Navrati is one of the most important and widely celebrated festivals in India, with devotees to the Goddess Durga honoring her nine forms over nine days. During this period, devotees observe a fast, perform puja and celebrate the nine displays of Durga's feminine power to the world.
Vijayadashami (Ashwin Shuddha Dashami), also called Dussehra, is considered an important day in Indian culture. Navratri of the Goddess is celebrated after the Ghats of the Goddess are established and Vijayadashami is celebrated on the 10th day. Goddess Saraswati, considered to be the goddess of education, is specially worshipped on this day. People give Apata leaves to each other as gold and, in the evening, people would cross the village boundary to the north-east, to worship apata trees, establish the Goddess Aparajita on the Ashtadal line and pray to her to 'grant me victory'. The warriors then worship the weapon by drawing a symbolic image of Saraswati.
In the Snehalaya family, we celebrate this festival every year. Our children worship books and notebooks and all our vehicles and buildings are decorated with flower garlands, made with the help of the children, and worshipped. This year, our boys and girls decided not to distribute apata leaves to not harm the environment. Our Ravana was prepared by Snehadhar's Kaveri Mam and cremated in the evening.
Snehalaya’s female staff are also known as Navdurga, in recognition of the brave and honest work they do as 'family' members. To honour the work they do we created a series of posts highlighting some of our 'she-roes'. You can read their stories by clicking on the images below.