By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 02, Apr 2022, 9:11 am IST | UPDATED: 07, Apr 2022, 18:26 pm IST
New Delhi: Today (April 2, 2022) is the first day of Chaitra Navratri and New Year in Hindu mythology, and celebrations are lined up across the nation. The Covid-19 pandemic had meant that for over two years, festivities remained low-key, but as cases drop significantly, the nine-day festival is likely to witness celebrations on a grand scale.
On early Saturday morning, 'aarti' was performed at New Delhi's Jhandewalan temple on Saturday. Devotees visited the temple to offer prayers and seek blessings from Goddess Durga. People were seen standing in the queue waiting for their chance patiently to offer prayers on a holy day. Speaking to ANI, Ravindra Goyal from the Jhandewalan Temple trust welcomed the devotees back to the temple and said that they have made proper arrangements for security."I extend my best wishes for the new year. India has come out of the trouble of Covid-19 after two years. There is excitement among people and we are also prepared to welcome them. They can come and seek blessings. The temple has been decorated. More than 2,500 workers are handling the security management of the place. We have installed 160 CCTV cameras. A control room has been made where our people keep an eye on the events along with the police officials," Goyal said.
With pandemic restrictions having been considerably eased, temples across the country will remain open till late night without any curbs, though devotees will be requested to wear masks. The Navratri will be marked with traditional 'bhajans', 'havan', 'aarti' and 'bhandara' (community feast). Many temples will, however, continue to live stream 'aarti' for devotees who cannot make it to the temples, physically.
In Ayodhya, temples are being decorated and illuminated for Navratri and special pujas are being organised in several temples. "We need to pray for the health of mankind and also thank the Lord for giving us the strength to bear the pandemic crisis," said Raj Keshwar, a regular visitor to the Hanuman Garhi temple.
After a two-year gap, Navratri will be celebrated with full fervour and grandeur this time. Devotees can offer prayers at temples without any curbs and restrictions which is an auspicious omen," said Pandit Sandeep Mishra, priest of a Ram temple in Aminabad area in Lucknow.
The gates of the Chandrika Devi temple, Lucknow, also opened at 7 am for a sea of devotees. "We have made arrangements and hope to see people in huge numbers once again in Navaratri. However, we will make announcements every hour to remind people to wear masks and maintain social distancing," said Akhilesh Singh, president, Ma Chandrika Devi Mela Vikas Samiti.
Similarly, Badi Kali Ji temple and the Hanuman Setu temple in Lucknow are all set to welcome devotees.
Chaitra Navratri or Vasant Navratri is celebrated during the spring season in India and it is considered to be an important nine-day celebration for the Hindu community.
The first day of Chaitra Navratri falls during the 'Shukla Paksha' of the moon i.e., the full moon phase. The rituals performed during the nine days in order to praise Goddess Durga, vary each day. It also marks the birthday of Lord Rama, which usually falls on the ninth day during the Navratri festivity, hence it is also known as Rama Navratri. The festival is much like Maha Navratri, dedicated to the nine different forms of Goddess Durga, collectively known as Navdurga.
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