Mumbai: By the time Kiran Vinay Tiwari reached Mumbadevi Temple, she had an abrasion on her leg. However, that did not stop her from visiting the temple she had come to see all the way from Nallasopara. The first day of Navratri saw devotees going the extra mile to seek the blessings of the Mother Goddess.
"We went to Siddhivinayak Temple first because the mother has said that before any God, Ganesh-ji should be worshiped. We have grown up having a devotion to the Mother Goddess and hence we feel that during Navratri, we should come and seek her blessings. If we do not come, then future generations will not come. We need to preserve our culture,” said Tiwari, adding that she went to the Mahalakshmi Temple earlier to seek the blessings of the Mother Goddess.
Temple hopping was done by many despite having to go through and waiting periods and standing in serpentine queues. “We went to three temples,” said Asha Wanjiwale who had come from Titwala with her friend. They first visited the Jari Mari Temple in Worli, then the Mahalakshmi Temple and finally came to Mumbadevi. “I have been doing this since 1993. We always make it a point to visit the temple during Navratri,” she said.
Some like Raghunath Singh Thakur came barefoot to the temple. Thakur said it is something he does every Navratri and on each of the nine days. “Coming to Mother gives me peace of mind. She helps us with progress and prosperity,” said Thakur who lost his job during Covid and now works in a gym.
Temples devoted to Mother Goddesses said thousands of people had already visited and the scenario is likely to be no different for the coming days of the festival. “The temple opens at 5 am and shuts at 10 pm. There is nothing different that is done for Navratri, but the flow of people taking darshan is continuous,” said an official from Mahalakshmi Temple.
Officials from the Mumbadevi Temple said that it had seen 25,000 people visit till late afternoon on the first day, while the temple was glittering post renovations. The Kalbadevi Temple, which is also frequented by many, had a 'Kalash' installed for Navratri. “The temple does not do anything special. We have people take darshan. On the last day people do come with their Kalash before going for Visarjan,” said an official.
Besides taking darshan, some indulged in providing service in the name of the Mother Goddess, through water stalls, managing queues and keeping footwear in place, among other deeds. “I help the police whenever they have asked me to do so,” said SK Ved who helped in maintaining the flow and disbursal of the crowd at the entry and exit points.