Shekhawati University,Sikar

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Navratri Puja Festival Celebrations

Navratri Puja Festival Celebrations

The word Navaratri literally means nine nights in Sanskrit; 'Nav'– Nine and 'Ratri' – nights.
Navratri is a Hindu festival celebrated for nine days worshipping the various forms of Durga.
'Nava-ratri' is one of the most important Hindu festivals in the country.  It is celebrated with immense zeal and enthusiasm all over the country. 
Navratri Puja Festival Celebrations

Traditions of Navaratri

According to Hindu calender year, Navaratri is celebrated five times in a year: 
They are:--

(A) Magha (or) Shishir Navratri(January–February)(gupt navratri)

(B) Vasant (or) Chaitra Navratri(March–April)(prakat navratri)

(C) Ashaadh (or) Varsha Ritu Navratri(June–July)(gupt navratri)

(D) Sharad (or) Ashwin Navratri,  (September–October)  (prakat navratri)

(E) Paush Navratri(December-January)  (gupt navratri)

These are further divided into Prakat and Gupt Navaratri. 
From the above mentioned Navaratri,  

Vasant and Sharad Navratri are Prakat Navaratri; 
while Magha, Ashadh and Paush Navaratri are called Gupt Navaratri.
Though Ashwin Navratri and the Vasanta Navratri of the Chaitra are very important and known to everyone, the other three navratras are known as gupt navratra are equally significant and are meant for sadhaks. 

(A) Magha Navaratri:   

Magha Navratri, (also referred Gupta Navratri), is nine days dedicated to Goddess Saraswati Devi in the month of Magha (January–February).  Magha Navaratri is observed during the Magha Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of moon). Magha navratri puja act as a shield from danger, injury, destruction or damage and person obtains riddhi & siddhi.These are very auspicious days for the tantriks, sadhaks for saadhna and also for any other specific tantrik pooja to resolve the materialistic problems.

Magha Navratri, also known as Gupta Navratri, is nine days period dedicated to the nine forms of Shakti or mother Goddess. It falls in the month of Magh during January or February. Magh Navratri, which is less known in most places, is mainly observed in North Indian states like Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. 


(B) Vasanta (or)Basanta (or)Vasantic (or) Chaitra Navratras (or)Ram Navratras:-

This is the festival of nine days dedicated to the nine forms of Shakti (Mother Goddess) in the spring season  (March–April). It is celebrated in Chaitra lunar month during Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of moon). 


(C) Ashadha or Gayatri or Shakambhari Navratri (Gupt Navratri), is nine days dedicated to the nine forms of Shakti (Mother Goddess) in the month of Ashaadh (June–July). It is observed during Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of moon).


(D) Sharada Navaratri: This is the most important of the Navratris. It is simply called Maha Navratri (the Great Navratri) and is celebrated in the month of Ashwin. Also known as Sharad Navaratri, as it is celebrated during Sharad (Ashwin lunar month, beginning of winter, September– October).


(E) Paush Navaratri: Paush (Pushya) Navratri is nine days dedicated to Goddess Shakambari Mata in the month of Paush (December–January). Paush Navaratri is observed during the Paush Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of moon). 

Navratri in Temple :

Special Shata Chandi Homam, Abhishekam, Alankaram, Suvasini puja, Kanya puja, Laksharchanai and Aarti will be held in temples.
Veda Parayanam, Lalitha Sahasranamam, Sri Devi Mahatmayam, Sri Devi Bhagavatam, Abhirami Andhathi and other hymns of goddess will be chanted, sung and read with great devotion.
It is celebrated twice a year -once in Chaitra (March-April) and the other in Ashwin (September-October). Navartra literally means 'nine auspicious nights'. It is actually the worship of the Goddess of power in order to seek her protection from any possible kind of threat and calamities that may destroy the peaceful life of people on earth. As she is the goddess of power, she is believed to have the power of creation, preservation and destruction. 
The beginning of spring and the beginning of autumn are two very important junctions of climatic and solar influence. These two periods are taken as sacred opportunities for the worship of the Divine Mother. The dates of the festival are determined according to the lunar calendar.

Vasanta (or)Basanta (or)Vasantic (or) Chaitra Navratras (or)Ram

This is celebrated during Vasanta Rhitu (beginning of summer) (March- April). This is also known as Chaitra navaratri as it falls during the lunar month of Chaitra.

** The Nine Days Navaratri Celebrations and rituals are similar in Chaitra Navaratras as well as Sharad Navaratras.

Navaratri is separated into sets of three days i.e. into three sets. These sets are made in order to adore different facets of the supreme goddess.

* Goddess Durga is worshipped during the first three days.
* Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped during the next three days
* Goddess Saraswathi is worshipped during the last three days.

She is also worshipped under nine different names for the nine days in Navratri. Every day, she assumes a new character, a new look and a new duty. She is worshipped as ---

1. Shailputri,
2. Brahmacharini,
3. Chandraghanta,
4. Kushmanda,
5. Skanda Mata,
6. Katyayani,
7. Kalratri,
8. Maha Gauri and
9. Siddhidatri.


The first form of Goddess Durga is called Shailputri . 

She is considered  the daughter of the Himalayas (King of the Mountain). She is a form of
Shakti, the consort of Lord Shiva.She is the mother of Ganesha and Kartikeya.


2. Second Day Navratra Pooja

The second form of Goddess Durga is known as 'Brahmacharini'. 

Her name is  derivative of the word 'Brahma', which means 'Tapa' or penace. She is also a form of Uma or Parvati, a form of Mata Shakti.She gives the message of pure love to the world;

On the third day the goddess is worshipped as Chandraghanta. 

She is the  symbolic representation of beauty and bravery. She establishes Justice and wears crescent moon on Her head;

Kushmanda, is the form of the goddess which is worshipped on the fourth  day.

It is believed that Kushmanda has created the entire Universe by her laugh. She provides the basic necessities to the world.

On the fifth day, the form of Goddess is called Skand Mata. 

She is  actually called so because she is here represented as the mother of Skanda, the chief warrior of the Gods army. She gives the gift of differentiation of right from wrong to the world.

On the sixth day, the goddess is worshipped as Katyayani. 

Seated on her vehicle lion, Katyayani has three eyes and four hands.She persistently battles against the evil and deceitful entities.

On the seventh day, the Goddess is worshipped as 'Kalratri'.

As the name suggests, Kalrati is as black as a dark night. She has four hands, she is meant to make the devotees fearless.She killed Raktabeej ( a demon who produced a demon from every drop of blood that fell from his body. Goddess eventually licked the blood before it could reach the ground and hence conquered him).

On the eight day, the Mata Rani is worshipped as 'Maha Gauri'. 
She is considered to extremely beautiful, white like snow and accessorized with white colored ornaments. She represents calmness and exhibits wisdom.She also liberates the world of evil forces;

On the ninth day, Durga is worshipped as Siddhidatri. 
It is believed she consists of all the eight siddhis. She lives on lotus and is worshipped by all the Rishis-Munis, Siddhas, Sadhakas and Yogis. She is a treasure house of Mystic Powers (Yantra Tantra) and Knowledge (Gyaan).


*- Picture or image of Ma Durga
*- Durga Sapthashati
*- Fresh water in a kalash, mango leaves, coconut
*- Roli (Vermillion), moli, Akshat (Rice), paan, betle nut (Supari)
*- Cloves, cardamom, sindoor, abir, gulal
*- Dhoop, deepak, matchsticks
*- Flowers
*- Fruits and sweets
*- Panchpatra with small spoon or achmani
*- Asan to sit

* Ghatasthapana-- Navratri rituals begin with planting barley or wheat kernels called Juwara in a bed of mud on the first day of Navratri. It is watered everyday all through the nine days of Navratri.

* Make a heap of wheat on a platform then a kalash filled with water and roli is placed over it. The kalash is wrapped with red cloth and Moli is tied around the kalash neck. A coconut is placed on the mouth of kalash and mango tree leaves are placed around the coconut.

* Now place Durga Ma image on the podium and worship with roli, rice, flowers, belpatr, sindoor, abhir and gulal. Offer sweets or complete meal to mother goddess.

* Light dhoop and Deepak in front of Ma and perform her aarti. Recite Durga Saptshati or Devi Kavach and Stuti for invoking protection by Devi.


* On the festive occasion of Navratri, fast is observed by people for seven or eight days, depending upon when they want to conduct the Kanchika Pujan (when young girls are worshipped). The devotees, who have observed fast, would get up early in the morning, take bath and offer prayers to the deity.

* People follow a specific diet for Navratri, if they haven't observed a nirjal (waterless) fast. Most people nowadays perform partial fasting.

* They would abstain from non-vegetarian food, alcohol and those dishes that are made of common salt or any kind of spice. Singhare ka atta (or) kuttu ka atta is used to prepare rotis or puris, for the fast.

* One may drink beverages like tea, coffee and milk, on Navratri.

* Dishes made of sago and potato is generally consumed by the people, when they observe fast on Navratri.

* Sendha namak (rock salt) is used instead of common salt, for cooking on the festival. All fruits and foodstuff made of fruits are eaten during the seven days. Nowadays, ready-to-eat snacks are available in the stores, especially prepared for Navratri.

* In addition to this, certain restaurants in the northern parts of India would offer special menu for the people, who have observed fast on Navratri.

* After seven days of fasting, people would break their fast on the eighth day - Ashtami - by worshipping young girls. The ritual of offering prasad to the young girls is called Kanchika Pujan or Kanjak.

* As per the tradition, puris (deep fried Indian bread), halwa (sweet dish made of suji) and Bengal gram are served to the young girls, called upon by the people who have observed fast.

* After seeking the blessings of the young girls (kanchikayen), the devotees would break their fast by consuming the prasad (puri, halwa and sabzi) that they have prepared for them.

* While this is the tradition followed by majority of people, Navratri fast is also broken on ninth day (Navami), wherein the fast is observed until Ashtami. The same procedure is followed in that case as well.



During the Navratra especially on the eighth day and ninth day, worship of small girl-child is customary. The girl child is worshipped with complete devotion, after purifying them by the chanting of mantras and she is made to seat on a special pedestal. She is worshipped by offering ‘akshat‘ (rice grains) and by burning incense sticks. She is worshipped because, according to the philosophy of ‘Striyah Samastastava Devi Bhedah’, women symbolize ‘Mahamaya‘ (The goddess Durga). Even among these a girl child is considered to be the purest, because of her innocence Hinduism believes in the universal creative forces to be feminine gender.

The very original force is Mahamaya whose inspiration created the gods and the rest of the cosmos.All the major and minor energies and forces are represented by various goddesses. Navratra deity Durga and all her dimensions are believed to be the manifestations of the same basic inspiration Mahamaya.

Thus, a virgin girl is the symbol of the pure basic creative force according to this philosophy.

* For acquiring knowledge worshipper should worship a Brahmin girl child. 

* For acquiring power he should worship a Kshatriya-girl child.

* For acquiring wealth and prosperity he should worship a girl child belonging to a Vaishya family.

* For attaining Tantrik-power, Sammohan (hypnotizing) etc.he should worship a shudra-girl-child

Navratri Prasad:

During Navratri - Sundal, Appam, Poori, Puttu, Sooji, Pongal, Halwa will be offered to Goddess. Sundal is prepared soaking the pulses in water, then cooking and roasting the pulses. List of pulses include - Kondakadalai (Channa), karamani, pasiparuppu, kadalai paruppu, groundnut, beans sundal etc

Navarathri literally means nine nights. Goddess Mother in various forms like Sri Durga, Sri Lakshmi, Sri Saraswathi will be worshipped with great devotion during Navaratri

Next Year Navratri: 
In 2017, Navratri is from September 21 (Thursday) to September 29, 2017 (Friday);
Maha Shasti - Sep 26, 2017 (Tuesday); 
Maha Saptami - Sep 27th, 2017 (Wednesday); 
Maha Ashtami - September 28, 2017 (Thursday); 
Maha Navami - Sep 29th, 2017 (Friday) 
Vijayadasami - Sep 30, 2017 (Saturday)

In 2018, Navratri is from October 9 (Tuesday) to October 18, 2018 (Thursday);
Maha Shasti - Oct 14, 2018 (Sunday); 
Maha Saptami - Oct 15th 2018 (Monday); 
Maha Ashtami - October 17, 2018 (Wednesday); 
Maha Navami - Oct 18th 2018 (Thursday) 
Vijayadasami - Oct 19, 2018 (Friday)


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