Ayodhya/Bhopal/Ahmedabad, Oct.5 (ANI): Devout Hindus queued up at various temples across India to mark the beginning of the nine-day long festival of Navratri, which is held in honour of Hindu goddess Durga.
The onset of winter marks the festive season in India, starting with Navratri and Durga Puja, followed by Dussehra and ending with Diwali.
'Navratri', which literally means nine nights and is observed twice a year, began across India with religious fervour on Saturday.
Most of the Hindu devotees observe fasts during the nine days and offer fruit and flowers to the Goddess in worship.
In New Delhi, devotees converged at various, prominent among them being the one at Jhandewalan to offer prayers prior to the dawn and observed fast throughout the day.
A priest, Ram Kushwaha, said that morning prayers have been performed and the festival will be celebrated with zeal for nine days.
"These nine days celebrate different avatars of the Hindu Goddess. A lot of people from across the country visit our temple to pray," said Kushwaha.
Similar celebrations were also witnessed in central Bhopal city where devotees chanted hymns and performed early morning prayers.
"I will pray to Goddess in the coming nine days. I want her to bless me. I also want other devotees who pray to her with purity in their heart and receive her blessings during these auspicious nine days," said a Hindu devotee, Sarita Devi.
The devotees believe their wishes are fulfilled if they pray to Goddess Badi Devkali during the nine-day festival.
The festival lasts for nine days in honour of nine manifestations of Durga, goddess of power, and fall in the months of April-May and September-October.
It is believed that during the Navratri, Goddess Durga descends on earth to rid it of the demons and blesses her devotees with happiness and prosperity.
On the tenth day people celebrate Dussehra, which marks the triumph of good over evil. According to Hindu mythology, on this day, Lord Rama beheaded the demon king Ravana. (ANI)