Nine Incarnations of Goddess Durga (NavaDurga)
People Worship Nine forms of Goddess Durga in Dashain festival. Here is the list of nine incarnations of Goddess Durga with appearance and specialties.
Dashain is one of the most auspicious festivals in Nepal. In this festival people commemorate nine incarnations of Goddess Durga ("NavaDurga"). The festival is a symbol of respectfulness towards women. It also symbolizes women as an all powerful creator.
Nine Incarnations Of Goddess Durga - NavaDurga
On the first day of Dashain festival (Ghatasthapana), people worship goddess Shailaputri. Shailaputri is the other name of Goddess Parbati. She is also the adhi shakti as the better half of God Mahadev. 'Shaila' means 'mountain' and 'putri' means 'daughter'. As per the puranas, she is the 106th incarnation of goddess Sati and was born as daughter of King Himalaya.
Shailaputri is shown with a crescent moon on her forehead, carrying a lotus in her left hand and a trident (Trishul) in her right hand. Just like Shiva, she is also seen riding on a bull.
Devotees deposit pure ghee at Goddess Shailputri's feet. They believe, if they do so, the first incarnation of Goddess Durga will bless them with a life free of illnesses. While worshipping her, people usually wear Royal Blue and offer Hibiscus flowers to the goddess.
On the second day of Dashain festival, People worship Goddess Brahmacharini. Bramhacharini is a form of Parbati when she lived a life of an aesthetic to get Shiva as her husband. The goddess's name is said to have come from her austere conduct or quest.
As per the legends, Parbati performed austere and got the griffing shiva out of his penances. So, people worship her to encourage abstinence, virtues, and isolation.
As per her appearance, The goddess is portrayed barefoot, holding a sacred Kamandalu on her right hand and rudraksh mala on the left.
While worshipping her, people wear yellow, prepare sweets and sugary food and offer Shevanti. Sweet flower to the goddess.
On the third day of Dashain festival, devotees worship Goddess Chandraghanta. Chandraghanta, essentially is the manifestation of Parbati in her married form or in a bridal makeup.
As per the legends, when Parbati was newly married, she wanted to wear the moon on her forehead like Lord Shiva. So, Mahadev changed Parbati’s wedding appearance and gave her a new name after accomplishing her wish. Parbati then got her name Devi Chandraghanta with a crescent moon on her forehead. She also symbolises a woman who is self-sufficient, peace loving, and influential.
She is shown riding a lion while holding an arrow, a trident, a sword, and a lotus in her hands. The ringing of the moon-bell on her forehead is also believed to establish her as Adhi shakti, sharing Shiva’s properties.
As per various depictions Goddess Chandraghanta has a golden complexion, three bloodshot eyes, and an adoring expression and is portrayed in Crimson red sari as a new bride. Her crown is adorned with the half moon.
People while worshipping Chandraghanta wear green color and offer the goddess with Lotus and prepare Kheer as prasad.
Kushmanda represents Devi Parbati as the all-powerful Mahashakti. People commonly believe that Lord Shiva made her realize that she is the all powerful Mahashakti and people started worshipping her as Kushmanda.
Lord Mahadev assisted her in seeing that she is more than just a person; Lord Shiva made her realise that she is a Goddess mother of the world and all of its creations. She then realised that she created the three planes via her golden womb.
Parbati’s actual existence as Kushmanda is derived from ash gourd (‘kubhindo’) which represents the world. So, she protects the world.
Kushmanda is the type of NavaDurga whose joy brightens the lives of everyone around her. She has a golden complexion, three tranquil eyes, and a serene face on the back of a tiger. She is depicted wearing pink and yellow robes. Likewise, people offer Kheer, lotus to her. She has eight hands, six of which are holding a disc, mace, lotus, bow and arrow in one hand, sword and rosary in the other, and a jar of honey and a water pitcher in the other.
People worship Kushmananda wearing grey color and offer the goddess with Jasmine flowers. Likewise, people prepare Malpua to offer to the goddess Kushmananda.
Nepalese people on the fifth day of Dashain Festival, worship goddess Skandamata. This form of Parbati depicts the nurturing mother’s form. Parbati in her motherhood is seen carrying her child on her lap, and holding lotuses with two of her hands and offering bhastrika (blessings) with one of her hands.
Usually, Skandamata is shown with a golden complexion and aura behind her head. She, just like lord Mahadev, is a well realised goddess with three eyes portrayed in a calmer gesture.
She is seen wearing ornaments and is depicted wearing orange and yellow apparels. This incarnation of Goddess Durga, is specially seen holding Kartikya in her lap and peculiarly riding a black lion’s back.
Similarly, people worship her wearing orange or yellow apparels. They offer Yellow Rose and Bananas to her.
Katyayani represents Goddess Parbati’s incarnation in her warrior form. According to Legends, goddess Katyayani emerged as a result of a yagna conducted by a sage named Katyayani. So she is named Katyayani. Katyayani has a molten gold skin, three staring eyes, and a laid-back demeanor.
As per the legends, when demon Mahishasura vanquished the gods, Parbati emerged as Katyayani, a ten-armed Goddess, from a sacrificial fire and fought to free the gods from Demonic Mahishasura.
She symbolizes a woman who proves that she is not vulnerable and is the symbol of power and protection. Katyayani is also portrayed as a warrior wielding a sword, a shield, a lotus, and a trident in each of her four hands. She is also seen atop a fierce lion in abhaya-varada mudra.
Devotees wear white dresses for the day and offer the goddess Marigold flowers and Honey as prashad.
Kaalratri is one of the nine incarnations of Goddess Kali who manifested from the hair of Lord Shiva as a form of destruction. People worship her as the Goddess of Time and Death because she is above and beyond the dimensions of life and death. They believe she also governs the time of death and is above darkness. She symbolizes the strength against injustices and the rescuer of all humans. Some legends say, "she is also the manifestation of Gauri’s sheer power".
Kalaratri is portrayed as a half necked goddess wearing demon heads and is often portrayed with blood thirsty eyes along with an open third eye. She is also seen having long and uncombed hair, and has four hands each holding a trident, scimitar, vajra, and cup. Likewise, Goddess Kalaratri is also depicted perched on the back of a donkey.
Moreover, People worship goddess Kalaratri on the seventh day of Dashain Festival with Krishna kamal. They wear a red dress and offer Jaggery.
On the eighth day of Dashain festival, people worship goddess Mahagauri all over Nepal. She is also termed as reincarnation of Goddess Parbati from Kali avatar.
Since she is still recuperating, her skin is depicted as a lightly dark tone. People believe this incarnation of Goddess Durga is in her natural appearance.
Legends say that when goddess Gauri turned into Kali, it was difficult for any gods to calm her down. So Lord Brahma requested goddess Kali to bathe in the cold Manasarovar river. Once she took a dip, she is said to have emerged under the dazzling moon, but her complexion remained slightly dark.
Mahagauri is depicted with white clothes and jewelries, three tranquil eyes, serene face and light brown skin. Her devotees on this very day, wear sky blue apparels and worship her with Jasmine. Likewise, people offer fresh Coconut pieces to Mahagauri.
People commonly worship goddess Siddhidhatri on the ninth day of Dashain Festival. On this day people believe that Devi Parbati rose to her ultimate and greatest form, Mahashakti. She represents equality and is portrayed as having magical abilities, after Lord Shiva adorned her as Ardhanarishwara, sitting on a fully bloomed lotus.
She is the embodiment of knowledge, discipline and love towards children. Siddhidhatri is portrayed as a fair skinned goddess with three satisfied eyes, and a goddess with a peaceful demeanor.
She is also depicted wearing red and blue robes and wears minimal jewelry on her limbs. Her four hands held a discus, a conch shell, a trident, and a mace.
Devotees dress specially in crimson red or pink dresses on the ninth day of Dashain. Then they worship her with Champa flowers. Likewise, they offer sesame seeds, along with Haluwa-puri and chana.
Normally, people in Nepal flood the temples of different goddesses and commemorate NavaDurga on these days. People from Kathmandu Valley visit Dakshinkali, Chinnanmasta, Guheswari, Indriyani, Shova Bhagwati, Naxal Bhagwati, Bageswari, Maitidevi Kumari, and Taleju temples during Dashain festival. These nine incarnations of goddess Durga not only symbolises the religious values but it also reminds our society the importance of women. So, Dashain is also a festival to commemorate the power of women and rejoice their influence in the society.