The nine-day long festival of Navratri began on September 29 this year which means that today is Ashtami. On Ashtami, many people perform a special Kanjak puja in which young girls are called. Devotees then wash their feet, perform the puja, offer them prasad and also give some cute gifts. These young girls are seen as a manifestation of Durga.
Durga, who represents the feminine form, is worshipped in nine forms and each day is dedicated to one of her avatars.
On the eighth day of Navaratri, devotees worship the Maha Gauri form of Goddess Durga. She is an avatar of Devi Parvati, divine consort of lord Shiva.
Unlike Kalratri, who is ferocious, Maha Gauri is calm and compassionate. She is depicted in white clothes and mounted on a bull. It is believed that anyone who worships the goddess gets relief from all the sufferings in life.
You can chant this mantra to seek Maa Maha Gauri’s blessings:
श्वेते वृषे समारुढा श्वेताम्बरधरा शुचिः।
महागौरी शुभं दद्यान्महादेवप्रमोददा॥
Shweta Vrishe Samarudha Shwetambardhara Shuchi
Maha Gauri Shubham Dadhyana Mahadev Pramodda