Navratri begins with great fervour in Pune; people throng temples on first day
The auspicious nine-day festival of Navratri began on Sunday and devotees thronged temples dedicated to Goddess Durga to offer prayers and seek blessings on the auspicious occasion. This year, Navratri is being observed from September 29 to October 7.
The Mahalaxmi temple near Sarasbaug was decked up with flowers as people stood in long queues to attend the first aarti of the nine-day-long festival. The ghatsthapna has been organised by Bansilal Ramnath Aggarwal Religious and Cultural Trust. Nitin Kamarlkar, vice-chancellor, Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) performed the aarti on the first day.
This year, for their decor, the temple has recreated the Padmanabha temple based in Kerala. The idols of Goddesses Mahalakshmi, Mahasaraswati and Mahakali are beckoned with flowers.
Karmalkar said, “These nine days are a prelude to the forthcoming festivals and celebration of the Sharad ritu (autumn).”
Speaking on behalf of the temple, trustee Amit Agarwal, said, “We have added a social aspect to our religious aspect this year. We will be felicitating policewomen who are running the bharosa cell and the damini force. We will also be felicitating the sanitation staff of the civic body and teachers.”
According to Agarwal, the temple has planned religious programmes like Shri Sukta Abhishek, Mahalakshmi Mahayag, Maharati, Shri Durgasapashti Mahayag, Kankadhara Stotra over the next nine days.
“I am feeling very happy. We have come here to seek blessings of the almighty. We have been standing in queue for two hours now,” said one of the devotees at Mahalaxmi temple.
This year, various housing societies are organising events like plays and Raas Garba programmes to celebrate Navratri.