According to the Amavasyant calendar, the first day of Chaitra Sankranti marks the Hindu New Year and this year it starts on April 13.
Navratri is one Hindu festival that is celebrated with great pomp in all parts of the country. Although the raging pandemic has dampened the spirit of the devotees to participate in any kind of celebration, the Navratri vrata is something most North Indian households observe to invoke the Adi Shakti. It is to seek her blessing to ward off all the negativity and seek happiness. Chaitra Navratri 2021 starts today, April 13 and ends after nine days on April 22. In many states, it falls during the spring harvest and in others after the harvest.
Devotees of Adi Shakti observes Sharadiya Navratri four times a year with each season. The Ashwin Navaratri that falls during the autumn season, is the most celebrated occasion for the disciples but next in order of popularity is the Chaitra Navratri. This year it starts on April 13 and devotees will keep a 9-day fast each day worshipping a form of the Devi.
Significance of Chaitra Navratri
According to the Amavasyant calendar, the first day of Chaitra Sankranti marks the Hindu New Year. Goddess Durga represents Shakti or the feminine force. Devotees worship her in nine forms Shailputri, Chandraghanta, Brahmacharini, Skanda Mata, Kushmanda, Maha Gauri, Katyayani, Kalaratri, Siddhidatri. Often hailed as the destroyer of evil, she was born to eliminate demonic king Mahishasura with her trident.
The Hindu calendar also has a lunar new year, which is religiously more significant. The solar cycle year is significant in Punjabi, Assamese, Odia, Tamil, Malayalam and Bengali calendars.
Chaitra Navratri commences on the Pratipada Tithi , Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of Moon) and concludes with Ram Navami (the birth anniversary of Shri Rama.)Devotees light the Akhand Jyoti to seek the Goddess’ blessings and invite prosperity.
Chaitra Navratri is known as Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra, while in Kashmir it is Navreh. This year it falls a day ahead of the Maghi Bihu, Pongal and Bengali new year.
Navaratri Puja timings
Ghatasthapana, also known as Kalash Sthapana or Kalashsthapana is one of the significant rituals during Navratri and is performed by fasting members early in the morning after cleaning the home and taking the holy bath. The first one-third of the day while Pratipada is prevailing, is the most auspicious time for Ghatastapana. It can also be done during Abhijit Muhurta but never at night time or on Amavasya.
The Ghatasthapana puja, Chandra Darshan will take place on April 13, 2021 – the first day of Chaitra Navratri. The Ghatasthapana auspicious muharat falls between 5.58 AM to 10.14 AM. The Ghatastapana Muharat falls on Pratipada tithi. The pratipada tithi falls between 8 AM on April 12 and 10.16 on April 13, 2021.
The Ghatasthapana is done before offering prayers to the first form of Navdurga, Goddess Shaiputri. The earthen or brass pot represents Shakti or the source of the creation of feminine power. Coconut, mango leaves, haldi, Chandan, flowers, clean Soil to sow seeds of seven different grains or Saptadanya, ganga jal, sacred thread, scent, coins, betel nuts, red cloth to cover the kalsh or brass vessel are used to perform ghatasthapana during which the Goddess is invoked and worshipped for nine days.
On the first day of Navratri, Goddess Shilaputri, daughter of the mountains who wears a moon on her forehaed and mounts a bull is worshipped followed by Brahmacharini on the second day.
The Akhand Jyoti is ignited in the centre of the Ashtadal (right side of the temple of the mother goddess. The Akhand Jyoti is kept lit for nine days until the vrat ends. Akhand Jyoti represent the absence of darkness and ignorance