Navratri is a festival of dance, worship and food. Navratri, literally means "nine nights". It is a festival celebrated for nine nights, though some people celebrate for eight days. The festival is considered to be one of the most important festivals of India. It is celebrated throughout the country but each region has its own specialty. Different varieties and special cuisine are made during Navratri celebration. Navratri is one such festival, where people keep fast on nine days. Again it depends on once convenience, some people fast on first and last day, or only the last day, and so on. Usually people eat fruits, yogurt, dry fruits, milk and some specific vegetables during the fasting days.

Navratri or Navrathra is a festival, which occurs five times a year. They are Vasanta Navratri, Ashadha Navratri, Sharad Navratri, Paush Navratri and Magha Navratri. However, Navratri festival is celebrated twice a year. Once in Spring season, which is called Chaitra Navratri or Vasant Navratri. This Navratri is dedicated to Mother Gauri or Parvati. This Navratri is also known as Ram Navratri as Lord Ram was born on the Nineth day of Chaitra. The second Navratri, which is celebrated during beginning of winter, is called Sharad Navratri. This Navratri is dedicated to Goddess 'Durga'. This Navratri is most popular and a significant one. In South India, this Navratri is celebrated by setting up of arrangement of idols and dolls, called 'Navratri Golu/Kolu' or ' Bombegalu' or 'Bommala Koluvu'. The tenth day of Sharad Navratri is celebrated as 'Dussera/dasera or 'Vijayadashami'.

Navratri is related to the period of transition of one weather to another, i.e., from winter to summer (Spring) and from Summer to Winter (the Autumn). During this period of transition, our immunity tends to get low and we are more prone to be be infected by viruses and bacteria. Due to the changes in the nature, the bodies and minds of people undergo a considerable change. These two periods or junctions are taken as opportunities for detoxification of body, mind and soul,  which in turn helps to maintain our physical and mental balance. The change in food habits helps us to achieve healthy lifestyle. Therefore, in this transition period the fasting is one of the proven way to keep the balance in human life cycle. In a spiritual sense, these nine days are considered most auspicious for prayers, offerings, meditation and   beginning of new things.

The Navratri fasting is done in various ways in different regions. In Southern India, People usually prepare food without onions and garlic. Generally, they serve the boiled and spiced pulses. They also prepare a variety of sweets. In Northern India, people are little particular about food and, its a custom to eat only once in a day, and that too specific items, such as cucumber, fruits, potato, Water Caltrop/Singhara, Buckwheat/Kuttu, Gorgon Nut/Makhane, Sago/Sabudana, Rajgira (Amaranth flour) and dry fruitsFor these special days, people eat rock salt/sendha namak, instead of regular salt. People do not eat any lentils, rice or wheat, spices etc. 

Rock Salt

Sendha namak (Rock Salt) is used for fasts because of its purity. This salt is less salty than the regular one and has less amount of sodium and it is not iodized either. While regular table salt/sea salt comes from sea, sendha namak comes from mountain rocks and there is usually little chemical treatment. 

Buckwheat flour (Kuttu)

Kuttu (Buckwheat) is a plant cultivated for its grain-like seeds, and also used as a cover crop. Despite the name, buckwheat is not related to wheat, as it is not a grass. Since it is not a cereal and so considered acceptable for consumption during Hindu fasting days. The preparation of buckwheat flour varies across IndiaIn most of northern and western states, buckwheat flour is called kuttu ka atta


Makhane is an aquatic crop, known as Gorgon Nut or Fox Nut. It is an highly nutritious, fully organic non-cereal food, which is extensively grown in the stagnant water of wetlands, tanks, ponds lakes and ditches. 

Sago (Saboodhana)

Sago (Sabudana)  is a starch extracted in the spongy center, or pith, of various tropical palm stems, especially Metroxylon sagu.  A type of flour, called sago flour, is made from sago. 

Water Caltrop (Singhare)

Singhare (Water Caltrop) is also known as paniphal (eastern India) and is widely cultivated in fresh water lakes. The fruits are eaten raw or boiled. When the fruit has been dried, it is ground to a flour called singhare ka atta

Amaranth (Rajgira)

Amaranth (Rajgira flour) is derived from the seeds of the amaranth plant. The grain can also be popped in a similar way to popcorn or used as flakes. There are three species of amaranth grain plants. Other species of amaranth plants do not produce grain, but are weeds and other plants. A common feature of amaranth grain plants is a crimson color.

Recipes during Navrathri include, Kuttu ki puri (Buckwheat pancakes) and Kuttu pakoras (potato slices dipped in buckwheat flour and deep fried in oil), Sabudana vada, Sabudana tikki, Sabudana kichdi, Sabudana kheer, Aloo tikki, Aloo Sabudana tikki, Sabudana papad, Aloo zeera, Posto aloo (Khus Khus), Aloo chat with yogurt, Fruit chat, Fruits with yogurt dressing, Singhare poori, Singhare halwa, Rosogolla, Misti Doi (sweet yogurt), Carrot kheer, and many more.

Recipes for Navrathri are detailed below:

Zeera Aloo

Aloo Zeera


1. Potatoes - 3 to 4 nos.
2. Cumin seeds/zeera - 3 to 4 tsp.
3. Green Chillies - 2 to 3
4. Coriander leaves - handful
5. Rock Salt/Senda Namak
6. Oil - 2 tsp

Cooking Method:

1.  Cut potato into cubes and place it in the water.

2. Roast the cumin seeds and powder them coarsely. Chop the green chillies.

3. Heat oil in the pan and add potatoes to it. Keep it covered and stirring it occasionally.

4. Once the potatoes are half boiled add salt and keep it covered again.

5. Once the potatoes are done, add powdered cumin seeds and chopped green chillies. Give it a thorough stir. Add coriander leaves.

6. The Aloo zeera tastes good with plain yogurt, during fasting days.

Sabudana Kichdi (Sago dish)

sabudana kichdi


1. Potatoes - 2 medium size
2. Sago (Sabuodana) - 1 cup (medium Size granules)
3. Ground nuts - 1/4 cup
4. Green chillies - 2 nos.
5. Chilly powder - 1/2 tsp.
6. Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp. (optional)
7. Ghee/oil - 2 tbsp.
8. Rock salt/sendha namak as per taste

Cooking Method:

1. Clean and soak the sago granules in water overnight. The water should not be more, just till the granules immersed. If the water is more then the granules will get sticky. The sago granules will be swelled up. 

2. Roast the groundnuts and then take out the skin. 

3. Cut the potatoes into smaller sizes and chop the green chillies.

4. Heat ghee in a pan and add cumin seeds, and then add potatoes and keep it covered until it becomes tender.

5. Add the sago pearls to it and give it a stir. Add rock salt, chopped green chillies, chilly powder. Finally add the roasted groundnuts and give it a complete stir. After adding the sago pearls, do not cover the pan with the lid. Otherwise it might get sticky.

6. The sabudana Kichdi is ready, and before serving, you can squeeze some lemon juice on it enjoy with yogurt.

Sabudana Vada  (Sago Cutlets)

sabudana vada


1. Sago (Sabudana) - 1 cup (medium Size granules)
2. Groundnuts - 1/4 cup
3. Boiled potato - 1 no.
4. Cumin seeds - 1 tsp.
5. Green chillies - 2 nos.
6. Chilly powder - 1/2 tsp.
7. coriander leaves - 1/2 cup 
8. Rock/sendha namak as per taste
9. Oil for frying

Cooking Method:

1. Clean and soak the sago granules in water overnight. The water should not be more, just till the granules immersed. If the water is more then the granules will get sticky. The sago granules will be swelled up. 

2. Powder the raw groundnuts coarsely. Chop green chillies.

3. Mix with the sago granules, the powdered groundnuts, boiled potato, green chillies, cumin seeds, rock salt, coriander leaves and make the size of cutlets (just make a round lemon size and pat them). 

4. Deep fry the cutlets in the oil and serve these with mint dip/chutney or yogurt.

Note: The cutlets can also be shallow fried, and this would be called Sabudana Tikki.

Sabudana Kheer

sabudana kheer

After the 7 days of fast, on 8th or 9th day, in Northern India, people break the fast by practicing Kanya puja. On this day, nine young girls are invited in the houses and are feasted with Puri, channa ki sabzi and halwa/rice kheer. These girls are treated as nine forms of the Goddess and are honoured by washing their feet and putting tilak on their forehead. In Northern India, the halwa poori is distributed to devotees in the temple too whereas some people distribute this in a common place to the people as prasad.

ashtami poori halwa channa



1. Wheat flour - 1 cup
2. Salt (optional)
3. Oil 
4. Water to knead the dough

Cooking Method:

1. Take wheat flour and salt in a bowl and mix it.

2. Then heat one tbsp of oil and pour it in the flour. Once the oil cools down mix flour so that the oil get into evenly to the flour.

3. Add water to the flour and make a stiff dough. keep aside for 10 min.

4. Again knead the dough and make an equal lemon size balls and flatten it using the rolling pin. Do not flatten too thin. Roll out all the same way and keep aside.

5. Heat oil in the bottomed pan and once hot, slide the flattened dough into it and fry both sides.

6. Remove it and place it on a paper namkin and the pooris are ready.


Kala Chana (Black Chickpea)


1. Black Chickpea/kala chana - 1/2 cup
2. Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp.
3. Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp.
4. Green chillies - 2 nos.
5. Amchur (optional) - 1 tsp.
5. Salt to Taste

Cooking Method:

1. Soak the Black chickpea/kala chana overnight.

2. Pressure cook the chana till it becomes soft.

3. Once steam is released, open the lid and cook for another 5 min adding salt.

4. Once done seperate the water and channa, and use the water for soup.

5. Do the tempering/seasoning for channa by heating up the oil in a pan and adding mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chopped green chillies. 

kala channa



1. Semolina/Rava - 1 glass
2. Sugar - 1 glass (same measurement as that of Rava)
3. Ghee/clarified butter - 1/2 glass
4. Nuts (almonds, cashews and raisns) - 1/4 cup
5. Cardamom powder

Cooking Method:

1. Roast the Rava in a pan until u get the flavour and change the colour slightly. Then add little ghee to it and once again roast it till the ghee evenly mixed with the rava.

2. Shift the rava to the bowl and mix the sugar to it and keep it aside.

3. Again in the same pan, heat the ghee and roast the nuts and add water to it (For one glass of rava add two and half glass of water).

4. Once the water starts boiling, mix the rava with sugar to it and keep stirring until all the water is absorbed and the ghee starts to leave in the sides.

5. The plain halwa is ready to be served and relished.


1. Instead of water, even milk can be used to make the halwa more rich.
2. On normal days, one can add saffron for the colour.

The ninth day of the Navratri is called Maha Navami. It is the final day of Navratri celebrations. It is also called Sri Rama Navami, since it is celebrated in memory of the birth of Lord Rama and also celebrated as the marriage day of Sri Ram and Sita. In South India, people celebrate this day by decorating the idol of Lord Ram with different flowers and the temples are decorated with lights. On this particular day the devotees are served with Panak, Buttermilk and Cucumber salad. The recipes for this is elaborated below. People make these recipes at home too and consumed as prasad and been served to the guests too on this particular day.

ram navmi (navrathri)

Panak / Panaka / Panakam

1. Jaggery - 1 cup
2. Water - 7 to 8 glasses
3. Musk Melon - 1/2 cup
4. Lime juice - 3 tbsp.
5. Cardomom Powder - 1/4 tsp.


1. Soak Jaggery in the water until the jaggery dissolves completely.

2. Strain the water to discard any impurities if any.

3. Mash the musk melon into the jaggery water and add lemon juice to it.

4. Finally add cardamom powder and serve chilled.

panak panakam, panaka

Instead of jaggery, even sugar can be used or combine both.

Cucumber Salad

1. Cucumber - 1 nos.
2. Split Green gram/moong dal - 1/4 cup
3. Carrot - 1 no.
4. Green Chilly - 2 no.
5. Curry leaves - 3 to 4 leaves.
6. Mustard seeds - 1 tsp.
7. Red chilly - 1 to 2 nos.
8. Corainder leaves - handful
9. Oil - 1 tsp.
10. Fresh coconut grated - 3 tbsp.


1. Soak the split green gram for an hour in the water.

2. Once soaked, discard the water and take only the green gram into the bowl.

3. Chop the cucumber, and grate the carrots and add into the same bowl.

4. Finally do the tempering/seasoning, by heating the oil  in a pan and adding to it mustard seeds, curry leaves and whole red chilly.

5. Sprinkle the coriander leaves and fresh coconut after the tempering done. When ready to serve then add salt otherwise the cucumber will leave out water and becomes soggy.

cucumber salad (kosambari)

1. Other than pooja days, in this cucumber salad, while doing tempering/seasoning, one can add a pinch of asafoetida in the oil after the mustard seeds splutter. It gives a good taste.

For the recipe of Buttermilk, click on the buttermilk link, as the recipe as been blogged previously.

This is the end of the journey of Navratri, the nine day festival celebrated differently in different parts of India. The rituals are different, the fastings are different, the celebrations are different but all means the same and accepted as one name, 'Navrathri' by the poeple of the same land.

Find more recipes click here:

1. Makhane ki kheer
2. Kayi Holige
3. Kesri Bhath or Rava Kesari