Navaratri is a nine day festival of Hindu’s in which nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped. In all over India there are total 4 Navaratris in a year, but only two are celebrated widely. These two are Saradia Durga puja which is celebrated in Autumn Season and Basantika Durga Puja which is on spring season in India. This festival is celebrated in different rituals in different part of the country. ‘Navaratri’ in Sanskrit means ’Nine nights’. In this nine night people are worship nine forms of Goddess Durga. In Hindu epics the other name of Maa Durga is Adisakti (Origin of Creature), Pakruti (Nature). The nine forms of Maa Durga are describe below.
The first manifestation of Goddess Durga is Goddess Shailputri . She holds a Trishul in one hand and a lotus in the other and rides a bull called Nandi. Goddess Parvati was born as the daughter of Himalaya and in Sanskrit, Shail means the mountain, thus she is known as Shailputri. In this Day, It is believed that by offering pure ghee the devotees are blessed with a life free of diseases and illness.
The second form of Maa Durga is Goddess Brahmacharini. The goddess walks bare feet with a rudraksh mala in one hand and a sacred Kamandalu in the other. The meditative form of this goddess symbolises Goddess Parvati when she engaged in her deep meditation to please Lord Shiva. For the longevity of the family members, in this Day we offered Sugar to Maa Brahmacharini.
The third day of Navratri is of Goddess Chandraghanta. She is a fierce 10-armed goddess with a crescent moon on her forehead, which gives her the name Chandraghanta. She rides on a tiger to destroy all evil and wicked.
The ferocious goddess is pleased with Kheer.
The fourth day of Navratri is of Devi Kushmanda. The name Kushmanda is derived from three words – ‘Ku’ (little), ‘Ushma’ (warmth or energy) and ‘Amnda’ (egg), which means the creator of the universe.
To improve their intellect and decision-making ability,devotees offer Malpua to Maa Kushmanda .
Goddess Skandmata who is worshipped on the fifth day. 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. Maa Skandmata is pleased with Banana.
The sixth day of Navratri is dedicated Maa Sakti, She is known as Goddess Katyayani. Katyayani is considered as one of the most violent forms of Goddess Parvati. She has four arms and carrying a sword. She is the daughter of Sage Katyayan and rides on a lion. Devotees offer Honey as Prasad.
Saptami or the seventh day of Navratri is dedicated to Maa Kaalratri. As per legends she sacrificed her skin colour and embraced a dark complexion to kill demons. 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. Maa Kalaratri relief from obstacles and pains and gives us happiness. Jaggery offered as Prasad.
Durga Asthami or the eight-day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Mahagauri. 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.Devotees offer coconut as Prasad to Maa Maha Gauri.
The ninth or the final day of Navratri is of Goddess Siddhidhatri. She is projected as a four-armed deity sitting on a lotus, holding a mace, discus and a book and lotus in her hands. This form of Goddess Durga signifies perfection. For safety and security from unnatural events Sesame Seeds are offered to Devi Siddhidatri.