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download201ALLAHABAD: Chanting Jai Mata Di, holding coconuts, flowers, bangles and red chunnis in their hands, a large number of devotees on Friday thronged goddess Durga temples on the first day of Navaratra. Long queues of devotees were seen at the temples including Khemamai, Kalyani Devi, Alopibagh and Lalita Devi. 

The idols of goddess Durga were all decked up with colourful streamers and flowers. "We have been visiting Kalyani Devi temple for years to get blessings from Maa. We offered prayers, coconuts and a chunni," said Santosh, a resident of Dhoomanganj. 

He added "we have also been observing fast and following all rituals for years". The festival is also known for fasting and irrespective of age, devotees survive on fruits, curd, milk and dishes made of water chestnut flour and swang rice. Rock salt replaces the normal salt for those who are fasting. 

Meanwhile, restaurants and sweet shops across the city too have come with Navratri thalis for those observing nine-day fasting. "A Navratri thali usually consists of kuttu ki roti/puri, fried potatoes, swang ke chawal, saboodana ki tikki or khichdi, kheer, saboodana papad and pakodas," said Anupam Mishra, a devotee. The police have made elaborate security arrangements with strict vigil being kept near temples.

source:times of india

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