Indians in Malaysia celebrate Navratri with religious fervour

October 8th, 2008 - 1:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Oct 8 (IANS) Malaysia’s Indian community is celebrating the Hindu festivals of Navratri and Durga Puja with gusto, combining worship with dance and music.During the nine-day celebrations, which began Sep 30, devotees have been offering prayers and celebrating through music and dance, The New Straits Times said Wednesday.

Kuala Lumpur’s Indian community congregates at the Shree Lakshmi Narayan Temple in Jalan Kasipillay, off Jalan Ipoh in the national capital, the venue for the worship of goddess Durga.

Each night, devotees take part in a colourful celebration, through their energetic dandiya dances in multi-coloured clothes.

Devotees observe a strict vegetarian diet throughout, with some choosing to eat only once a day.

A Gujarati couple, Mahendra and Bharati Malani, are ardent devotees of goddess Durga, and have hosted mini-prayer sessions at their home in Bangsar locality for the past 25 years.

“Our whole family observes a strict fast by eating one meal a day after prayers throughout the nine days. However, we do drink tea or milk and eat fruits during the day,” said Malani.

“The main motive of the festival is to celebrate Durga Maa in the areas of health, wealth and prosperity,” Shree Lakshmi Narayan Temple priest Dinesh Kumar Semalty (Shastri) said.

While the nine days are a period of introspection and purification, on the 10th day, Vijaya Dasami or Dussehra is celebrated. It is believed to be an auspicious time for starting new ventures.

South Indian teachers and schools start teaching kindergarten children on that day, while students pay homage to their teachers.

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