Navratri is one of the most awaited festivals in India. There come two Navratri dates in the Hindu calendar. One falls in the month of Sep-Oct (Shardiya Navratri) and the other falls in March-April (Chaitra Navratri).
During nine auspicious nights, devotees worship Goddess Durga and Her nine avatars. Even Indian diasporas rejoice on the occasion with great zeal and zest! The celebration includes daily pooja and observance of fast for nine long days.
Nine Avatars of Goddess Durga
People worship nine manifestations of Maa Durga for nine auspicious days.
Day 1- Shailaputri Pooja
Day one is dedicated to Goddess Shailaputri. She carries Trishul and Lotus. She rides on Nandi bull and is also called ‘Sati’.
Day- 2- Brahmacharini Pooja
The second day of Chaitra Navratri is for Goddess Brahmacharini puja. She carries rudraksha mala and a sacred kamandal in her hands. She is seen in meditating form and wears a white ensemble.
Day-3- Chandraghanta Pooja
She is the third manifestation of Goddess Durga. Her adulation rewards the devotees with courage and bravery. Her grace eradicates all the sufferings. Tiger is Her vehicle and her forehead is decked with a crescent moon tilak.
Day- 4- Kushmanda Pooja
The fourth day observes Goddess Kushmanda’s adulation. She bestows her worshippers with good health, wealth, and strength.
Day-5- Skanda Mata Pooja
The fifth avatar is of Goddess Skanda Mata. She has four arms and Her vehicle is a lion. She is seen in blessing position and holds lotus, kamandal and bell in Her hands.
Day-6- Mata Katyayani Pooja
The sixth observes the adulation of Goddess Durga’s sixth form- Katyayani. In shaktism, she is regarded as the fierce form of Shakti. She is associated with red color.
Day-7- Kalaratri Pooja
The seventh form of Navdurga is known as Kalaratri. She is the fiercest form and is in the destroyer form. Worshipping Her destroys negativity, ghosts, negative spirits, and energies.
The seventh day is for adulating Goddess Mahagauri. She is seen in white ensemble and rides a white bull. She is pure and is considered being in the form of Goddess Parvati.
Day-9- Siddhidatri Pooja
On Maha Navami or the ninth day, devotees worship the ninth avatar of Navdurga- Goddess Siddhidatri. She is believed to eradicate ignorance and bestow her devotees with knowledge and wisdom.
The Navratri festival concludes with Kanya puja in which those who observe the fast, feed nine little girls and provide them with treats and goodies.