Durga Ashtami or Maha Ashtami is one of the most auspicious days in Navratri. This day is well-known for Durga’s 8th incarnation, MahaGauri, the ruler of the planet Rahu. On this day devotees dress up in peacock green color as a symbol of wishes and desires that will get fulfilled.
The goddess has been depicted sitting on a bull wearing white clothes having four hands. The color white signifies her purity. She is offered jasmine as it is her favorite flower.
The Ashtami is an important day as most of the rituals happen on this day. It falls on a bright lunar fortnight and is believed that on this day the battle between Ma Durga and the buffalo demon(Mahishasura) was in full momentum and 8 incarnations of Maa emerged all together.
Maha Ashtami Puja Timing
According to Panchang, this year, Ashtami begins at 06:57 AM on Oct 23, 2020, and ends at 06:58 AM on Oct 24, 2020.
Sandhi Puja Muhurat is considered from 06:34 AM to 07:22 AM.
The Kanya Puja Vidhi
On the 8th day of Navratri which is Mahashtami, young unmarried girls are treated as the representation of Goddess Durga. They are worshipped as girls on this day. It is also called as Kumari Puja. Many people prefer to perform Kanya puja throughout the whole 9 days. But particularly, it is preferred to be performed on Durga Ashtami as it gives the profit for all those days.
The vidhi starts by washing the feet of Kanya/s and applying ‘tika’ to their forehead. Then put red chunari on their heads. Then ‘kalawa’ is tied to their hands. After the puja and other rituals offer those girls halwa, puri, and chane ki sabji as food and take proper care of them.
After the prasad distribution to the young girls, one may touch and wash their feet to seek their blessings and either give them money or gifts as per choice. One should keep his/her home clean and mind peaceful while performing ‘Kanya pujan’.
This vidhi is very important and should be performed very carefully as those Kanyas are representations of Goddess Durga and their arrival considered as the arrival of Mata who brings peace, joy, and prosperity.
The basics things that you should keep in mind before ending your fast are-
- Ma Durga should be offered flowers, jasmine is usually be preferred and Sandalwood.
- 9 unmarried girls around the age of 6 to 12, basically who haven’t reached puberty are invited to the house.
- The first thing that should be done when the girls arrive is washing their hands and feet.
- It should be done facing the south or the east direction.
- Next thing is to apply tilak to their foreheads which should be done in the northeast direction.
- Poori – Chole – halwa should be served to them while placing the plates in front of them.
- Finally, the blessing shall be given while facing towards the earth.
- Another important thing that we should do is offer some kind of Dakshina (donation) to a priest.
Once the Kanyapujan is done then the fast can be completed.
On this day Ma Durga’s weapons are also worshipped, thus it’s also known as ‘Astra Puja’. Massive feasts, rituals, and customs are performed on this day. Huge pandals are set up in various places.
The sandhi puja is also performed on the Ashtami. It usually happens at the end of Ashtami and the beginning of Navami as a sacrifice to the goddess Durga.
Maa Gauri has major significance in Hindu mythology she is believed to be the problem solver. Devotees worship her for good health and happy life. This is also considered a good time to make investments and is believed to have good results. People also invest in gold, silver, and properties during this time.
Maha Gauri Beej Mantra
Shree Klin Hwin Vardayei Namah
Maha Gauri Mantra
- Maheshwari vrish aarodh Kaumaari Shikhiwahna .
Shwet roop dhara devi Ishwari Vrish vaahna.
- Om devi Mahagauray Namah.
मां महागौरी बीज मंत्र
श्री क्लीं ह्रीं वरदायै नम:।
- माहेश्वरी वृष आरूढ़ कौमारी शिखिवाहना।
श्वेत रूप धरा देवी ईश्वरी वृष वाहना।।
- ओम देवी महागौर्यै नमः।
That’s all you needed to know about directions and basics rituals of Ashtami.