gauri: She is intellectual and calm. Pink is the colour of the day.
ix. Siddhidatri: She has curative capabilities. She is the Goddess success and excellence. Purple is the colour of the day.

Though the majority of people restrict the consumption of meat during Navratri, animal slaughter is part of the rite in many places across the nation. Every other state has its own specific ceremony to sacrifice the animals. Few people sacrifice goats, chicken while some other sacrifice water buffalo, rams, etc.

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Navratri is celebrated to pray to the reincarnation of Goddess Shakti. Each one of the forms signifies something profound. Each mother Goddess teaches us something that we need to retain in our life to replenish and renew our essence. We hope that this Navratri brings contentment and serenity to everyone.

  – by Diksha Arya of NewsGram. Twitter: @diksha_arya53

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Diwali 2017: 5 Fun things You can do this Diwali Instead of Bursting Crackers

How to celebrate Cracker -free Diwali? Here are 5 wonderful ways to make your Diwali joyful this year.

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Diwali 2017
Diwali 2017: Celebrate Cracker-free Diwali this year.
  • No crackers this Diwali? No problem.There are other ways to celebrate Diwali 2017 with the same excitement and joy.
  • The ban on crackers this year has given us a chance to celebrate Diwali 2017 in many other interesting ways with Family and friends.

There can so So much more than bursting crackers on Diwali. Here are 5 ways to enjoy Cracker-free Diwali 2017 

1.Prepare a Diwali Feast: Preparing Delicious Diwali Dishes and Sweets can be a good idea to enjoy Diwali this year. Show off your cooking skills and treat your family with mouthwatering food. Good food can add joy to any celebration, it is tried and tested formula to enjoy and bring smiles on the face of family and friends.

Phirni Diwali Dishes
Preparing Delicious and Sweets can be a good idea to enjoy Diwali this year. Wikimedia

2. Go Green: Some gardening skills can add to your joy this Diwali. Plant a sapling in your home and instead of giving any other gifts to your loved ones, gift a plant to them. This will not only add to the uniqueness of the gift but will encourage a pollution-free Diwali this year.

Also Read: Diwali 2017: Significance of the Diwali, Celebrations & Rituals, Date & Diwali Recipes

3. Try out the old tradition of Playing Cards on Diwali 2017: Playing Taash (cards) can be fun this Diwali with family and friends.Teen Patti is the most popular card game played on the festival of Diwali. You can also play monopoly if you are not sure of winning with cards.

4.Karaoke or Dance Party: Music is the best way to enjoy on every occasion. You can play Antakshari with your family or can throw a dance party on Diwali 2017. A karaoke night this Diwali can add your joy for sure.

5.Spread Happiness: Instead of spending money on crackers, help the underprivileged children in your neighborhood by buying them new clothes, sweets and Diyas. This year control pollution and spread happiness to truly enjoy the festival of lights.

-prepared by Pragya Mittal |Twitter @PragyaMittal05

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Communal Harmony, Anti-terrorism Highlight of Kolkata’s Durga Puja Immersion Carnival

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Durga Puja 2015 katakhali Dhosomi
Durga Puja 2015 katakhali Dhosomi. Wikimedia

Kolkata, Oct 4, 2017: Highlighting communal harmony, railing against terrorism and bringing diverse themes like the intricacies of human mind and the spirit of freedom to the fore, 68 community Durga puja organisers paraded their award-winning idols in the West Bengal government organised carnival here on Tuesday ahead of the immersion in the Hooghly river.

The carnival, a brainchild of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, in its second year, showcased the prominent idols from the city and the adjoining districts in a colourful road show at the iconic Red Road here, amid tight security.

The three hour long event saw the puja organisers also exhibiting samples of various artistic creations used in their puja marquees on vibrantly decorated tableaux.

All the community pujas selected for the road show, were winners of Bengal’s ‘Biswa Bangla Sharad Samman’ award in various categories.

Banerjee and her lieutenants attended the event along with several celebrities from the city and foreign delegates. Representatives from England and Chile football team, who are in the city to participate in the FIFA U17 World Cup to be kicked off from Friday, were also present.

Also Read: Celebration of the Devi Shakti: Maha Navmi | Worship Goddess Siddhidhatri on the Ninth Day of Navratri 

According to the organisers, apart from the 20,000 spectators gathered on both sides of the road on occasion of the event, more than 50 lakh people all over the globe witnessed the one of a kind Durga Puja immersion carnival through live streaming in the social media.

Many of the age-old community puja organisers came up with tableaux aligned with various current affairs topics. Their floats in the parade also reflected those themes.

The Sree Bhumi Sporting Club, a major crowd puller in city’s eastern fringes, was the first off the block having won the award of ‘Serar sera’ (best of the best). With the marquee resembling the palace from blockbuster “Babubali”, the organisers decorated the immersion procession in tune with the theme.

South Kolkata’s Rajdanga Nabodoy Sangha emphasised the concept of communal harmony by portraying the peaceful co-existence of six different religions. The organisers put six people, dressed in the traditional attire of six different communities together on a tableau to emphasise that the different paths of religion actually leads to the same destination.

Yuba Moitri Kalighat, another south Kolkata puja that won the award for best branding this year, highlighted their stand against terrorism and celebrated the well being of mankind through their procession.

Tala Park Pratyay themed their tableau on the intricacies of the human mind. Beautiful fireworks marked their procession.

Meanwhile, a number of pujas headed by the representatives from the government and the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress, focused on highlighting various state government initiatives.

For instance, the Samaj Sebi Sangha celebrated the the crusade of green in their procession and rallied singing school students who represent the exuberance of youth. They also hailed Bengal government’s ‘Sabuj Sathi’ initiative that presents a girl child with the sprout of a costly plant during her birth.

Pujas like Ekdalia Evergreen and Tala Park Pratyay showcased Banerjee’s award winning ‘Kanyasree Prakalpa’ meant for the girl students.

Celebrating the natural beauty of Bengal, the puja in Salt Lake’s FD block depicted a piece of rural Bengal amid the jungle of concrete. The singers in their tableau presented the diverse folk music of Bengal.

The special lighting installation from West Bengal’s Chandannagar made the Red Road look like a land of fairy tale. Several celebrities from the Bengali film fraternity, were also seen walking with various puja processions. (IANS)

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Kolkata Showcases in Top 100 Global Travel Destinations

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Kolkata
Whiteways and Laidlaw Building in Kolkata. Wikimedia

Oct 2, 2017: Kolkata is featured in the top 100 travel destinations globally alongside other Indian cities namely, Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, and Bengaluru, as indicated by Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index 2017.

Chennai stands out in India, other than emerging among the top 10 destinations in Asia Pacific when it comes to overnight visitor arrivals.

Travel and tourism in India is on the rise, an authority of a main travel house in the city told PTI.

Durga Puja festival in Kolkata is a major attraction for foreigners with at least two- to three-day stay, he said.

Also Read:  Durga Puja Pandal Decoration Catches Cinema Style, Baahubali Palace Will Be In Cruise This Year In Kolkata 

According to the Mastercard Global Destinations Cities Index 2017, there are no indications of the slowdown in travel and tourism in Asia Pacific with the region dominating visitor arrivals.

This is additionally affirmed with the main 10 cities in Asia Pacific destinations tracking the most noteworthy amount of global overnight visitor spending. Bringing USD 91.16 billion in travel use in 2016, Asia Pacific outpaced Europe (USD74.74 billion USD) and North America (USD55.02 billion), MasterCard said in an announcement.

Prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram. Twitter @Nainamishr94