Celebrate Navratri festival or Durga Puja from 1st October to 10th October, 2016

Maa DurgaNavratri starts on the 1st of October (Saturday). Navratri is a nine-day festival celebrated by Hindus with all the nine days representing the nine manifestations of the powerful and benevolent Goddess Durga. Navratri is derived from the Sanskrit words "nava" which means nine and "ratri" which means night. Maa Durga (also known as Navdurga) is worshipped in Her different incarnations for ten days and nine nights during the festival which is celebrated all over India. Worshipping the nine forms of Durga is the main ritual during the Navratri Puja. It is the most auspicious period to perform devotional sadhanas, pray to Goddess Durga and perform the Navratri puja. On the tenth day of this festival, known as Vijayadashami or Dussehra (Dasara) the idols of Goddess Durga is immersed in a water body.

Although Navratri is celebrated all across India, the festivities are at fever pitch in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and southern parts of Karnataka. In West Bengal Navratri is celebrated as Durga Puja. In South India Goddess Durga is worshipped during the first three days, Maha Lakshmi is worshipped for the next three days and Saraswati Devi is worshipped on the last three days.

The Four Different Navratris in a Year

This festival is celebrated at four different times in a year. They are:

  1. Magh Navratri, also known as Gupt Navratri (January - February, observed only in certain regions of North India)
  2. Vasant Navratri or Ram Navratri, also known as Chaitra Navratri (March - April)
  3. Ashad Navratri, also known as Gupt Navratri (June - July, observed only in certain regions of North India)
  4. Shardiya Navratri, also known as Maha Navratri (September - October)

Out of the above four, Vasant Navratri and Shardiya Navratri are celebrated by devotees with much pomp and festivities as they are considered to be auspicious. Shardiya Navratri is the most important Navratri and is hence called Maha Navratri or Great Navratri. It is also called as Sharad Navratri as it is celebrated at the beginning of winter (Sharad). It falls on the first day or Pratipada of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Ashwin.

The nine manifestations of Goddess Durga revered on these nine days are: Shailputri, Brahmcharni, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kalratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidatri.

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Navratri Durga Puja Vidhi and Puja Samagri

Puja Samagri which is used for Navratri Puja includes:
• Photo or Idol of Goddess Durga of Navdurga • A clay pot with soil • Barley seeds • Kalash • Coconut
• Red cloth • Five Leaves from Mango tree • Flower garland • 10 Coins • Chowki
• Sacred Thread (Moli) •  Akshat (raw colored rice) • Incense • Chunri • Oil Lamp
• Naivedya • Roli for Tilak • Puja Plate • Bell • Flour
• Durga Saptshati book • Ganga Jal • Supari (Areca nuts) • Paan (Betel leaves) • Cloves
• Cardamom • Kumkum (vermilion) • Gulal    

The Navratri puja is to be conducted at a particular time each day. Sunrise is considered to be the best time for performing the puja. Sthapana of the idol and the Kalash with mango leaves and coconut are done on the chowki during the very first day. It is also a ritual to sow barley seeds in a clay pot and water it. Prayers are offered to Maa Durga and an Aarti is conducted. During each day of Navratri the devotees must recite the Durga Saptshati. Kanya puja is performed on the ninth day of Navratri. Kanya Puja is the tradition where 9 girls (who havenít reached sexual maturity) represented as the nine manifestations of Maa Durga are revered and fed.

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Important Dates for Navratri Durga Puja Festival 2016

Navratri begins on the 1st of October in 2016. The important dates, the pujas to be performed and the colors to be worn on specific days are as given below.

1st Day of Navratri : 1st & 2nd October, 2016 (Saturday & Sunday)
Shailputri Mata Tithi - Pratipada
Ritual - Ghatsthapana, Chandra Darshan
Goddess Worshipped - Shailaputri (Daughter of Mountain)
Offerings to the Goddess - Ghee
Color to be Worn on the Day - Grey & Orange
Shailaputri Maha Puja
2nd Day of Navratri : 3rd October, 2016 (Monday) 3rd Day of Navratri : 4th October, 2016 (Tuesday)
Brahmacharini Mata Tithi - Dwitiya Chandraghanta Mata Tithi - Tritiya
Ritual - Ritual - Sindoor Tritiya
Goddess Worshipped - Brahmacharini Goddess Worshipped - Chandraghanta
Offerings to the Goddess - Sugar Offerings to the Goddess - Milk
Color to be Worn on the Day - White Color to be Worn on the Day - Red
Brahmacharini Maha Puja Chandraghanta Maha Puja
4th Day of Navratri : 5th October, 2016 (Wednesday) 5th Day of Navratri : 6th October, 2016 (Thursday)
Kushmanda Mata Tithi - Chaturthi Skandamata Mata Tithi - Panchami
Ritual - Varad Vinayaka Chauth, Upang Lalita Vrat Ritual - Saraswati Awahan
Goddess Worshipped - Kushmanda Goddess Worshipped - Skandamata
Offerings to the Goddess - Malpua Offerings to the Goddess - Bananas
Color to be Worn on the Day - Royal Blue Color to be Worn on the Day - Yellow
Kushmanda Maha Puja Skandamata Maha Puja
6th Day of Navratri : 7th October, 2016 (Friday) 7th Day of Navratri : 8th October, 2016 (Saturday)
Katyayani Mata Tithi - Shashthi Kaalratri Mata Tithi - Saptami
Ritual - Ritual -
Goddess Worshipped - Katyayani Goddess Worshipped - Kaalratri
Offerings to the Goddess - Honey Offerings to the Goddess - Jaggery Dishes
Color to be Worn on the Day - Green Color to be Worn on the Day - Peacock Green
Katyayini Maha Puja Kaalratri Maha Puja
8th Day of Navratri : 9th October, 2016 (Sunday) 9th Day of Navratri : 10th October, 2016 (Monday)
Mahagauri Mata Tithi - Ashtami Siddhidaatri Mata Tithi - Navami
Ritual - Annapoorna Parikrama, Saraswati Visarjan Ritual - Navratri Parana
Goddess Worshipped - Mahagauri Goddess Worshipped - Siddhidaatri
Offerings to the Goddess - Coconut Offerings to the Goddess - Grains
Color to be Worn on the Day - Purple  
Mahagauri Maha Puja Siddhidatri Maha Puja

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