Chaitra Navaratri has special significance. During the nine days of Navratri devotees worship nine forms of Maa Durga. On Navratri’s Ashtami puja, Maa Gauri is worshiped. According to Hindu rituals, it is said that more than nine girls are worshiped on the 9th day of Navaratri.
These girls are called ‘kanjak’ as they are considered as nine forms of Goddess Durga. On this day, the girls are given halwa, poori and chole (also known as ‘bhog’) and gifts are distributed. At the same time, a child is also worshiped on this day called as Langoor.
Importance of Maa Durga Ashtami in Navaratri:
The Mahagauri form of the eighth Durga of Navaratri is worshiped. The meaning of Gauri is beautiful. Because of this, this form of Maa Durga is called Maa Gauri. Some devotees worship Maa Gauri to get rid of their sins while some worship her to fulfill their wishes.
It is also said that worship of Durga is not complete without the vision of Bhairav. In the same way, it is very important for a child to feed his daughter in the same way.
In Bengal and adjacent states especially, Durga Ashtami holds immense significance in Durga Puja celebrations. Devotees adorn themselves in new clothes and gather in the pandals early in the morning. Several pandals also follow the practice of offering a special ‘Ashtami Bhog’. Among all three days of Durga Puja, (Navami, Ashtami and Dashmi), there is a ritual of serving delicious bhog to the devotees on large scale. Khichdi, mixed vegetable, papad, tomato chutney, roshogolla and payesh are some of the staples you would find in a typical Durga Puja bhog. On the day of Ashtami, the bhog has special additions most common being rice in place of khichdi,chana dal, a curry of paneer, mixed vegetables, begun bhaja, tomato chutney, papad, rajbhog and the delectable payesh.
Auspicious time for Ashtami Puja 2017:
Ashtami Tithi begins=7:08 PM on 27th September 2017
Ashtami Tithi Ends=9:36 PM on 28th September 2017