Devotees of Adi Shakti observes Sharadiya Navratri four times a year with each season. The Ashwin Navaratri that falls during the autumn season, is the most celebrated occasion for the disciples but next in order of popularity is the Chaitra Navratri. This year it starts on April 13 and devotees will keep a 9-day fast each day worshipping a form of the Devi.
Significance of Chaitra Navratri
According to the Amavasyant calendar, the first day of Chaitra Sankranti marks the Hindu New Year. Goddess Durga represents Shakti or the feminine force. Devotees worship her in nine forms Shailputri, Chandraghanta, Brahmacharini, Skanda Mata, Kushmanda, Maha Gauri, Katyayani, Kalaratri, Siddhidatri. Often hailed as the destroyer of evil, she was born to eliminate demonic king Mahishasura with her trident.
Chaitra Navratri commences on the Pratipada Tithi , Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of Moon) and concludes with Ram Navami (the birth anniversary of Shri Rama.)Devotees light the Akhand Jyoti to seek the Goddess’ blessings and invite prosperity.
Chaitra Navratri is known as Gudi Padwa in Maharashtrra, while in Kashmir it is Navreh. This year it falls a day ahead of the Maghi Bihu, Pongal and Bengali new year.
Navaratri Puja timings
The Ghatasthapana puja, Chandra Darshan will take place on April 13, 2021 – the first day of Chaitra Navratri. The Ghatasthapana auspicious muharat falls between 5.58 AM to 10.14 AM. The Ghatastapana Muharat falls on Pratipada tithi. The pratipada tithi falls between 8 AM on April 12 and 10.16 on April 13, 2021.
The Ghatasthapana is done before offering prayers to the first form of Navdurga, Goddess Shaiputri. The earthen or brass pot represents Shakti or the source of creation of feminine power. Coconut, mango leaves, haldi, Chandan, flowers are used to perform ghatasthapana during which the Goddess is invoked and worshipped for nine days
The Akhand Jyoti is ignited in the centre of the Ashtadal (right side of the temple of the mother goddess. The Akhand Jyoti is kept lit for nine days until the vrat ends. Akhand Jyoti represent the absence of darkness and ignorance