This particular ritual is taken from an ancient tradition when idol worship was not prevalent. Ma narrated to me that many many years ago when people only worshiped mother nature, just before the autumn harvest farmers used to worship Naba~Patrika as a symbol of Goddess Durga to invoke her blessings for a rich harvest. Later on with time as idol worship came into being, the ritual of Naba~Patrika was included in the Durga Puja customs.
On the beats of the Daak(traditional drum) Ma Durga is woken up on Saptami day. An earthen or copper plate is taken and either a small mirror (a silver coated looking glass) or speculum mirror (Is an ancient mirror made from copper and tin) called Darpan in Bengali is placed in this plate. The plate is then positioned in such a way that the reflection of Goddess Durga can be seen in it. This mirror is used while bathing the idol of the Goddess Durga. In reality only the reflection of the Goddess in the mirror placed on the plate is bathed. on Saptami day 108 small pots of water are used to bathe the goddess. This is followed by offerings fruits/phal, mishti/sweets, doi/ sweet yogurt culminating with aarti (the hindu ritual of offering ghee dipped wick and incense mainly to God). Lunch offering comprises of 5 types of bhaja(vegetable fries), Khichuri (lentil rice), Payesh (sweet rice pudding), Aloo Phukophir torkari (potato cauliflower curry), chutney (relish) etc. and finished off with Aarti. Boikali or the evening offering is generally luchi(puffed deep fried Indian bread), Suji(Semolina sweet), Payesh, Pitha(sweets made typically from rice flours) etc. and the Goddess is finally put to sleep after the Aarti.
While all these fascinating customs are being followed by Bengalis, other parts of India are continuing the 7th day of Navratri Fast. They are worshipping Goddess Kaalratri, today, who is the destroyer of ignorance and after a whole day of fasting and prayers, they have a vegetarian, gluten free meal, which allows only the use of certain vegetables, gluten free grains, fruits, nuts, milk and milk products. No onion, garlic, pulses, wheat flour, rice etc. are allowed. I wanted to share a dish today which is in lieu of the Navratri Fasts and has been prepared keeping in mind the allowed ingredients during this fast. It is called Chironji Ki Dal and is a lentil free curry made using Chironji (also known as Charoli are almond flavoured seeds), bottle gourd, coconut and spices. It is a mild curry very soothing on the gut, creamy with a texture similar to that of a traditional lentil curry, so the name. You can pair it with breads made from flours used for fasting or fasting rice like sama ke chawal (barnyard millets). For my friends who are not celebrating Navratri I would strongly recommend that you try the Chironji Ki Dal, as it makes for a very delicious curry which complements, vegetarian sides and flat breads, steamed rice etc. Lets have a look at the ingredients.
Chironji Ki Dal Recipe / Gluten Free Curry Made With Almond Flavoured Seeds Chironji / Navratri Recipe ~
Get Cooking Chironji Ki Dal With Me In Easy Steps ~
Chef Niru Gupta