The Indian autumn or sharad rutu is a season of happiness when several festivals are celebrated. The first nine nights in the seventh month of
the Hindu calendar Ashwin are celebrated as Navratri mainly in honour of Goddess Durga, who is worshipped in Goa in the forms of Sateri, Shantadurga, Bhumika, Bhagvati and Mauli.
A feeling of expectancy fills the air and everyone looks forward with eagerness to the Navratri, dedicated to the worship of different aspects of Durga, Saraswati and Laxmi. In most temples across Goa, on the first day of Navratri, a ritual of Ghatsthapana is conducted wherein a pitcher filled with water is worshipped in the temple and nine types of grains are kept for germination.
On the tenth day, these sprouted grains are distributed among the devotees, with women using them to decorate their hair. Every night a new garland is placed around the pitcher.
Every night the pitcher is worshipped and an eulogy or aarati is sung to the accompaniment of musical instruments. In some temples, a religious discourse praising Goddess Shakti with Saptashati is read.
Besides, performance of kirtans are specially organized, in which well-known folk artists present kirtans, which are compositions marked by singing, recitation and dramatization.
The farming communities reap the panicles of paddy and use them with mango leaves to make a chain that is tied over the entrance of their houses and temples on the tenth day of the Navratri.
Pandurang Devari of Borim says, “The nine nights of Navratri are marked by a variety of religious and cultural performances in the temple of Navdurga, Borim wherein the whole village is engrossed in devotion”. Temples of Kalika in Kasarpal, Navdurga in Borim and Mahalaxmi in Bandora are known all over Goa for `Makhorotsav’, wherein the deity is seated on a vehicle having the design of an eagle or lion or tiger on each day of Navratri.
The goddess is made to sit on a swing decorated with flowers and a bell is rung when it is moved to and fro. Gradually, swinging of the makhar alongwith the deity transforms the devotees into a trance. Goan cities come alive with music and dance celebrations during the nights. Young girls wearing colourful outfits and boys with churidar kurtas play the Garbas and the Dandiya raas.