Durga Navratri Puja is the most celebrated Hindu festival in India. During Durga Pooja, Mother Goddess Shakti is worshipped in 9 different forms. The rituals and the celebrations may vary from place to place. Durga Navaratri puja starts on Ashwin Shukla Prathami (Ashwayuja Shukla Padyami) with Kalasha Sthapana or Ghata Sthapana.
Before Ghata Sthapana, in some places Brahmin Santarpana is performed. During the nine-day festival of Durga Navratri, each day a Goddess of Navdurga is worshipped.
A Durga Navratri celebration marks the social togetherness and public connectivity in India. People celebrate Navaratri with utmost enthusiasm and devotion. In some places, first three days of Navratri puja rituals are dedicated to Goddess Durga. And the next three days to Goddess Lakshmi and the final three days are to Goddess Saraswati.
In south India, Saraswati Puja is observed on the seventh day of Navaratri which is also observed as Durga Saptami or Maha Saptami. In Bengal and other East Indian states, Durgashtami (the eighth day of Navratri) is the biggest event among Navratri festivals.
Ayudha Puja is performed on either Mahanavami or on Vijaya Dashami day. Aparajita puja and Shami Pooja are performed on Vijaya Dashami.
In Kerala, on Vijaya Dashami day, Vidyarambham or Saraswati Puja is performed. In North Indian states, Ramleela is celebrated on Vijaya Dashami day. Place to place; the worship of nine Goddesses during Durga Navratri may vary.
Ten days of Navratri, the rituals and pujas to perform and the Nine Goddesses to worship during Durga Navratri:
- First day of Navratri – Kalasha Sthapana (Kalasha Pooja) or Ghata Sthapana – Shailaputri Puja
- Second day of Navratri – Preeti Dwitiya – Brahmacharini Puja
- Third day of Navaratri – Chandrakanta pooja or Chandraghanta puja
- Fourth day of Navaratri – Kushmanda pooja
- Fifth day of Navratri – Skandamata Puja – Lalitha Panchami
- Sixth day of Navratri – Katyayani Puja – Maha Shashti or Durga Shashti
- Seventh day of Navratri – Kaalratri Pooja – Durga Saptami or Maha Sapthami
- Eighth day of Navaratri – Maha Gauri Pooja – Durgashtami Puja or Maha Ashtami or Veerashtami pooja
- Ninth day of Navaratri – Siddhidatri Puja – Mahanavami or Maharnavami or Durga Navami pooja
- Tenth day of Navratri – Aparajitha Puja or Shami Pooja – Vijaya Dashami or Dasara