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Navratri Fasting – How to do Navratri Upvas?

There are many Hindus who observe Navratri Vrat or fasting during the nine days of Navratri. Most people observe a partial fast during Navratri and abstain from non-vegetarian food, alcohol etc.  In 2024, Navratri begins on October 3 and ends on October 12. The fasting is generally dedicated to Goddess Durga. In South India, especially in Kerala, Navratri Vrat is dedicated to Goddess Saraswathi. Puranas indicated that the importance of Navratri fast was narrated by Goddess Durga to one of her devotees.

There are no strict rules for any fasting in Hindu religion and usually, the devotees decide how they want to do the fasting during the period.

Navratri Fasting in South India

In South India, the nine days of Navratri is divided into three parts – three days each for Goddess Durga, Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati. In North India, there is no division but is dedicated to Mother Goddess or Shakti.

People take bath in the morning and evening during Navratri period. Some devotees only consume food after bathing. After pujas and meditation, most people only take simple food. Some opt for fruits and milk only. There are devotees who only take a single meal. Any of the bhajans dedicated to Mother Goddess is recited during the period.

Some people only observe fast during three days i.e., first fast during any one of the first three days and second fast during any one of the next three and last on any one of final three days.

People who skip the Navratri fasting just visit temples on all the nine days or just meditate for sometime in the puja room or in some quiet place. Some people read Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Vasishta or any other holy books during the period.

A Kalash which represents Mother Goddess is worshipped in most places. But there are also people who opt to pray to idols or portraits of Mother Goddess in any form.