Chaitra Navaratri 2018 begins on March 18 and concludes on March 25 with Rama Navmi, a day referred to as the birth date of Lord Rama. The celebrations and prayers of Navaratri are initiated after Ghatasthapana which symbolises Devi Durga. The Goddess is invoked and invited to accept sincere prayers and humble offerings. Devotees seek her blessings for all the goodness in life.
What is Ghatasthapana?
Ghatasthapana is a ritual that establishes the feminine power.
It is assembled using a number of Puja items that are symbolic and holy.
Ghatasthapana Puja Vidhi
Use a shallow pan like utensil with a wide mouth made of clay as the base.
Scatter three layers of each of mud and seeds of Sapta Dhanya / Navadhanya (seven or nine different grains) in the pan.
Sprinkle water so that the seeds get enough moisture to thrive and germinate.
Take a Kalash (made of brass/copper or silver) smaller than mouth of the clay pan and fill it with Ganga jal or normal clean water.
Then add a few currency coins, supari, Akshat ( Raw rice mixed with turmeric powder) and Durva grass to the water in the Kalash.
Then place five leaves of the mango tree around the neck of the Kalash.
Then cover the neck of the Kalash by placing a coconut with its fiber protruding upward.
Take this Kalash and place it right in the middle of the pan with the mud and Navadhanya.
Some people put raw rice, coins, dried turmeric fruit and kumkum in the Kalash instead of water.
Then put Haldi-kumkum tika is put on the Kalash.
You can even cover the Kalash with a fresh piece of coloured cloth and put a small garland around it.
Once the Ghata is prepared, place it in your Puja room on a wooden platform. Then you need to invoke the Goddess in the Kalash to invite her to your home to accept your offerings and prayers.
After invoking the Goddess (which is similar to Prana Pratishthan), you need to perform the Panchopachara Puja wherein you would be required to greet her with chandan, flowers, incense, an oil lamp and fruits or Prasad.
Check out the Ghatasthapana Timings here:
According to Drikpanchang.com, Ghatasthapana Muhurta begins at 6:31am and ends at 7:46 am .
Ghatasthapana Muhurta falls on Pratipada Tithi which begins at 6:41pm on March 17 and ends at 6:31pm on the following day.