Chaitra Navratri, also known as Basant or Vasant Navratri is a Hindu festival celebrated in the month of Chaitra (Hindu calendar) during the Shukla Paksha. It is also known as the Navaratri in March-April. Chaitra Navratri is also known as Rama Navratri as it coincides with Ram Navami. The nine nights of Navratri (Nav means nine and Ratri means night) are dedicated to the worship of the nine manifestations of Goddess Durga. These nine manifestations of Goddess Durga are as follows: Goddess Shailputri, Brahmcharni, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kalratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidatri. This festival is the best time to revere Goddess Shakti and chant the Durga Mantra. Navratri festival and Durga Puja is celebrated with much pomp and gaiety in the Northern and Western India.
Chaitra Navratri 2016 begins on the 8th of April. The ardent devotees of Goddess Durga celebrate Navratri festival by observing a strict fast and worshipping the Mother Divine with utmost devotion. As per the legends in Brahma Purana it is believed that Lord Brahma started the creation of the universe on the first day of Chaitra month. The first three nights of Navratri Puja are for the worship of Goddess Durga, the next three nights are celebrated by worshipping Goddess Lakshmi and the last three nights are marked by the worship of Goddess Saraswati.
The ninth day of Navratri is celebrated with the ritual of Kanya Puja in which nine pre-pubertal girls are fed delicacies and given gifts. It is believed that these nine girls represent the nine manifestations of Durga.
The below given Durga Stuti is chanted by devotee in reverence of the Supreme Goddess:
“Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu Shri Rupen Sansthita Namas Tasye Namas Tasye Names Tasye Namo Namah”
Chaitra Navratri 2016 dates
Ghatsthapana – April 8
Sindhara Dooj – April 9
Gaur Teej, Saubhagya Teej – April 9
Varadvinayak Chaturthi – April 10
Sri Laxmi Panchami Vrat, Naag Vrat Pujan – April 11
Skand Shashthi, Yamuna Jayanti – April 12
Mahasaptami Vrat, Chaiti Chath, Vijaya Saptami – April 13
Sri Durga Mahaashtami, Annapurna Ashtami – April 14
Ram Navratri / Ram Navami – April 15
Significance of Goddess Durga
Goddess Durga represents the positive energy of the divine Shakti (feminine energy / power) which overcomes the negative forces of evil and wickedness. She shields Her devotees from evil forces. Durga symbolizes the combined powers of Goddesses Lakshmi, Kali and Saraswati. It is also mentioned in the Puranas that Durga was created by the Hindu trinity of Lord Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma. She was created as a warrior goddess to slay the demon Mahishasura and protect the Devas. Her powers are an amalgamation of the combined energies of all the Gods and Goddesses in the form of weapons and mudras. She preserves morality and righteousness in the world by representing the power of the Supreme Being.
Significance of Chaitra Navratri
Navratri is a Hindu festival celebrating the nine forms of Durga and symbolizes the victory of good over evil. These days are considered to be auspicious and devotees conduct extensive prayers and observe strict fast for penance. Durga Saptashati which is a part of Markandeya Purana is chanted during this period. Devotees show their reverence to the Durga Idols by keeping fasts, chanting shlokas and mantras. It is the belief of devotees that during Navratri Shakti blesses Her devotees and fulfill all their wishes and protects them from all evil.
Durga Gayatri Mantra
Om Katya yanaya Vidmahe
Kanya Kumari cha Dhimahi |
Tanno Durgih Prachodayat ||