Have You Ever Been To South India During Navratri?

Have You Ever Been To South India During Navratri?
The colourful procession from the Mysore Palace during Dasara, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Unique and absolutely gorgeous!

Shalbha Sarda
October 05 , 2019
05 Min Read

India is a land of diversities. Each region has its own language, cuisine, dress and its own set of rituals to celebrate festivals. It comes as no surprise that our way of worshipping changes as per our diversified customs. It is these customs that give a distinctive regional touch to every festival. Navratri is no exception. For the people of northern India, the nine days entail fasting, Ramlila and burning of Ravan’s effigy. For people in Gujarat, it is all about playing Garba and for Bengalis, it is Durga Puja time.

In South India, Navratri is celebrated but in very different way. The focus is on the spiritual and the expression, extremely artistic. Thus, if you find yourself in the southern part of the country during Navratri, be sure to check out these unique celebratory ways.


It’s a secular celebration—a festival of education. Known as Vidhya-Aarambham (beginning of education), it is a way to initiate a child to the world of knowledge. The major celebrations happen in the last three days of Navratri. The Poojavaipuu ritual is conducted where any kind of study or work is put on hold. Books and tools are kept in front of goddess Saraswati. Devotees offer fruits, beaten rice, roasted paddy and jaggery. On Vijayadashami (or the last day of the festivities), children are made to write letters on rice or sand which is called Vidyarambham. Some of the places where one can see the celebrations include the Panachikkadu Saraswati Temple in Kottayam and Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram.

Read | Durga Puja for newbies

Tamil Nadu

Each of the three goddesses, Durga, Laxmi and Saraswati, are worshipped for three days each. The celebration starts with setting up steps (kolu) at the corner of each household. The numbers vary between three and 11. Golu dolls depicting mythological characters, animals and people are arranged on the steps. Friends and family are invited at this time. Married women exchange gifts while hymns are sung in praise. Sundal made with groundnut, peas and pulses is a special dish at this time. On the last day, one of the idols is laid to rest signifying the end of the celebrations. The other days are passed down to the next generation.

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A post shared by Ravikiran A (@a_ravikiran_) on Sep 29, 2019 at 11:13am PDT

Andhra Pradesh

This state celebrates Navratri as Batukamma Panduga which means ‘Come Alive Mother Goddess’. The nine days are dedicated to Maha Gauri. Women make a beautiful flower stacks called Batukamma--seasonal flowers, arranged in seven concentric layers. Women partake in festivities around the flowers and offer prayers. Finally, these stacks are set afloat in a lake or water body to mark the end of the festival.

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A post shared by Mohan Reddy Mullapudi (@mohanreddymullapudi) on Oct 31, 2018 at 6:10pm PDT


Karnataka celebrates Navratri as Dasara. The city of Mysuru has a 400-year long tradition of celebrating it. The Mysore Palace is illuminated on all nights and various cultural and religious programmes take place in front. On the ninth day of the festival, a procession is carried out from the palace. The main attraction of the procession is the idol of the Goddess Chamundeshwari, placed on a huge golden top. Dance groups, music bands, decorated elephants, horses, and camels form a part of this vivid colourful procession. Another major attraction during these days is the Dasara exhibition which is held on the grounds opposite to the Mysore Palace. The exhibition has numerous stalls selling all kinds of articles and artifacts.

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A post shared by captures by Jay.K.P (@jkp_visions) on Oct 2, 2019 at 6:51pm PDT

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