Saturday marks the beginning of nine vibrant days of festivities in India. Navratri or Durga Puja is a festival spread over a span of nine days, celebrating the victory of goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura. Navratri holds a high mythological importance for Indians and is celebrated with much pomp in the country every year. But, do you know Navratri was once celebrated in the Commonwealth Games as well?
Yes, you read that right. The festival of Navratri was celebrated in the global event with journalists and athletes from more than 70 countries participating. This historic event took place during the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in Delhi when the festival fell during the scheduled game days.
The athletes were greeted with the traditional 'tilak' or vermilion to mark the beginning of the festival. All the arrangements were made for players to enjoy the festival inside the Commonwealth Games village. The athletes were also treated to the traditional Dandiya performance by various dance troupes from across the country as a part of the daily cultural programme.
The 2010 Commonwealth Games also saw Indian sufi singers Zila Khan and Kailash Kher come together to perform during the closing ceremony amidst the Navratri celebrations. Coincidentally this was also the first time that Kher and Khan were performing together.
Other than these, the athletes were also taken to cultural hotspots like Dilli Haat in the city. The foreign athletes engaged in 'mehandi' and were also seen buying bangles and 'colourful dupattas'. English version of the Hindu epic Ramayana was also distributed among players and journalists during the Navratri celebrations.
Much like the Navratri celebrations, the 2010 Commonwealth Games was also a huge success and the foreign players and journalists were given a good taste of the Indian culture and its festivities.