Navratri is a long nine days festival which is purely dedicated to nine forms of Goddess Shakti. There are four important Navratris celebrated in a year as per traditional Hindu lunar calendar. They are Chaitra Navratri, Ashadha Navratri, Shaaradiya Navratri and the Magh Navratri. Of these, the Chaitra Navratri and the Shaaradiya Navratri are the most important. And other two is observed only by shaktas and are known as ‘Gupt Navratri’.
The navratri which falls in Chaitra month is known as Chaitra Navratri. It begins on first day of Chaitra month and ends on the ninth day which is also celebrated as the Birthday of Lord Ram. Chaitra Navratri is also known as Vasant Navratri or Basant Navratri or Ram Navratri. It also marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year.
As Chaitra Navratri falls on the first day of the Hindu New Year, this period is considered not only good for any auspicious work but also bring prosperity with purchase of Land, buildings, vehicles and jewellery. Most customs, Pooja Vidhi, Ghatasthapana and rituals for Shardiya Navratri and Chaitra Navratri is same.
During these nine days, devotees all across the country worship Maa Durga. The Chaitra Navratri is usually observed in the Northern part of India, specifically in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand. In Maharashtra Chaitra Navratri begins with Gudi Padwa and in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka it begins with Ugadi.
Chaitra Navratri begins on the first day of the Shukla Paksh of the first month Chaitra of Hindu New Year according to Hindu Luni-Solar calendar and falls in the month of March or April during Vasant Ritu. It is observed from Tuesday, 28th March 2017 and will end on Wednesday, 5th April 2017.
Chaitra Navratri dates to be observed:
28th March 2017- (1st Day) – Ghatsthapana, Shailputri Pooja
29th March 2017- (2nd Day) – Dwitiya, Chandra Darshan, Brahmacharini Pooja
30th March 2017- (3rd Day) – Tritiya, Chandraghanta Pooja
31st March 2017- (4th Day) – Chaturthi, Kushmanda Pooja
1st April 2017- (5th Day) – Panchami, Skandamata Pooja
2nd April 2017- (6th Day) – Shashthi, Katyayani Pooja
3rd April 2017- (7th Day) – Saptami, Kalaratri Pooja
4th April 2017- (8th Day) – Ashtami, Sri Durga Ashtami, Sandhi Pooja
5th April 2017- (9th Day) – Navami, Ram Navami
Navratri festival combines ritualistic pooja and fasting and is accompanied by splendid celebrations for nine consecutive days and nights. Chaitra Navratri is one of the most important festivals of Hindus. Devotees worship Maa Shakti, Goddess of cosmic power, during this time and wish to be bestowed by divine blessing from Goddess. Prayers are offered to the divine Mother followed by Aarti. Prayers include chanting of Durga Saptshati. Reciting ‘Durga Stotra’, “Durga saptshati” & ‘Chandipath’ during Navratri is considered highly auspicious. The 108 names of the Goddesses are chant with proper Pooja rituals, japas, and hymns during Navratri. The Chaitra Navratri Parana is done when Navami
Tithi is over and Dashami Tithi prevails.
Mantra to recite during Navratri:
“Ya devi sarva bhutesu, shanti rupena sansitha
Ya devi sarva bhutesu, shakti rupena sansthita
Ya devi sarva bhutesu, matra rupena sansthita
Namastasyai, namastasyai, namastasyai, namo namaha”