New Delhi: The auspicious 9-day long festival of Navrati is knocking at the door and the preparations are in full swing. The Navratri falling in the month of September-October is called Sharad or Sharadiya Navratri - this year it begins from October 17 and will last till 25th, with Vijayadashami being celebrated on the same day or 26 (depending upon timings).
Sharad Navratri coincides with Durga Puja festivity which is a 5-day long festival, widely celebrated across the globe. It is a major festival for Bengali community. This year it begins from October 22 to 26 respectively.
Shardiya Navratri Ghatasthapana Timings:
Ashwina Ghatasthapana on Saturday, October 17, 2020
Ghatasthapana Muhurat - 06:23 AM to 10:12 AM
Duration - 03 Hours 49 Mins
Ghatasthapana Abhijit Muhurat - 11:43 AM to 12:29 PM
Duration - 00 Hours 46 Mins
Ghatasthapana Muhurta falls on Pratipada Tithi
Ghatasthapana Muhurta falls during prohibited Chitra Nakshatra
Pratipada Tithi Begins - 01:00 AM on Oct 17, 2020
Pratipada Tithi Ends - 09:08 PM on Oct 17, 2020
Chitra Nakshatra Begins - 02:58 PM on Oct 16, 2020
Chitra Nakshatra Ends - 11:52 AM on Oct 17, 2020
(according to drikpanchang.com)
On the first day of Navratri, Ghatasthapana ritual takes place, marking the beginning of the festival. It invokes the Goddess Shakti before the 9-day puja begins.
Here's how to prepare for the Ghatasthapana:
A shallow utensil with a wide mouth made of clay is often used as the base. Three layers of each of mud and seeds of Sapta Dhanya / Navadhanya (seven or nine different grains) are scattered in the pan. Water is sprinkled so that the seeds get enough moisture to thrive and germinate.
A Kalash (made of brass/copper or silver) smaller than the mouth of the claypan is filled with Ganga Jal or regular clean water. A few currency coins, supari, Akshat (Raw rice mixed with turmeric powder) and Durva grass are put in the water. Then five leaves of the mango tree are placed around the neck of the Kalash. And finally, the neck of the Kalash is covered by placing a coconut with its fibre protruding upward. Some people put raw rice, coins, dried turmeric fruit and kumkum in the Kalash instead of water.
This Kalash is then kept right in the middle of the pan filled with the mud and Navadhanya.
Then a 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 Goddess Durga in the Kalash and thus 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.
Navratri marks the victory of good over evil and Ghatashthapana hails the feminine power—Durga.
Jai Mata Di!