Navratra Festival Tuljapur

Annual Festival

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Sharadiya Navaratra
One of the most auspicious festivals, it is celebrated from Ashwin Pratipada (first day of Hindu lunar month) to Ashwin Paurnima (full moon day) which usually falls in the month of September-October. The festival is celebrated to commemorate the event of the Goddess going to her cosmic sleep (Nidra) of five days. On Ashwin Shudh 10, the most important festival Dashera is celebrated. "Simollanghan" (symbolic crossing of boundaries) the most auspicious event of the festival, is performed in the early morning. During this ritual, the Holy Idol of Tuljabhawani is taken out from the Garbh Graha and placed in to the palanquin (Palkhi) which is carried in procession encircling the temple. After this procession, it is believed by the devotees that the deity retires to her sleeping chambers for resting up to Ashwin Pournima (fool moon day). The Deity is believed to wake up from her cosmic sleep of five days on Ashwin Pournima (Full moon day). This being the most important and sacred occasion, nearly one million devotees gather in Tuljapur to witness the sacred event.
Shakambhari Navaratra
This 5 days festival is celebrated each year in honour of Goddess Shakambhari in the Poush month according to Hindu lunar calendar (November/ December). This is a sort of mini recreation of the sacred events taking place during the Shardiya Navratra Utsav. During this festival, dramas and music concerts are organized by the Devasthan Trust. Many renowned singers, musicians and artists participate in these concerts and cultural programmes and exhibit the prowess of their performances. This year, i.e. 2009-10, well known artist from Marathi Theater and cinema Prashant Damale rendered his performance in the functions organized by the Devasthan Trust, along with the famous music composer Shridhar Phadake and a folk singer Vitthal Umap, also gave excellent performances.The trust has also started giving "Shree Tuljai Stree Shakti Puraskar" an award in recognition of extra ordinary achievements in different fields accomplished by women of Maharashtra.
On the occasion of Shakambhari Navratri during the period of Paush Shudha Prathama to Ashtami, the Goddess sleeps. This is the period of creational sleep for the Devi and the day in which she wakes up is celebrated as her birth day. Therefore, the nine days of this sleep is considered as nine months of birth. Before this Navratri, the Goddess sleeps on the silver bed and after its completion, she sleeps for 5 days on the sandalwood bed of her ancestral place and for the next 8 days she again sleeps on the silver bed. Hence when the one who bears the burden of this universe rests, her devotees give up on items like beds, pillows, etc.
This is an important and glittering function in which, the replica of Deity’s holy idol, made of silver is placed on the chariot decorated with colorful sculpts of lions, elephants, horses, bulls, eagles and peacocks, shown as carriers and the procession moves on accompanied by drum beaters and devotees singing traditional devotional songs.
After waking up from sleep the Goddess witnessed the growing atrocity of Mahishasur and battled him till 9 days. On the ninth day, the demon surrendered to the goddess and asked her to forgive her. Due to the rigorous battle she got tired and slept for 5 days and that is referred as Shram Nidra.
Before Navratri, the Goddess was in meditative sleep but after seeing the growing atrocities of Mahishasur on the gods, Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva persuaded the Goddess after 8 days to wake up and kill him. After waking up from this sleep, the Goddess exhibited a powerful manifestation and saved the Gods from Mahishasur.
This event takes place on Pousha Shuddha Pratipada. Here the idol of the deity is applied with turmeric and kept on special silver cot or Palanga which is there for sleeping of deity.