Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Back In Fort For Navaratri After Decades

Ambe Mata ki jai !

This is our Amba mata from my Fort neighborhood. After marriage I have tried to take my husband to the different places I grew up in. When I expressed my desire to go for darshan to Fort he suggested if it is about darshan he can take me to a near by pandal. I explained to him that for me Navaratri meant Fort and that my Amba mata is eco-friendly, unlike today's gaudy statues made in environmentally harmful material. Our Mataji is beautifully crafted in silver. She rides the tiger yet smiles benevolently.

This time I reached the shamiyana at about past 9.30pm expecting a garba in progress. To my surprise there was a deserted look. A few kids sitting there were tending to the agarbattis and replenishing the continously burning lamp oil. It was a mixed feeling, I felt blessed to get a peaceful darshan yet was missing the vibrancy of the crowd. Memories of fancy dress and other talent shows came rushing. I did not recollect the aarti immediately as I am not in touch now with the singing but what I remembered very clearly the chanting of Jai Ambe! Jai Bhavani!! when Mataji was moved back into the temple at the end of Navaratri.

Fort is now 90% a business district which gets cold and empty after office hours. Back until the 80s-90s it was a hub where the majority Gujaratis and Parsis still inhabited. Most have sold off their homes which have been taken up by small and big businesses. So there is funding for the Navaratri but its lost its life, people do still visit for darshan from their subarban homes during the 9 days though. Miss all the fun.

Here is an old post recounting memories of Fort and Navaratri. It also shows the different ways in which Navaratri is celebrated across India.

Those who wish to take darshan of Ambe mata can still do until Kojagiri Pournima in the outside pandal and all the year round in the temple.

Here is the permanent address:

Ram Dev Peer Mandir, Maruthi cross Ln, Borabazar Precinct, Fort, Mumbai 400001. 
Landmark: Behind Handloom house.

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