Jammu: The divine festival of Navratri that falls in the Chaitra month (March-April) 2014, ends today as the city takes a dip in Ram Navmi celebrations.
Also known as ‘Chaitra Navratri,’ the festival culminates with the ritual of Kanya-Pujan on Sri Rama Navami, the ninth day of the month. Young girls representing the forms of Goddess Durga are worshiped on this day. Young boys are also called in the homes. All these young girls and boys go to different homes where the Kanya Pujan is performed.
These little ones are offered Puri-Chana, Halwa along with red chunnis and some rupees called. Some people also provide gifts to these young ones.
Also, during the period of Navratri, a holy norm is followed by the Hindu community, called ‘Khetri Beejan’. A small bed of mud and sand along with ‘jaun’ or wheat is prepared on the first day of puja or first Navratri. This is called as Khetri (wheat grown in mud pot). At the end of the Navratri festival, the shoots are about 3 – 5 inches in length. This is a sign of prosperity and abundance. After the puja, the seedlings (looking like long grass) are pulled out from the mud pot and are poured in the running water, and thus on the last day of festival, a large amount of people throng the Har ki Pauri temple, on the bank of Tawi river.
All the temples in the city can be seen highly decorated and illuminated with colourful lights. The famous Bawe wala mandir, Mahamaya mandir, Shree Ranvireshwar mandir, Shree Raghunath mandir and others including the Chichi Mata mandir, etc. are decorated beautifully with flowers. Moreover, all the major roads and streets of the city are illuminated with vigorous lights.
Special attention is paid to Bawe wala mandir that is thronged the most by the pilgrims during Navratri. Long metal pipes have been fitted for the pilgrims, in order to get into unbiased queues to enter the Darbar.
A huge interest to the security has also been paid with all these arrangements. All the major religious places in the city are stuffed with metal detectors and CCTV cameras. The state police have also beefed up security in the city during Navratri, especially at busy markets.
By Mani Arora
Photographs by Sandeep