Bolton’s first Navratri festival is in full swing.
The nine day festival of music and dance is a time for Hindus to worship Durga, the female form of the divine and her nine forms.
Manu Mistry, Chair of Bolton Hindu Forum, said: “The event has the potential to make our town a destination for the Hindu community to come from other surrounding cities to celebrate.
“We want the wider community to join in too, everyone is welcome. We want to host Diwali in Victoria Square later this month and are putting together plans to make that happen.
“The nearest place to rival us is Leicester in the Midlands, there’s no reason that Bolton can’t be the destination for the North West.”
Navratri, which is Sanskrit for “nine nights”, is sometimes know as Durga Puja, where puja, or pooja, is the act of worship or a prayer ritual.
Durga is said to have been created by the Gods to defeat the demon, Mahishasura. The demon wanted to marry Durga because of her beauty, but she would only accept if he defeated her in battle.
The pair fought for nine days and nine nights, with Durga killing the evil, buffalo-headed Mahishasura on the tenth day.
The festival is observed in many ways, each unique to the region of India it is celebrated in.
In Gujarat, the event is celebrated with nine nights of dancing as a form of respect and worship.
Many people also fast or observe a special diet during the festival.
Most regions will celebrate all nine forms of Durga, with a night dedicated to each form.
The nine forms include Shailaputri, the daughter of the mountain, and Skandamata, mother of the war God – Skanda.
During Navratri, the creative power of the Goddess is personified through figures such as Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and purity, and Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge and art.
The festival will continue until Monday October 7 in the Market Place, at the former Next store.
Each day will start festivities at 7pm and finish at midnight.
A variety of stalls will be available alongside the dancing and music.
Tickets are £5 for weekend events, and £3 for weekdays.
Go to Bolton Hindu Forum’s Facebook page for more details.