The festivities are in the air and people are gearing up for the next nine days to celebrate the festival of Navratri. Navratri is a festival dedicated to the worship of Hindu Goddess Durga in nine manifestations.
Navaratri is a Sanskrit word which means nine nights- nava meaning nine and ratri meaning nights. During these nine nights of festivities, nine forms of devi are worshipped and the festival culminates on the tenth day that is celebrated as Vijaydhashami or Dussera.
On the first day of Navratri, the first form of Navadurga and the daughter of Himalayas, Shailaputri is worshipped. She is the absolute form of mother nature.
Shailputri is the part of goddess that was born as the daughter of the mountain king Himavant (or the Himalaya). She is also known as Parvati, a name that comes from 'parvat' which is the Sanskrit word for mountains. Goddess Parvati was Sati in her previous birth.
According to religious beliefs, Shailaputri who holds a trishool in her right hand and lotus flower on her left, blesses those who worship her. People believe that those who pray to her and have strong faith in her, she blesses them and grants them what ever they wish for.
The first day of Navratri is called the 'pratipada'. One must wear yellow on this day when 'ghatasthapana' for the puja is done.
On this day, the worshipers chant a special mantra in order to obtain blessings from godess Shailaputri. The mantra to seek her divine blessings is:
Vande Vaanchit Laabhaya Chandrardha Krita Shekharaam,
Vrishaarudhaam Shuladharaam Shaila- Putrim Yashasviniim