How to Perform Navratri Puja – The South Indian Way of Observing Navaratri


How to Perform Navratri Puja – The South Indian Way of Observing Navaratri

Navratri, the nine-night festival, honours Goddess Durga, Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswathi in. It is known as Bommla Koluvu in Andhra Pradesh and Navarathri in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. This year, Navratri is from October 1 to October 10. Chaitra month rituals are observed from April 8 to April 15. Navratri is observed as Dusshera in Karnataka, where it is observed for ten days. The main event during Navrathri in is the display of dolls and idols – Kolu and the placing of Kalash, which represents Goddess.

Navratri puja might seem a huge complicated event for many. You can always perform a simple puja by worshipping the Goddess on nine days by lighting a lamp and offering a fruit as prasadam. Rituals are not important but devotion is important. Here is a step by step method on how to perform Navratri Puja:

Clean the house. Usually this is done on the Amavasi day, a day before the beginning of Navratri.

Install mango leaf festoons on doors, windows and the puja room. Draw fresh rangolis/kolams.

Kolu dolls should be ready. Repair broken pieces and use natural colors to paint them.

Decide upon the Bommai Kolu Theme.

Plan early about the pooja prasadam (neivedya) and also about the gifts that you plan to give to women guests.

Requirements for Navratri Puja

If you are keeping Kolu dolls, purchase new dolls at least a couple of new ones. The most important doll needed is the Marapachi dolls (Male and Female pair of dolls).

A pot for Kalasha or Kumbha (brass pot)

Face of Goddess to be stuck on Kalasha. Some people do not opt for this.


Ingredients of the Prasadam to be prepared (this depends on what neivediya you are preparing)

Betel leaves

Betel nuts



Usual fruits

Usual pooja items like lamp, incense, agarbathis etc.

Lotus flower for Goddess Saraswathi and Goddess Lakshmi. Jasmine for Durga. Avoid wild flowers.

If you are giving gifts to women invited for Navratri Pooja, then the bag should contain betel leaves, betel nuts, a pair of round turmeric roots, a coconut, fruits, sweets, flowers, a small gift. You can also include cosmetics like eye kohl, kumkuma, bangles, comb etc.


A day before Navratri Puja

Navaratri Puja begins on the Bhadrapada Amavasi day or Puratasi Amavasai day, a day before Navratri begins. All arrangements are done on this day. In some communities male members perform Tarpan or Shardham dedicated to dead ancestors in the morning.

  • In the evening, Kalasha or Purna Kumbha is prepared. This is an invitation to Goddess to enter your home.
  • Purna Kumba or Kalash is kept on a kolam in such a place that there is space behind to keep the Bommai Kolu. You can attach a face of Goddess to the Purna Kumbha and decorate the Kumbha with jewellery, turmeric, sandal paste, flowers etc.
  • Those who do not keep Kolu, keep the Kalash in the Pooja room.
  • Betel leaves, Betel nuts, a coconut is placed in front of the Kalasha. Cooked rice or boiled and sweetened milk is kept as prasadam or neivedya in front of the Kalasha.
  • This Kalasha is to be kept for next nine days – it symbolizes Goddess.
  • A lamp is lit every evening and morning for nine days.
  • Normal puja is performed.

Arranging the Bommai Kolu

Next you can start arranging the Kolu dolls. Some people keep Lord Ganesha on the first step. Others opt for the Marapachi dolls.

Click on the link to know more on arranging the dolls



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