On the eighth day of Navratri, Mahagauri is worshipped. The nine-day festival of Chaitra Navratri began on April 13 and will end on Ram Navami, on April 21. Nav Durga is worshipped in various forms over the course of the nine-day festival.
The eighth day of Chaitra Navratri is dedicated to the worship of Maha Gauri
In honor of Navratri’s eighth day, devotees pay homage to Goddess Durga in her Mahagauri form. She is a reincarnation of Lord Shiva’s consort, Devi Parvati. When compared to Kalratri’s ferociousness, Maha Gauri’s calmness and compassion are a welcome contrast. She’s riding a bull, all white and elegantly attired. Anyone who pays homage to the goddess is said to be granted relief from all of life’s difficulties.
A four-handed goddess appears in this avatar, holding a trident in her right lower hand while her right upper arm is relaxed. Her left upper arm bears a tambourine (Damaru), and her right lower arm bears a blessing. She’s riding a bull, lion, or tiger, depending on the image.
The trident, lotus, and drum are held by the first three hands, while a blessing gesture is made by the fourth. The lotus can occasionally be replaced with a rosary if that’s what the wearer prefers. She’s riding a white bull while wearing an all-white outfit.
CHANT MAHAGAURI MANTRAS
ॐ देवी महागौर्यै नमः॥
Om Devi Mahagauryai Namah॥
श्वेते वृषे समारुढा श्वेताम्बरधरा शुचिः।
महागौरी शुभं दघान्महादेवप्रमोददा॥
Shweta Vrishe Samarudha Shwetambardhara Shuchi
Maha Gauri Shubham Dadhyana Mahadev Pramodda
पूर्णन्दु निभां गौरी सोमचक्रस्थितां अष्टमं महागौरी त्रिनेत्राम्।
वराभीतिकरां त्रिशूल डमरूधरां महागौरी भजेम्॥
Poornandu Nibhaan Gauri Somachakrasthitaan Ashtaman Mahagauri Trinetraam
Varaabheetikaraan Trishool Damaroodharaan Mahagauti Bhajem
Mahagauri is white in colour, therefore the name – Maha means great and Gauri stands for the colour white.
Durga Ashtami Puja falls on Chaitra and Shukla Ashtami, respectively
To begin the day, devotees take a bath, change their clothes, and offer a prayer to Durga Ashtami, who is worshipped as her Mahagauri avatar. It ends with a traditional Bhog of puri, halwa (Indian sweetened milk), and black chana (dark chickpeas), as well as red Chunari (scarlet hair), bangles (Indian jewelry), and all kinds of cosmetics (Mehendi cone, vermillion, and so on).
The Navratri ritual of Kanjak puja, also known as Kanya puja, is highly revered. Fasting festival-goers are expected to take part in this ritual. Only after praying for the nine little girls, known as Kanjaks, does the devotee break the fast and receive the Bhog along with a gift, red Chunari, bangles, or money as a token of love from the community. Nine little girls will receive Bhog and gifts in addition to praying for one young boy.
To make matters worse, most temples are either closed to the public or only allow a limited number of visitors due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. Because of this, the puja should be performed at home, and prayers should be made to the goddess for the safety and well-being of all those who participate.