It is that time of the year again when idols of goddess Durga are decorated with kumkum, bangles, flowers, and jeweled attires. Morning prayers are offered accompanied by synchronised bells. The aroma of pure butter or desi ghee delicacies fill up the space. Navratri, one of the biggest Hindu festivals is celebrated twice a year with great fervour across the country. Devotees worship the different avatars of Goddess Durga for nine days. Goddess Durga is believed to have nine different incarnations and each female deity signifies a distinct power. The word 'Navratri'refers to the nine auspicious nights during which Goddess Durga is worshiped and most people observe fasts. It is celebrated twice a year, at the beginning of spring and during the onset of autumn. During Navratris most people give up non-vegetarian food while many others also eliminate onion and garlic from their meals.
Usually a large part of north, west and central India observes a fast on all nine days. Some people may choose to fast only on the first and the last day of the festive period. Fasting is a way to pay your gratitude to the Goddess. Traditionally, the consumption of alcohol and non-vegetarian food is considered inauspicious and unholy but there is also sound science behind it. During these fasts people avoid eating meat, grains, alcohol, onion, garlic etc. From an Ayurvedic perspective, these foods attract and absorb negative energies and should be avoided during a seasonal change as our bodies tend to have low immunity around that time.
Navratri festivities give you a chance to get back to the roots and deviate from the day-to-day affair. Ingredients like kuttu atta, singhara atta, fresh vegetables, milk, yogurt and makhanas are preferred as they are light on the stomach and can be digested easily. Instead of regular salt, rock salt or sendha namak is used as it is pure and unprocessed. Those who do not wish to fast may follow a vegetarian satvik diet where ingredients like garlic and onions that produce heat in the body are avoided to allow your body to detox.