Navratri Puja: Mantras and Vidhi
1. Navratri Festival
Navratri festival is dedicated to worshipping the nine forms of Durga. Every day during the nine days of navratri, one particular form is made the central deity and pujas are performed with the chanting of the mantra meant for the specific deity.
2. Navrati Puja
The usual and routine navrati puja can be done in the regular fashion on all these nine days, while the specific mantra is chanted for the corresponding deity of the day. The altar is decorated ith flowers and garlands. Lamp is lit and the customary puja is performed with some offerings. At the end, camphor is waved and prasad is distributed to the attendees and family members.
3. First Day: Shilaputri
The first day is meant to worship Shilaputri, the daughter of mountains. She is highly effulgent comparable to crores of moons and rides on a bull. She carries a trident and wears a half-moon on her forehead. Her Mantra is Om Devi Shailputryai Swaha Vande Vanchhit Laabhaay, Chandrardhkritshekharaam | Vrisharudham Shooldharaam Shailputriim Yashaswinim ||
4. Second Day: Brahmacharini
The second day is dedicated to worship Brahmacharini, the goddess who is a spinster and the form of knowledge. She carries a rosary and kamandalu in her hands. She gives eternal bliss and the knowledge of the supreme self. Her Mantra is Om Devi Brahmcharinyai Namah Dadhaanaa Kar Padmaabhyaamakshmala Kamandaloo | Devi Prasidatu Mayi Brahmcharinyanuttamaa.
5. Third Day: Chandraghanta
The third day is meant to worship Brahmacharini, who rides a tiger and carries a huge bell in her hand with a forehead adorned with half moon. Her mantra is Om Devi Chandraghantayayi Namah Pindaj Pravaarudh chandkopastrkairyuta | Prasadam Tanute Madhyam Chandraghanteti vishrutaa ||
6. Fourth Day: Kushmanda
The fourth day is dedicated to the worship of Kushmanda, the creator of the universe. She rides on a lion and carries seven weapons and a rosary in her eight hands. Her mantra is Om Devi Kushmandayayi Namah Suraasampoorna Kalasham Rudhiraaplutamev Cha | Dadhaanaa Hastpadmaabhyaam Kushmanda Shubhdaastu Me ||
7. Fifth Day: Skandmata
The fifth day is meant for the worship of Skandamata, the mother of Lord Subrahmanya or Karthikeya. She rides on a lion and has the six faced Skanda on her laps. Her mantra is Om Devi Skandmatayayi Namah Sinhaasangataam Nityam Padmaanchit Kardwayaa | Shubhdaastu Sadaa Devi Skandmata Yashaswini ||
8. Sixth Day: Katyayani
On the sixth day, goddess Kathyayani is worshipped, who manifested as a result of the prayers of sage Katyayan. She rides on a lion, carries ten weapons, has three eyes and a half moon on her forehead. Her mantra is Om Devi Katyayanyayi Namah Chandrahaasojjval Karaa Shaardoolvarvaahanaa | Katyayani Shubham Dadyaad Devi Daanavghatini ||
9. Seventh Day: Kalratri
Seventh day puja is meant to please Kalrathri who is a strange incarnation of the mother in which she has removed all her golden skin and looks shiny black. She is naked and rides on an ass. She carries a torch and sword with blessing and boon giving poses. Her mantra is Om Devi Kalratryayi Namah Ekveni Japakarnpoora Nagna Kharaasthita | Lamboshthi Karnika karni Tailaabhyaktshariirini || Vaam Paadollasallohlata Kantakbhushanaa | Bardhan Moordham Dhwajaa Krishnaa Kalratrirbhayankari ||
10. Eighth Day: Mahagauri
On the eighth day, Mahagauri is worshipped. She is youthful in her sixteenth year and rides on a bull holding trident and a damaru. She wears white clothes and her countenance is like that of the cool moon. Her mantra is Om Devi Mahagauryayi Namah Shwete Vrishesamarudha Shwetaambardhara Shuchih | Mahagauri Shubham Dadyanmahadev Pramodadaa ||
11. Ninth Day: Siddhidatri
On the ninth day, Durga is worshipped with the name Siddhidatri. This manifestation occurred when the mother entered the half body of Lord Shiva. She is seated on a red lotus and rides on a lion too. She holds conch, discuss, mace and a lotus in her four hands. Her mantra is Om Devi Siddhidatryayi Namah Siddha Gandharva Yakshdyairasurairamarairapi | Sevyamaanaa Sadabhuyaat Siddhida Siddhidayini ||
12. Navratri puja in different ways
On the ninth day, the worship of Siddhidatri is considered to give the fulfilment of the Navratri puja with a lot of blessings. On this day, 5 to 12 girls are invited and their feet is washed with pure water and decorated with turmeric and vermilion. They are given a specially prepared food treating them equal to goddess Durga. After the food, they are gifted with money, gifts, cosmetic items and clothes. It is believed that whatever is given to them reaches goddess Durga herself.
13. Navratri days Benefits
Reading of Durga Saptasati over the nine days is considered highly auspicious and beneficial to the devotees especially on Navratri days. For this purpose, this holy book is purchased anew from the shop and decorated and kept on the altar for puja on the first day. The chapters are divided into nine parts and each of the parts is read on the consecutive days completing the whole in course of the nine day worship.
14. Durga Saptasati
Durga Saptasati carries the divine assurance of Mother Durga herself in which she states that whosoever reads the holy text containing the braveries of the divine mother in the battlefield will be abundantly blessed and their lives will be freed of hurdles and difficulties. People visit the houses where the Navratri puja is performed and it is believed that Navratri puja is one of the most beneficial kinds of pujas observed in India. Navratri is the celebration of education, wisdom, skills, devotion, fine arts, culture and values on the whole.