However, just as the arrival of Maa Durga is important so is her mode of transport for arrival as well as departure (on the day of Vijaya Dusshmi). Her arrival and departure are considered very significant as her mode of transport on both days indicates the fate of the days ahead. Navratri represents harvest, happiness, health, prosperity and wealth.
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Her vahans or modes of transport are considered to be indications or omens. Maa Durga arrives on – Elephant, Horse, Palanquin, Boat or a Buffalo. Which mode will be used for arrival and departure is decided based on the day of the week or on the day of Ghatsthapna and Vijaya Dusshmi, i.e. the first day and the last day. In 2017, Maa Durga arrives on an Elephant and departs on a Horse.
This is because Navratri begins on a Sunday or a Monday; it means she will arrive on an elephant. And because she departs on a Tuesday, she will leave on a Horse.
Maa’s arrival on an elephant or Gaja indicates prosperity and good harvest season. While her departure or journey back home on a Horse or an Ashwa or Turang vahan, indicates grave drought. If she departs on a Palanquin or Palkhi, it signifies widespread epidemics and if she leaves on a boat, it is an indication of floods and misery among people.
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If Maa Durga chooses to use the same mode of transport for arrival and departure, for e.g. a horse, then it signifies social unrest, political incidents and natural calamities.