Guwahati: The festive season is here and it starts with the auspicious occasion of Navratri, the nine days of festivities to welcome Goddess Durga, which begins from today (October 7).

It is said that on the first day of Navratri, Goddess Durga arrives from heaven to the earth. These nine days have a lot of importance in the Hindu religion.

In Navratri, the nine forms of the Goddess are worshiped with pomp and each day is dedicated to one of her avatars.  Every day a devotee is blessed by worshiping different forms of Goddess.

As such, the first day of the festival begins with Shailputri puja. This year, the festivities begin on October 7 and end on October 15.

According to Hindu mythology, Goddes Shailputri was born after Goddess Sati self-immolated herself. Also known as Parvati — the daughter of Himalaya — Goddess Shailputri is worshipped on the first day of the Navratri across the country. 

Typically, she is depicted as riding a bull. While on one hand, she holds her trident, on the other she holds a lotus flower. Goddess Shailputri is also referred to as ‘Hemavati’. She is the most important of all the nine forms of Durga, which is why she is worshipped on the very first day. Just like Goddess Sati, Shailputri, too, is married to Lord Shiva.

According to Drik Panchang, it is believed that Goddess Shailputri governs the moon — the provider of all fortunes.

Puja and mantra

In order to worship the goddess, decorate her idol with jasmine flowers, and chant the following mantra:

Shailputri Mantras

 देवी शैलपुत्र्यै नमः॥

Om Devi Shailaputryai Namah

वन्दे वाञ्छितलाभाय चन्द्रार्धकृतशेखराम्।

वृषारूढां शूलधरां शैलपुत्रीं यशस्विनीम्॥

Vande Vanchhitalabhaya Chandrardhakritashekharam

Vrisharudham Shuladharam Shailaputrim Yashasvinim

या देवी सर्वभूतेषु माँ शैलपुत्री रूपेण संस्थिता। नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः॥

Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu Maa Shailaputri Rupena Samsthita

Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah

Kalash Sthapana or Ghatasthapana (Muhurth)

Ghatasthapana is the invocation of Goddess Shakti and is one of the most important rituals during Navratri marking the beginning of the nine-day festival.

The most auspicious time for Ghatasthapana is first one third of the day while Pratipada is prevailing. If due to some reasons this time is not available then Ghatasthapana can be done during Abhijit Muhurta. It should be ideally done before Hindu midday while Pratipada is prevailing, according to Drikpanchang.

The muhurat for Ghatasthapana on October 7, Thursday, is between 06:17 am to 07:07 am, as per Drikpanchang. The Abhijit Muhurat will be from 11:45 am to 12:32 pm.

During the Ghatasthapana puja, a pot is installed at a sanctified place at home and a lamp is kept lit in the pot for nine days. While the pot symbolizes the universe, the uninterrupted flame of the lamp symbolizes Durga.

The items which are considered holy are used during Ghatasthapana. Mud and Navadhanya seeds are placed in a pan to which water is added. A kalasha filled with ganga jal and some coins, supari, akshat (raw rice and turmeric powder) is put in the water. Then five leaves of the mango tree are placed around the Kalash, and then it is covered with a coconut.