Festivities of Navratri

Have you ever seen Mangalore during the festival of Navratri or Dasara? Have you seen the various decorations taking place days before the festival begins? If you have, then you must have been wonder-struck by the beauty. If you have not seen , then this is the perfect time to share my mind blowing experience.

Navaratri , Shivaratri and Dussehra(commonly called Dasara) are the festivals which are grandly celebrated in Mangalore. The celebrations begin days before the festival begins. You can see the people  putting up lights on the pavement areas and mainly in the famous temple Kudroli. I have seen the “Tiger dance” and was awestruck by the performance. Tiger Dance, locally known as “PILI VESHA” is a very unique form of folk dance seen exclusively in Dakshina Karnataka and is very popular in the streets of Mangalore.  The significance of the tiger is being the carrier of “Goddess Durga”. This dance would fascinate anyone regardless of their age.


Men had body paintings resembling that of a tiger, cheetah or a leopard. They looked very surreal and once the dancers performed, the crowd went wild. The dancers included young boys and men and they flawlessly executed their moves and nailed their somersault flips. These dancers I happened to see, formed a unique human pyramid which looked very daring. These performers religiously take part in all the celebrations but it is also a time for them to earn money during Dasara. They do their routine several times in many places too. I will never forget their performance ever.



Another place which stands out during Navratri is the famous Kudroli Shri Gokarnateshwara Kshetra. When I happened to look at this temple during Navratri, I saw a beauty which hurt my eyes. It looked so surreal and has been magnificently built. It looked like a heavenly abode on earth in the beautiful coastal city of Mangalore. Even atheists would have been awestruck by the beauty and would have entered the religious temple. The temple has a Gopuram which is decorated by murals of gods and goddesses. The whole temple was decorated with lights and it looked so grand like an ancient King’s palace to set foot in.There are various cultural programs where people sing bhajans about Goddess Durga. Classical dances are performed and they convey the story of Navratri and keep the audience rooted to their spot. The celebrations of the temple during Dasara is popularly known as “Mangalore Dasara”.

The temple has “Gangavatharana”(Ganges water flowing from the crown of Lord Shiva) on all all days. On 4 corners were tall colourful Lord Shiva’ s idols. Jets of water were sprayed from the 4 sides into the sky forming a pinnacle shaped like a Shiva Lingam during Navratri. On this auspicious day, people get to see all the 9 avatars (forms) of Goddess Durga. The temple, decorated with colourful lights adds glory it. During this auspicious time, devotees, tourists and locals come to see the 9 avatars which is open only during Navratri. I got to see a religious sight which I will always cherish. So, folks be on the lookout for a Pili Vesha and do visit the temple.

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