Navratri is celebrated twice in a year.One after the festival of Holi in the month of Chaitra Shukla Paksha from Ekam (First day) to Navmi (Ninth day). These are called Vasanth Navratri. In this, prayers are offered to Lord Vishnu.
Once before Dussehra in the month of Ashwin Shukla Paksha on Ekam (first Day) to Navmi (9th day). These are called Sharadeeya Navratri. In these nine days of Navratri, we pray to Durga Maa.
On the eight day of this Navratri, Durga Maa was born, hence her puja on this day is of special significance.
These nine days also have a special significance for unmarried girls.
Preparation for the Puja:
- Picture or image of Durga Maa
- Durga Sapthashati book, Devi’s armour
- Water in a kalash, mango leaves, coconut
- Roli, moli, chawal, paan, betl nut.
- Cloves, cardamom, sindoor, abhir, gulal
- Dhoop, deepak, matchsticks
- Flowers such as hibiscus, lotus, roses and belpatr leaves
- Fruits such as pomegranate and sweets such as laddoo and peda
- Panchpatra containing spoon and water, pata, mat to sit (Aasan)
Jhuwara is grown - On the first day of Navratri, take a large earthen pot with a wide mouth, put some sand in it and plant either jaun or wheat kernels which have been soaked the previous night. Every day a little water is sprinkled over them and they are put in sunlight for a short time for germination.
Vidhi / Method of performing Puja:
Place the kalash by putting wheat grains on the pata, fill water in the kalash, place live mango tree leaves in the mouth of the kalash and put a coconut in the middle, Moli is tied on the neck ofthe kalash.
Place Durga Maa’s image on the pata and worship with roli, rice, flowers, belpatr, sindoor, abhir and gulal.
Maa ki Jyoti Lena:
Take a small clay pot, add a burning coal to the pot, pour ghee over the coal and offer a small piece of laddoo, peda or halwa. Keep adding ghee at intervals. The higher the flame the more auspicious it is. This jyoti / light has to be maintained throughout the puia. At the conclusion, fold your hands and circle them around the jyoti.
Light Dhoop and Deepak:
Perform Durga Saptashati or Devi Kavach (hymn invoking Devi's protection) either yourself or by a Pundit.
Some people go to the temple for these nine days to perform the puia.
Many people fast on this Day. At least one meal should be a phalaahaar and the other can be with cereal.
Many people conclude the puja on the 8th day by doing Devi ki Kadhai. On this day, Maa ki jyoti is taken with halwa. You should make atta halwa, chawal ki kheer, puri, kaala chana (black grain) and one or two vegetables. Unmarried girls are invited for meal. After the food, the girls are given some fruits and money as Dakshina.
Some people do Devi ki Kadhai on the 9th day.
‘Durga Stuti’ is Sung:
“Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu shri rupen sansthita
namas tasye namas tasye namas tasye namo namah”
‘Durga Maa ki Aarti’ is Sung:
Jai Ambe Gauri, Mayya Jai Shyama Gauri...
Tumko Nishidin Dhyavat, Tumko Sabdin Sevat, Hari Brahma Shivji... Jai!!
Manga Sindoor Virajat, Teeko Mrigmad Ko, Maiya Teeko Mrigmad Ko...
Ujjwal Se Dou Naina, Ujjwal Se Dou Naina, Chandra Vadan Neeko… Jai!!
Kanak Saman Kalevar, Raktambar Raje, Maiya Raktambar Raje…
Raktapushpa Galmala, Lalpushpa Galmala, Kantahan Har Saje… Jai!!
Kehari Vahan Rajat, Khadag Khappar Dhari, Maiya Khadag Khappar Dhari…
Sur Nar Munijan Sewat, Sur Nar Munijan Sewat, Tinke Dukkhahari… Jai!!
Kanan Kundal Shobhit, Nasagre Moti, Maiya Nasagre Moti…
Kotik Chandra Diwakar, Kotik Surya Diwakar, Samrajat Jyoti… Jai!!
Shumbhu Nishumbha Vidare, Mahishasur Ghati, Maiya Mahishasur Ghati…
Dhoomra Vilochana Naina, Madhura Vilochana Naina, Nishidin Madmati… Jai!!
Brahmani Rudraini, Tum Kamala Rani, Maiya Tum Kamala Rani…
Aagam Nigam Bhakhani, Aagam Nigam Bhakhani, Tum Shiv Patrani… Jai!!
Chaunsath Yogini Gavet, Nritya Karen Bhairon, Maiya Nritya Karen Bhairon…
Bajat Tal Mridanga, Bajat Dhol Mridanga, Aur Bajat Dumroo… Jai!!
Bhuja Char Ati Shobhit, Var Mudra Dhari, Maiya Var Mudra Dhari…
Manwanchhit Phal Pavat, Man Iccha Phal Pavat, Sewat Nar Nari… Jai!!
Kanchan Thal Virajat, Agar Kapoor Bati, Maiya Agar Kapoor Bati…
Malketu Mein Rajat, Malketu Men Rajat, Koti Ratan Jyoti… Jai!!
Durgaji Ki Aarti, Jo Koi Nar Gave, Maiya Jo Sunder Gave…
Kahat Shivananda Swami, Ratata Shivananda Swami, Sukh Sampati Pave!!
Jai Ambe Gauri, Mayya Jai Shyama Gauri...
Tumko Nishidin Dhyavat, Tumko Sabdin Sevat, Hari Brahma Shivji!!
Bolo Durga Maiyya ki Jai!!!