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Legends of Dasara : Homecoming of Durga

Navaratri is the celebration of Goddess Durga. She is worshipped in different forms on each day of Navratri and on the last day Vijayadashami is celebrated. There are many legends about the rituals and celebrations of Navaratri and one of the popular legends regarding the nine day celebration is the homecoming of the Goddess Durga or Parvati.

According to puranas, Uma was the daughter of King Daksha and had a strong desire to get Lord Shiva as her husband. She did severe penance to obtain Lord Shiva even though her father was against her wishes. She stayed without food for several years and finally was able to please the Lord and got married to him. King Daksha was enraged with this act. Uma settled down with Lord Shiva in due course. Many years later, once Daksha organised a grand yagna to which all the Gods were invited with the exception of Shiva and Uma. She however went into the yagna ignoring Shiva’s concerns and was ill treated by her father. She could not bear the humiliation and set herself on fire. On learning about the incident, Shiva grew wild and killed Daksha, however he was later restored with a goat’s head upon the request of other Gods.

Later, Uma was born as Parvati as the daughter of Himavat, who was the king of mountains. This time also she did severe penance and obtained Lord Shiva as her husband. There after it is believed that everyyear She was allowed to visit her parents once for nine days. These days came to be known as Navaratri and then on the tenth day she is given a send off.

People celebrate the Navaratri as the homecoming of the Goddess from her heavenly abode. They welcome her in grand procession by bringing her idols and worship her for nine days with various rituals. On the tenth day the idols of Durga are immersed in the nearby rivers or lakes as a mark of sending the Goddess back to her heavenly abode.

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