Gayathri DeviNavratri and Maa Shakambari Navratra are observed in the month of Ashada in various parts of India. As this Navratri festival occurs in Ashad maas, this Navratri is also called as Ashada Navratri. Ashad Navratri and Magh Navratri are also called as Gupt Navratras. In 2016, Ashad Navratri festival starts on July 5 and ends on July 13.
Ashada Navratri – Dedicated to Goddess Varahi Devi
Ashada Navratri is very important festival for those who worship Goddess Varahi, one of the Saptha Matrukas (Seven Mothers) who helped Devi in slaying the demons Shumbha and Nishumbha.
During Ashad Navratri, Goddess Gayathri Devi is worshipped as the main deity in her Navdurga forms (9 avatars). In some regions Maa Shakambari Devi is worshipped for nine festive nights with utmost devotion. In Viajayawada Kanaka Durga Temple, Badrakali Temple in Warangal (Andhra Pradesh) Shakambari Navratras are celebrated jubilantly. Ashada Navratri are celebrated as Guhya Navratri in Himachal Pradesh.
Four Devi Navratra Festivals
Durga Navratri (Maha Navratri or Sharad Navratri oe Devi Sharan Navratri) is the major festival for Hindus which is observed in the Hindu month of Ashwayuja (Ashwin). All four Navratras (Ashwin Navratri, Vasant Navratra, Ashad Navratri and Magh Navratra) are dedicated to the Mother Goddess Shakti. During every Navratri festival, one thing is similar that Goddess Durga (Navdurga) is worshipped for nine days in her nine forms or manifestations, each day an avatar.
All the rituals and customs followed during Ashada Navratri are similar to that of Durga Navratri festival.