Navaratri and Durga Puja are often used interchangeably as terms to refer to almost the same celebration. They do have key differences but the diety offered prayers to, is the same. The ultimate idea is to celebrate the victory of good over evil and seek blessings from Maa Durga. The celebration, puja vidhi, idols, tenure and rituals differ slightly for Navratri and Durga Puja, however, the determination, will, belief, positivity and happiness remain the same.
Here are some of the key differences between Navratri and Durga Puja:
Navratri is celebrated for a period of nine days, followed by Dussehra. On the other hand, Durga Puja is celebrated for a period of 10 days.
On the sixth day of Pooja, Bengali women wear a red border white saree from 5 am in the morning to Prabhat Pheri in the puja pandals, whereas in Delhi nothing like this is seen.
Navratri revolves around worshipping Goddess Durga in her nine forms and it ends with a celebration of Lord Ram’s victory over Ravana. Durga Puja celebrates the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasur.
In North India, the idols of Mother Durga are different from the Durga idols of Bengal in many ways. CR Park of Delhi, also known as Delhi's Mini Kolkata. The Bengali touch can be seen clearly in the form of the idols that are decorated in the puja pandals that take place there.
While Navrati is a period of fasting where devotees do not consume eggs, meat, onion and garlic during the nine-days, Durga Puja is a time when Bengalis indulge in a plethora of non-vegetarian delicacies. Celebrated by Bengalis at large, Durga Puja is the time to enjoy, laugh and have authentic Bengali cuisine.
The first day of Durga Puja is Mahalaya, a day when the battle between Durga and Mahishasura begins. On the other hand, Navratri begins with worshipping Shailputri, the first avatar of Goddess Durga.
Curly black long hair of these idols, big eyes of fish size - Big eyes, their makeup is all according to Bengali culture. While Durga Puja in North India, Mother Durga is shown riding on a lion and in her form a glimpse of Northern India is seen.
Durga Puja ends with Sindoor Khela (vermillion game), where married women put sindoor on each other, before the immersion of the idol. After immersion of idols, people wish Vijayadashami to one another. On the other hand, Navratri ends with Dussehra, which marks the end of Ramlila and recalls Lord Ram’s victory over Ravan.
Durga Puja is not just a festival but it is such a festival which is more related to people's hearts than their faith. Worship of Goddess Durga, the symbol of female power, is common in every Hindu household in India, but every form of the mother is worshipped during the nine days of Navratri.