New Delhi/Faizabad/Ramgarh, Oct. 16 (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 the Goddess Durga.
Navratri is observed twice a year, once in April and the second time in October.
A majority of Hindu devotees fast during these nine days and offer fruits and flowers to Goddess Durga as an act of worship.
In New Delhi, devotees converged at temples, prominent among them being the one at Jhandewalan, to offer prayers.
A priest, Keshav Nath, said that morning prayers have been performed and the festival will be celebrated with zeal for nine days.
"Today, is the first day of the Hindu festival 'Navratri' and special arrangements has been made at Jhandewalan Temple. Our 2000 helpers are making arrangements. The temple has been beautifully decorated with flowers. Prayers have been performed early in the morning and the prayers will continue the whole day. Students will perform prayers and this will continue for nine days," said Nath.
Similar celebrations were also witnessed in Jharkhand's Ramgarh district, where foreign tourists also arrived to participate.
A priest, Girdhari Lal, said that devotees thronged the temple in large numbers and offered prayers before the deity.
"Devotees are visiting the temple. Many priest and saints have also come, as they know about the importance of the festive season. People from across the country are also arriving," said Lal.
Meanwhile, in Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh, people made a beeline to the temple of the Goddess Badi Devkali.
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)