Navarathri is a Hindu festival which is celebrated for 9 nights, signifying the name of the festival. Throughout this time, Goddess Durga is idolised in nine different forms known as Navadurga.

It is firmly believed that worshipping the Goddess during those 9 nights is also called Sharadiya Navarathri, which gives prosperity, wealth and enlightenment to her devotees and eliminates evil. The tenth day is celebrated as Vijayadashami, to commemorate the day of the triumph of light over darkness.

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For 9 nights, Goddess Durga, who is idolised in varied forms every day, is worshipped and offered a variety of vegetarian offerings each day before the pooja (prayer) begins. However, vegetarian dishes are offered as a tradition, but they have a lot of nutritious benefits for one’s overall wellness.

1. Urad dal vada (Methu vada)

This crispy, delicious and protein-rich urad dal vada is going to be a great start to the first day of this festival, for Goddess Shailputri. Chilies and onions may be added upon request. Serving them fresh with sambar and coconut chutney is, however, doubly delicious.

2. Poha

Poha is gentle on the digestive system and does not trigger bloating. This might come as a surprise, but Poha has probiotic advantages. Some people also add fried peanuts to enhance the flavor and a splash of lemon juice to the Poha bowl gives it the vitamin C essential for effective absorption of iron. This dish can be served on the second day of Navarathri, which is for the Goddess Brahmacharini.

3. Peas with coconut raw mango sundal  (Thengai Manga pattani sundal)

Navarathri is incomplete without a sundal, this dish is usually offered as an offering to the Goddess Chandraghanta on the third day, we should serve it as an offering. It’s very common in Tamil Nadu and can be prepared with different legumes and beans. To those who aren’t fond of fresh mango, you can skip it with dry mango powder or drizzle some lemon juice for a tangy flavour.

4. Coconut rice (Thenggai satham)

Coconut rice is a simple and delicious rice dish made with freshly grated coconut, tempering spices, curry leaves and rice. It is among the most simple Indian dish made for a meal during festivals and occasions, and one should not forget serving it on the 4th day for Goddess Kushmanda.

5. Ven Ponggal 

Ponggal rice is a local delicacy prepared with rice and moong dal, either for a sweet or savoury dish. It could be given as a naivedyam to Goddess Skandamata on the fifth day. In fact, this protein packed meal is a fast dish to prepare with a nice aromatic ghee and is light on the stomach. It’s best served warm or hot.

6. Black chana sundal (Karupu kadalai sundal)  

This is yet another style of sundal that can be prepared as a 6th day offering to the Goddess Katyayani during Navarathri. More or less the method used to prepare this sundal is the same with a slight variation in between. Sundal is nutritious and a guilt free snack which you can have at any time of the day or even accompanied with your meals too.

7. Lemon Rice

On the 7th day, you can offer Lemon Rice as a naivedyam for the Goddess Kalaratri. Lemon rice has a subtle flavour of fresh lemon juice and an aroma of hot rolling spices. It can be served plain or with curd, pickle, raita, chutney or salad. Due to the addition of the turmeric, the dish can be preserved longer.

8. Puran Poli

On the 8th day of Navarathri, you may switch your pace by making Puran Poli for Goddess Mahagauri. Puran poli is a popular Indian flatbread filled with seasoned and sweetened lentils. It can be paired with melted ghee or milk. This dish is often served during Vinayaga Chaturthi and Holi, but it’s a very delicious sweet flatbread you cannot resist.

9. Tamarind rice (Puliyodharai recipe)

This tangy, sour and spicy rice is not only popular among South Indians, but is also considered the most favourite Navarathri dish. This is going to be a perfect recipe to end the 9th day of Navarathri for the Goddess Siddhidatri. Tamarind is good for heart due to the presence of fibre which has a reducing effect on cholesterol. This recipe is ideal for people with diabetes, too. However, too much tamarind may be bad for health, even though it’s vegetarian.

Let’s celebrate this Navarathri by serving all these lovely offerings to Goddess Durga as naivedyam. Happy Navarathri and we, from Varnam wish that the colours, bliss, happiness of this auspicious festival stay with you not just for these nine days, but forever!