Kuala Lumpur, Oct.8 : The Malay Indian community is enthusiastically celebrating the nine-day festival of Navratri.
Navratri, which literally means nine (nav) days (ratri), is a festival of worship and dance for the goddess Durga or Durga Maa.
The North Indian community of Kuala Lumpur congregates at the Shree Lakshmi Narayan Temple in Jalan Kasipillay, off Jalan Ipoh, the venue for the celebration of Durga Maa and three of her reincarnations -- Kali (goddess of purity), Lakshmi (goddess of wealth) and Saraswati (goddess of knowledge).
Each night, devotees of the goddess take part in a colourful celebration, through their energetic dances and multi-coloured clothes, far into the evening every night.
Men and women take their places in concentric circles with dandiya sticks, used while dancing to the beat of popular Hindi music interspersed with bhajans (prayers).
Crowds of more than 500 people take part in prayers to worship Lakshmi and continue to do so until final prayers are said at 11.30pm. This is a common scene during the nine days, broken into threes to celebrate each one of the three reincarnations of Durga Maa.
In the first three days Kali is invoked to destroy all impurity; the second three days are for the adoration of Lakshmi as a giver of spiritual wealth and one considered to have the power of bestowing inexhaustible wealth on her devotees. The final three days are spent in worshipping Saraswati.
For all-round success in life, devotees seek to gain the blessings of Durga Maa through Kali, Lakshmi and Saraswati.
Devotees observe a strict vegetarian fast throughout, with some choosing to eat only once a day or observing a liquid diet.