New Delhi: Navratri or Shardiya Navratri is a nine-day-long festival dedicated to Goddess Durga. Shardiya or Sharad Navratri is one of the most essential festivals celebrated by the Hindu community, which usually falls in September and October. Each day, in the nine-day celebration a manifestation of Goddess Durga is worshipped as each of them exemplifies a distinctive virtue.
This year the dates of Navratri are September 26,27,28,29,30 and October 1,2,3,4,5. The forms worshipped are as follows:
Day 1 – Maa Shailputri Puja – Goddess Shailputri is the first manifestation of Goddess Durga. Goddess Parvati was born as the daughter of Himalaya and in Sanskrit. Devotees offer pure ghee on the foot of Goddess Shailputri. It is believed that by offering pure ghee the devotees are blessed with a life free of diseases and illness. Day 2 – Maa Brahmacharini Puja – The second day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Brahmacharini. The meditative form of this goddess symbolises Goddess Parvati when she engaged in her deep meditation to please Lord Shiva. Sugar for the longevity of the family members is offered to the Goddess. Day 3 – Maa Chandraghanta Puja – This is the fierce 10-armed goddess with a crescent moon on her forehead. She rides on a tiger to destroy all evil. Devotees offer the goddess Kheer to please her. She is known to drive away all pains. Day 4 – Maa Kushmanda Puja – This form is worshipped as the creator of the universe, devotees offer Malpua to Maa Kushmanda to improve their intellect and decision-making ability. Day 5 – Maa Skandamata Puja – Skandmata is a four-armed deity, who carries a lotus in two of her arms with a sacred Kamandalu and a bell in the other two. She also carries a little Kartikay on her lap and because of this Kartikay is also known as Skanda. She is seated on a lotus. Devotees offer bananas as they are considered to be her favourite fruit. Day 6 – Maa Katyayani Puja – Goddess Katyayani, who is a form of Shakti. Known as the warrior goddess, Katyayani is considered one of the most violent forms of Goddess Parvati. She has four arms and carries a sword, she rides on a lion. Devotees offer Honey as prasad to Devi Katyayani. Day 7 – Maa Kaalratri Puja – She is a four-armed deity who rides a donkey, carries a sword, a trident, and a noose. She has a third eye on her forehead that is believed to contain the entire universe. Jaggery as prasad to Devi Kaalratri is considered to bring relief from pains, and obstacles and bring happiness. Day 8 – Maa Mahagauri Puja – She is a four-armed deity who rides on a bull or a white elephant. She carries a Trishul and a damru in her hands. Goddess Mahagauri is offered coconut by devotees. Day 9 – Maa Siddhidatri Puja – Signifying perfection, this form of the deity has four arms and is projected sitting on a lotus, holding a mace, discus and a book and lotus in her hands. Sesame Seeds are offered for safety and security from unnatural events. According to Drikpanchang, White, Red, Royal Blue, Yellow, Green, Grey, Orange, Peacock green, Pink should be worn on each day respectively.