HUNDREDS of worshippers have been celebrating the biggest festival in the Hindu calendar.

Navratri is celebrated in different styles by different Hindu communities.

The Vedic Society celebrates for nine days, culminating tonight from 8pm with a sacrificial fire and religious ceremony under the instruction of the Vedic Society Hindu Temple’s priest, Ritesh Bhatt.

The first three days are dedicated to the goddess Durga, destroyer of evil, followed by three days of reverence to goddess Laxmi, goddess of wealth, and the final three days are dedicated to the goddess of knowledge, Saraswati.

So far, the temple’s community hall in Southampton city centre has seen traditional dance and entertainment from Gujarati singer, Vinod Patel, who has received a prestigious award from the Gujarat state government.

The Bengali community is in the midst of a three-day festival of dancing, music and drama staged at the Hilt in Hiltingbury Recreation Ground in Chandler’s Ford, honouring the goddess Durga.

The Mayor of Eastleigh, Malcolm Cross, and children from nearby schools, including a class from Otterbourne Primary School will join up to 700 people in their celebrations, from 11.30am-8pm today.

The Vedic Society has also welcomed hundreds of guests from both the Hindu and wider community throughout the nine-day festival.