Navratri is a festival of worship and devotion. Navratri is the nine days festival celebrated to worship Mother Goddess Maa Durga. Nav’ means Nine and ‘Ratri’ means Nights, hence the name of the Nine-Night festival also. During these nine nights and ten days, 9 different forms of Goddess Durga is worshipped, which is also known as Navdurga. Goddess Durga is the root of everything in this universe. The nine manifestations Maa Durga, the Nava Durga- Shailputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skanda Mata, Katyayani, Kalratri, Maha Gauri and Siddhidatri are worshiped by the devotees.
Navratri comes twice a year, in March-April and September-October. Sharad Navratri, also popular as Ashwin Navratris, is the nine-day festival observed in Ashvin month. The dates of the festival are determined according to the Hindu lunar calendar, the festival may be held for a day more or a day less. The leading Navrati festival held in month Ashwina. The nine nights festival of Navratri begins on the first day (Pratipada) of Ashwina means the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Ashwin. This year Shardiya Navratri or Sharad Navratri 2016 is from 1st October (Saturday) to 11th October (Tuesday) as per Hindu calendar. The eleventh day will celebrated as Vijayadashami( Dussehra) will be on 11th October, 2016 (Tuesday), when idols of Goddess Durga are immersed into the water body. This Navratri with the Grace of Maa Durga, we will celebrate these navratris for 10 days.
Shard Navratri or Ashwin Navratri 2015 Dates
- 1 October 2015 (Day 1) / Saturday – Pratipada Tithi, Kalash Sthapana, Maa Sailputri Pooja
- 2 October 2015 (Day 2) / Sunday – Pratipada Tithi, Maa Sailputri Pooja
- 3 October 2015 (Day 3) / Monday – Dwitiya Tithi, Maa Brahmacharini Pooja
- 4 October 2015 (Day 4) / Tuesday – Tritiya Tithi, Maa Chandraghanta Pooja
- 5 October 2015 (Day 5) / Wednesday – Chaturthi Tithi, Maa Kushmanda Pooja
- 6 October 2015 (Day 6) / Thursday – Panchami Tithi, Maa Skandamata Pooja
- 7 October 2015 (Day 7) / Friday – Shashthi Tithi, Maa Katyayani Pooja
- 8 October 2015 (Day 8) / Saturday – Saptami Tithi, Maa Kalaratri Pooja
- 9 October 2015 (Day 9) / Sunday – Ashtami Tithi, Maa MahaGuari Pooja
- 10 October 2015 (Day 10) / Monday – Navami Tithi, Maa Siddhidatri Pooja,
- 11 October 2015 (Day 11) / Tuesday – Dashmi Tithi, Vijay Dashmi (Dussehra), Durga Visarjan Day
Navaratri Puja Vidhi
Certain items are required to perform the Navratri pooja. These may include the idol or picture of Goddess Durga, Durga Sapthashati book, water in Kalash (pitcher), fresh washed mango leaves, one coconut, roli (red color for tilak), moli (red sacred thread), chawal (rice), paan (betel leaves), supari (beetle nuts), cloves, cardamom, kumkum (vermilion) and gulal. You will also need few incense sticks, a deep and matchstick. The flowers used for Navratri puja may include rose, lotus and red hibiscus. Stalks of Bilwa (bael) leaves are also used for the puja. You may offer fresh pomegranate and sweets such as laddoo and peda, as prasad. You will require a Panchpatra containing spoon and water, bael leaves. Take a mat as well, to sit.
In order to perform the puja, take bath in the morning and wear laundered clothes. Then, fill the kalash with water and place mango leaves on its mouth. Place a coconut inside the kalash. Now, tie moli on the neck of the pitcher. Place the idol or picture of Ma Durga at your puja room and then worship the deity with roli, rice, flowers, balepatra, kumkum and gulal. Thereafter, you may add burning coal to a clay pot and pour ghee (clarified butter) over it. Offer a small piece of the sweetmeat to the fire. Keep adding ghee to the fire at regular intervals. Make sure that you maintain the light throughout your puja. Once the puja is over, fold your hands and encircle the flame for three times. Light the incense sticks and deep and perform the aarti. You may sing arti song while doing the aarti. You may chant Durga Saptashati or Devi Kavach or ask a pundit to do it, to conclude the puja.