Navratri- The nine-day festival of Maa Durga is one of the most significant festival celebrated by Hindus all across India. There are total four Navratri’s in a year- Shardiya Navratri, Chaitra Navratri, Magha Gupt Navratri, Asadha Gupt Navratri but only two - Chaitra Navratri and Sharad Navratri are celebrated widely. People in different parts of the country celebrate this same festival differently. This is the festival where people worship same entity with different rituals. Example Kshatriya worship Weapons during this period, some worship Ghhat and the growth of ‘Wheat’ represents the financial growth of the devotee.
According to myth, Goddess Durga is an incarnation of Goddess Parvati. She took the avatar of Devi Durga to destroy the powerful demon named Mahishasura. Navratri in Sanskrit means nine nights and during these nights, people observe fast and offer special prayer to the ‘Nine Forms of Maa Durga’. The nine forms of Maa Durga are worshiped with nine different prasad or bhog. Here are the nine forms of Goddess Durga and the special bhog offered to them.
1. Goddess Shailputri
Goddess Shailputri is the first manifestation of Goddess Durga. 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.
Pure ghee is offered on the foot of Goddess Shailputri. It is believed that by offering pure ghee the devotees are blessed with a life free of diseases and illness. 2. Goddess Brahmacharini
The second day of Navratri is dedicated to 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.
Goddess Brahmacharini is offered sugar for the longevity of the family members. 3. Goddess Chandraghanta
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. She is known to drive away all pains. 4. Goddess Kushmanda
Chaturthi or 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.
Devotees offer Malpua to Maa Kushmanda to improve their intellect and decision-making ability. 5. Goddess Skandmata
Goddess Skandmata who is worshipped on the fifth day is also known as Panchami. 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 is a powerful goddess whose love and care helped Lord Kartikeya defeat the demon Tarkasura.
Bananas is the favourite fruit of Goddess Skandmata. 6. Goddess Katyayani
The sixth day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Katyayani, who is a form of Shakti. Also known as the warrior goddess, 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.
Honey is offered as prasad to Devi Katyayani. 7. Goddess Kaalratri
Saptami or the seventh day of Navratri is of Goddess 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.
Jaggery as prasad is offered to Devi Kaalratri. It is said that it gives relief from pains, obstacles and bring happiness.
8. Goddess Mahagauri