In today’s fast-moving world, as we have done to most things, we’ve also adapted tradition and customs when it comes to fasting. Fasting is the act of willingly abstaining from the consumption of food and fluids, for a period of time. Largely a religious duty, we may fast for personal discipline and spiritual energy, or as a form of self-mortification, or to follow tradition. However, the modern interpretation of a fast is not abstaining from food; instead, it involves ingesting reduced quantities of food. Some fasts are limited to a single large meal or two smaller meals with no solid food between, and many religions ask for a prohibition against meat.

The end of March this year marks an important religious festival – the Navratras.  Lent and Ramadan, the other two religious festivals that focus on fasting rituals occur almost at the same time – bringing an alternative insight to the period of abstinence being strikingly similar to the lean periods in agriculture!

The Navratras celebrate the movement of winter to spring, and at the same time ask for the protection of the Goddess Devi, banisher of any negativity that may fall upon us. The Hindu term “vrata” is a religious practice that includes certain obligations, one of which can be complete or partial fasting. Like all fasts, there are rules that must be followed - one must remain clean, be celibate, be honest, practice forbearance, be vegetarian, and perform rituals. Moving from winter to spring features an excess of the Vata elements, wind and space, according to Ayurveda, and these elements lower immunity. As such encouraging a clean eating habit that removes toxins and allows for a pure or sattvic constitution is of prime importance. 

Featured till April 5 at Peshwa Pavilion, ITC Maratha invites you to indulge in a special thali to celebrate the Navratras and explore how a meal brings new meaning and insight to the philosophy of life.