Durga Puja is the biggest and important festival of India. In India, it is celebrated with great effort and it is part of life for Bengalis. These are called different name in different part of India like in West Bengal “Durga Puja”, in Gujarat “Gerba”, in Maharashtra “Dandiya” etc. however the style is the main theme is to worship goddess Durga.
People pray the goddess for blessing, strength, knowledge, and wisdom. There is two epic associate with Ashtami and Navami. One is ‘victory over Buffalo Demon’. Buffalo Demon named Mahishasura. To defeat the demon, the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh created a power from their energy that is the goddess Durga.
Another one is ‘victory over “king of Demon”’. Ravana named ‘king of Demon’ who abducted Lord Rama’s wife Goddess Sita. Then Rama and his army attacked the abode of the demon and Rama killed Ravana in the ‘Sandhikhan’ which is between Ashtami and Navami. This is celebrated as ‘Dussehra’.
Durga Puja or Navaratri starts from the next day of Mahalaya. The eight-day of Durga Puja is known as Durga Ashtami or Maha Ashtami. Maha Ashtami is one of the significant and auspicious day according to Hinduism. Maha means “Great” and Ashtami means “eight-day” thus the name Maha Ashtami.
The eighth day of Durga Puja is highly significant because it is believed that at this time, spiritual sincerity reach its highest level.
Ashtami is the optimistic day to celebrate the essence of womanhood and it is a way to respect the goddess. ‘Kanya puja’ is observed among the Hindus in all over India. ‘Kanya Pujan’ means Girls worship on Ashtami little girls are Wordship as ‘Kumari’ or incarnation of Durga. They are respected, welcomed and offered various type of gift and sweetmeats. On that day, goddess Durga is worshipped with 108 lotus flowers. Devotees recite the mantra and offer flowers for her blessings. Pushpanajali is observed from the early hour on this day. According to Sanskrit, goddess Bhadrakali appeared with 64 yoginis from the forehead of mother Durga. The 64 Yoginis and Ashta Nayikas (the eight consorts of Goddess Durga) are worshiped during the rituals on Mahashtami. The Ashta Nayikas worshiped during Durga Puja are Brahmani, Maheswari, Kaumari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Narasinghi, Indrani and Chamunda.
Sandhi puja is one of the importance of ritual during Durga Ashtami. It is performed at the point in time when the Ashtami tithi ends and the Navami tithi starts. Sandhi puja lasts from the last 24 minutes of Ashtami and the first 24 minutes of Navami. 108 lamps are lighted to honour when fearful Chamunda formed from Durga to kill ‘Chanda’ and ‘Munda’.
Navami falls on the ninth day of Durga Puja and the final day of worship before Vijaya Dasami. On the day of Maha Navami, Shodasopachar puja (puja with sixteen offerings) and Mahasnan is done for Ma Durga.
The goddess is worship as Mahishasura Mardhini. According to scriptures, the goddess killed the demon on this day so the Mahishasura was finally destroyed. Maha Navami is considered the eve
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