Kumari Puja or Kanjak Ashtami puja is an important ritual observed during Navratri Durga Puja. In 2016, Kumari Puja date is October 9, Durga Ashtami. In some regions, it is observed on Mahanavami i.e. October 10.
Kumari Puja is worshipping young girls who have not attained puberty. Durga or any other Mother Goddess is equal to the universal energy. To celebrate and honor the energy vested in virgin girl and to support them with some offerings, Kumari Puja is performed.
Kumari Puja is a must observed ritual in any other pujas. In some places, nine girls attired in the forms of nine Goddesses of Navratri are worshipped on Kanjak Ashtami. Starting from the age of 2, the girls are referred to as Kumaris for Kumari Puja. The girls are named with different names as per their age.