Tarashtami (Tara Mahavidya Jayanti) is the first appearance day of Goddess Tara, the second Devi in Dasamahavidya Goddesses. Also known as Neel Saraswati, Goddess Tara is the guide and protector who saves and offers the ultimate knowledge. In 2017, Tara Ashtami date is April 5.
It falls on Ashtami in Shukla Paksha of Chaitra month. It is Durga Ashtami Navratri puja as part of Vasant Navratri.
Goddess Tara is known as the tantric manifestation of Mahadevi Kali (Goddess Parvati / Shakti). As per some Hindu scholars, ‘Paranasabari’ is another name for Tara Devi.
The origin of Tara Mahavidya is associated with the Samutra Manthan (churning of the ocean). With the effect of the most dangerous ‘Halahala’ (poison), Lord Shiva became unconscious. To recover him from the most adverse situation, Tara Mata appeared at him and feed her milk and in return she took the Halahala. Hence, Lord Shiva and the Goddess had become ‘Neelakantha’ and ‘Neela Saraswati’ respectively.