21st March to 28 th March 2015
Chaitra Navratri, also popular as Chait Navratras, is the nine-day festival observed in the month of Chaitra. This year Navratri dates, during Chaitra month are – from March 31 to April 8. Chaitra Navratras starts on the first day in Chaitra month and ends on Ram Navami, the ninth day of the month. As per the legends mentioned in the Puranas and other Hindu scriptures, Chaitra Navratri is the actual Navratri during which Goddess Durga was worshipped. But during the time of Ramayan war, Lord Ram worshipped Durga at the time of Ashwin month. Since then, Ashwin Navratri has become the main festive season to worship goddess Durga.
Chaitra Navratri is one of the most important festival of Hindus. Devotees worship Maa Shakti, Goddess of cosmic power, during this time and wish to be bestowed by divine benediction from Goddess. Fasting and praying mark the Navratri celebrations. Goddess Shakti manifests herself in three different dimensions as Goddess Laxmi, Saraswati and Durga. Navratri is divided into sets of three days to adore three different aspects of the supreme goddess or goddesses.
On the first three days Durga or Goddess of Energy is worshipped.The next three days are devoted to Lakshmi or Goddess of Wealth and the last three days for Saraswati or Goddess of Knowledge. On the eighth and ninth day, Yagna (sacrifice offered to the fire) is performed to honor Durga Mata and bid her farewell. On these days Kanya Puja is performed. Nine young girls (those who have not reached at the puberty stage) representing the nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshiped. In some regions a young boy also accompanies them who symbolizes Bhairav, who is considered as protector against all evils. Those who worship Goddess without any expectation or desire being fulfilled receive her blessings as ultimate freedom from all bondages.
Navratri and Tantra –
The period of Navratri is considered to be very significant and fruitful from view point of Tantric practices. It is said that one achieves greater Tantric powers during these period of Navratras. The cosmic motherly power blesses the worshipers who fathom mysterious ways of Tantra and practice it correctly. Those who worship Goddess in or around Shakti Peetha (Special Shakti Temples) harvest great rewards even faster.
Navratri, besides being a period of introspection and purification, is also considered an auspicious time for starting new ventures.
First Day - The first day is dedicated to the Goddess Durga is called Shailputri, the daughter of the Himalayas. She is a form of Shakti, the companion of Lord Shiva.
Second Day - The second day is dedicated to the Goddess Durga is known as 'Brahmacharini'. The name is derivative of the word 'Brahma', which means 'Tapa' or penace. She is also a form of Mata Shakti.
Third Day - The third day is dedicated to the goddess Chandraghanta, the symbolic representation of beauty and bravery.
Fourth Day - The fourth day is dedicated to the goddess Kushmandas, the creator of the entire Universe.
Fifth Day - The fifth day is dedicated to the Goddess Skand Mata, the mother of the chief warrior of the Gods army the Skanda.
Sixth Day - The sixth day is dedicated to the goddess Katyayani with three eyes and four hands.
Seventh Day - The seventh day is dedicated to the Goddess 'Kalratri', meant to make the devotees fearless.
Eighth Day - The eight day is dedicated to the Mata Rani or 'Maha Gauri', represents calmness and exhibits wisdom.
Ninth Day - The ninth day is dedicated to Durga also referred as Siddhidatri. It is believed that she has all the eight siddhis and is worshipped by all the Rishis and Yogis.