For the past nine years, the Goud Saraswat Brahmins (GSB) community in Dahisar, Borivali have been celebrating Navratri by creating nine different looks of the goddess through the 11 days. However, in a bid to be truly traditional, the GSB community will organise 11 avatars of the goddess. They will include Saraswati Devi, Annapoorna Devi, Shantadurga Devi, Vaishnav Devi, Chamundeshwari, Vijaydurga Devi, Mahalaxmi Devi, Durgaparmeshwari Devi, Mahakali Devi, Chandika Devi and Sharada Devi.

Talking about this change in the cultural look, Uday Padiyar, General Secretary, GSB Sabha Dahisar – Borivali, said, “There is one pandal in Mangalore that organises this kind of Navratri. We took our sculptor to see the technique and then he created same idol for ourselves because we really liked the idea.”

The avatars have been created by the artist and the members of the GSB Sabha. Veteran sculptor Rajan Patkar (56) has been sculpting the 20ft idol for a very long time. In 2016, around a 100 props will be used to change the different avatars of the goddess for 11 days. The murti will also be given a backdrop, costumes and décor make-over.

The idol is traditionally adorned with a golden crown and silver arch (prabhavali) created at Udupi (Karnataka).

“It takes us eight to nine hours to change the décor everyday which is why we start at midnight. On the first day of setting up the backdrop, the Annapurna Goddess is set around a décor of almost 100kgs of vegetable. The same vegetables are used to make prasad the next day by the Sabha members. When we change the Goddess’s avatar to Mahakali, we even have to change the tone of her skin. We light up the entire pandal with 10000 diyas on Deepotsav, which is the same day that she takes up this fierce avatar. We call it the ‘Mahakali Avataar’. All electric lights are switched off for an hour.”

The GSB community is the only organisation in Maharashtra that creates these different avatars of the goddess on all 11 days to celebrate the festival in a truly traditional way.

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