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Shardiya Navratri, Durga Puja
Shardiya Navratri is the most popular and significant Navratri of all Navratris. That’s why Shardiya Navratri is also known as Maha Navratri. It falls in lunar month Ashwin during Sharad Ritu. The name Shardiya Navratri has been taken from Sharad Ritu. All nine days during Navratri are dedicated to nine forms of Goddess Shakti. Shardiya Navratri falls in the month of September or October. The nine days festivity culminates on tenth day with Dussehra or Vijaya Dashami.
2014 Shardiya Navratri Ghatasthapana
Ghatasthapana is one of the significant rituals during Navratri. It marks the beginning of nine days festivity. Our scriptures have well defined rules and guidelines to perform Ghatasthapana during a certain period of time at the beginning of Navratri. Ghatasthapana is invocation of Goddess Shakti and doing it wrong time, as our scriptures forewarn, might bring wrath of the Goddess Shakti. Ghatasthapana is prohibited during Amavasya and night time.
The most auspicious or Shubh time to do Ghatasthapana is first one third of the day while Pratipada is prevailing. If due to some reasons this time is not available then Ghatasthapana can be done during Abhijit Muhurta. It is advised to avoid Nakshatra Chitra and Vaidhriti Yoga during Ghatasthapana but those are not prohibited. The most important factor to consider is that Ghatasthapana is done before Hindu midday while Pratipada is prevailing.
The Story Behind Durga Puja
Navratri is a celebration of the victory of good over evil ,with several variations of the tradition all over India. Durga Puja specifically celebrates the victory of the goddess Durga over the bull demon Mahishasura. According to legend, Durga was summoned by the gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, to defeat the demon, who had set out to conquer the world. To help her win the battle, each of the major Hindu gods gave Durga weapons and other objects to assist her. Durga went into battle mounted on a lion and on the tenth day of the battle, she finally killed the demon. Navratri commemorates the nine days and nights of the battle between good and evil, but Durga Puja is celebrated only on the last five days, when according to legend, Durga leaves her heavenly abode to visit earth each year. Durga Puja attracts many visitors from all over India as well as foreign tourists, but the festival is especially popular among the people of West Bengal. The festival is a special occasion for Bengali families to come together from all over the country and celebrate with their relatives and communities.
Navdurga Navratri Puja- The nine forms of Goddess Durga worshiped during Navratri
1. Shailputri (Daughter of Mountain)
Goddess Shailputri is the first among the nine forms of Durga. Goddess Shailputri is worshipped on the first day of Navratri. The word 'Shail' means mountains and 'Putri' means daughter, thus the name as Goddess Shailputri is the daughter of the King of the Mountains Himalaya.
Goddess Brahamcharini is the second among the nine forms of Durga. Goddess Brahamcharini is worshipped on the second day of Navratri. The word Brahamcharini means the one who observes penance (tapa). Goddess Brahamcharini personifies love, loyalty, wisdom and knowledge. Rudraksha beads are Goddess Brahamcharini most adored ornaments.
Goddess Chandraghanta is the third among the nine forms of Durga. Goddess Chandraghanta is worshipped on the third day of Navratri. The word Chandraghanta means knowledge, bliss, peace and serenity. Goddess Chandraghanta is depicted with a half-circular moon on her forehead.
Goddess Kushmanda is the fourth among the nine forms of Durga. Goddess Kushmanda is worshipped on the fourth day of Navratri. The abode of Goddess Kushmanda is the Bhimaparvat. Goddess Kushmanda is depicted with eight arms holding weapons and a mala (rosary).
5. Skanda Mata
Goddess Skanda Mata is the fifth among the nine forms of Durga. Goddess Skanda is worshipped on the fifth day of Navratri. Goddess Skanda Mata gets Her name as She is depicted holding Her son Skanda on her lap. It is believed that with blessings of Goddess Skanda Mata any individual can become an ocean of wisdom and knowledge.
Goddess Katyayani is the sixth among the nine forms of Durga. Goddess Katyayani is worshipped on the sixth day of Navratri. Legends go that once there was a sage named Kata; Sage Kata underwent hard penance and pleased Mother Goddess Durga. Goddess Durga granted the wish of Sage Kata and was born as Goddess Katyayani a daughter to Sage Kata.
7. Goddess Kaalratri
Goddess Kaalratri is the seventh among the nine forms of Durga. Goddess Kaalratri is worshipped on the seventh day of Navratri. Goddess Kaalratri is the destroyer of darkness, enemies and ignorance. Goddess Kaalratri is depicted with black (or blue) skin with bountiful hair and 4 hands, Her vehicle is a faithful donkey.
8. Goddess Maha Gauri:
Goddess Maha Gauri is the eighth among the nine forms of Durga. Goddess Maha Gauri is worshipped on the eighth day of Navratri. Goddess Maha Gauri has the fairest complexion among all forms of Durga. Goddess Maha Gauri radiates peace and compassion and is often depicted riding a bull.
9. Goddess Siddhidatri
Goddess Siddhidatri is the ninth among the nine forms of Durga. Goddess Siddhidatri is worshipped on the ninth day of Navratri. Goddess Siddhidatri is the grantor of 26 different wishes and eight Siddhis to Her devotees. Goddess Siddhidatri is depicted with four arms, ensconced in a lotus.