Its Durga Ashtami. With festive mood in full gear, a large number of devotees could be seen hopping from one Durga Puja pandal to another in the state. However, the impact of COVID 19 pandemic is visible as set of restrictions are imposed.
The auspicious festival of Durga Puja celebrates the victory of good over evil. With food stalls prohibited and restrictions on the number of devotees, Durga Puja this year is a sombre affair in Meghalaya.
The committees have kept celebrations low profile due to the pandemic, No sitting down and partaking of Prasad are allowed as there.
As many as 261 community and private pandals are there all across the state which includes 127 in Khasi Hills, 12 in Jaintia Hills and 122 in Garo Hills.
In Shillong, a total of 60 community pandals are there besides six private organisers holding the celebrations separately.
Following proper SoPs, the Puja Committees made it mandatory for everyone to wear Masks and follow protocols.
Ashtami, in particular, is celebrated with a great passion and fervor in the state. The ten-armed goddess riding the lion is highly regarded as she symbolizes women Power.
Ashtami marks the eighth day of the festival and on this auspicious day. On this day, devotees in large numbers throng various temples to offer prayers.
It is believed that Maha Ashtami sees the worship of the Chamunda incarnation of Goddess Shakti. It is believed that during Goddess Durga’s epic battle with Mahishasur, the goddess had killed demons Chanda, Munda, and Raktabija on Ashtami.
The 64 Yoginis and Ashta Shakti or matrikas (the eight ferocious form of Goddess Durga) are worshiped during the Durga Puja rituals on Mahashtami. The Ashta Shakti, also known as Eight Shaktis, are interpreted differently in different regions of India. But ultimately, all the eight goddesses are incarnations of Shakti. They are the same powerful Divine Feminine, representing different energies.
The Ashta Shakti worshiped during Durga Puja are Brahmani, Maheswari, Kaumari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Narasinghi, Indrani and Chamunda.