Festive rites: Navratri festival in India

Devotees donning the ornate costume of Hindu deity Lord Hanuman in a colourful procession on Monday to mark the nine-day Navratri festival in the city of Amritsar in Punjab, India.

Some worshippers gather during the Hindu festival to praise Lord Hanuman for the fulfilment of wishes - especially for the birth of a son - during the event.

Those devotees whose wishes have been fulfilled may also bring children dressed as langurs (long-tailed monkeys) to give thanks.

The festival, which kicked off last Thursday, traditionally sees worshippers pay tribute to the goddess Durga and her nine avatars, one for each day of the celebration.

It is also a commemoration of the victory of good over evil and the goddess' defeat of the demon king Mahishasura.

In some regions of India, it is a time of reflection and fasting. For others, it is a time for dancing and feasting.

Almost 80 per cent of India's population identify as Hindu, making the festival an important event in the national calendar.

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