Come October, and India gets wrapped up in the festive spirit — pandals pop up in all by-lanes, street food takes centrestage for dinner, street hawkers have colourful firkis (paper windmills) to sell as also plastic sunglasses for children, balloons and kaleidoscopes.
Be it the Bengali Durga Puja, Gujarati dandiya and garba nights, the grand Mysore Dasara celebrations, or the Ramlila with the burning of Ravana's effigy — the ten-day Navratri festival brings the country together in the triumph of good over evil.
It is believed that during the festivities, Goddess Durga comes to her paternal home with her children. Eco-friendly pandals with goddess statues decorated with natural paints, pandals depicting the majestic Chittorgarh Fort as seen in the period film Padmaavat, or even the Jubak Brinda Durga Puja pandal in north Kolkata that paid a tribute to Sonagachi's sex workers—each statue, carving, glamour and shine of the goddess highlights the craftsmanship of potters and artistes.
Music and dance, synonymous with Indian festivals, are the essence of this festival. Garba and dandiya raas — the high energy dance form from Gujarat — are organised across cities in reverence to the goddess.
While celebrations across the states might differ, the message of this festival is the same — the triumph of good over evil. The Mysore Palace celebrates the killing of demon Mahishasura, who was slaughtered by Goddess Chamundeshwari - a form of Goddess Durga - in Mysore.