Today, 31 March 2014, Chaitra Navratri (Vasant Navratri) begins. Navratri March-April ends on April 8.
Chaitra Navratras starts on the first day in Chaitra month and ends on Sri Rama Navami, the ninth day of the month. The first of Chaitra month is celebrated as Ugadi or Yugadi.
Navratri Pratipada is the Hindu New Year day as per the calendars of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra. Chaitra Navratri is very popular festive season in North Indian states like Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, etc.
Durgashtami or Durga Ashtami in Navratri is the most auspicious day for Durga puja. Durga Ashtami 2014 date in this Navratri is April 7.
As per the legends mentioned in the Puranas and other Hindu scriptures, Chaitra Navratri is the actual Navratri during which Goddess Durga was worshipped. But during the time of Ramayan war, Lord Sri Ram worshipped Durga at the time of Ashwin month. Since then, Ashwin Navratri or Durga Navratri has become the main festive season to worship the Goddess.
Chaitra Navratri is also called as Vasant Navratri or Basant Navratri. This festival marks the beginning of Vasant ruthu (spring season). It is also called as Sri Rama Navratras. Sri Ram Navratri ends on Ram Navami festival.