Ghatasthapana is one of the significant rituals performed during Navratri. It marks the beginning of nine days of festivity. Hindu scriptures have well-defined rules and guidelines to perform Ghatasthapana at the beginning of Navratri. Ghatasthapana is an invocation of Goddess Shakti. Ghatasthapana is prohibited during Amavasya and night time. Chaitra Navratri is an auspicious Hindu festival which is dedicated to Goddess Durga. This festival holds lots of importance for the entire Hindu community. Navratri symbolises victory over evil. The occasion of Chaitra Navratri begins with Ghatasthapana, a traditional ritual.
Significance of Chaitra Navratri Ghatasthapana:
Devotees worship Goddess Durga and her various forms, including Sailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skanda Mata, Katyayani, Kalaratri, Maha Gowri and Siddhidayini. Before the festival begins, the devotees start preparing various cuisines to celebrate this auspicious festival. The entire Navratri festival is all about praying, fasting as well as savouring delicacies, dancing and worshipping for the nine days.
Chaitra Navratri symbolises the beginning of the Hindu New Year. It also marks the beginning of the spring season. Devotees worship the three manifestations of Goddess Shakti, i.e., Durga, Saraswati and Lakshmi to seek their divine blessings.
The word Navratri is derived from ‘Nav’ means nine and ‘Ratri’ means night in Sanskrit. Navratri’ is a celebration of nine nights where nine forms of Goddesse are worshipped. Chaitra Navratri falls in the month of Chaitra. According to some popular legends, devotees believe that Goddess Durga killed demon Mahishasura. Hence, Goddess Durga also known as Goddess Kali is represented as a symbol of Shakti, the ultimate strength. It is believed that Devi Durga has eternal divine power, which can neither be created nor destroyed.
Praying and fasting are the main objectives of the Chaitra-Navratri celebrations. Before the start of the celebrations, the house is cleaned. The devotees perform the puja and observe fast for nine days. While fasting, only ‘satvik’ food like potatoes, ‘kuttu flour,’ curd and fruits are allowed. Consumption of non-vegetarian food and use of onion and garlic is strictly prohibited. Devotees should also monitor their behaviour. They spend their day worshipping the Goddess and chanting the Navratri mantras. The fast is broken on a ninth day after the ‘havan.’
During the Navratri, Goddess Shakti manifests herself in three forms, namely, Goddess Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. The puja rituals of Navratri are categorised in a set of three days. Each set is dedicated to a particular Goddess. The first three days of Chaitra Navratri are dedicated to Maa Durga, the Goddess of energy. The next three days, Devi Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, is worshipped and the last three days are devoted to Devi Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge.
Day 1 – Pratipada – The rituals of ‘Ghatasthapana,’ ‘Chandra Darshan’ and ‘Shilputri Puja are performed.
Day 2 – Dwitiya – the rituals of the ‘Sindhara Dooj’ and ‘Brahmacharini Puja’ are conducted.
Day 3 – Teej is celebrated as ‘Gauri Teej’ or ‘Sauhagya Teej.’ The main ritual is ‘Chandraghanta Puja’.
Day 4 – Chaturthi is also known as ‘Varad Vinayaka Chauth.’ On this day the devotees observe ‘Kushmanda Puja’.
Day 5 – Panchami is referred as ‘Lakshmi Panchami.’ ‘Naag Puja’ and ‘Skandamata Puja’ are observed on this day.
Day 6 – Shashthi is known as ‘Yamuna Chat’ or ‘Skanda Sasthi.’ ‘Katyayani Puja’ is performed on the sixth day.
Day 7 – Saptami day is celebrated as ‘Maha Saptami’ and the ‘Kalratri Puja’ is performed.
Day 8 – Ashtami is the main day, also known as ‘Durga Ashtami’ or ‘Annapurna Ashtami’. ‘Mahagauri Puja’ and ‘Sandhi Puja’ are performed.
Day 9 – Navami is the last day of the Navratri festivity and it is observed as ‘Rama Navami.’ ‘Siddhidatri Maha Puja’ is performed on a ninth day.