Navratri puja is one of the most popular pujas done by Hindu households. Navratri puja is dedicated worshiping Maa Durga and is said to confer great merits and prosperity to the observers. Here is an easy to do Navratri puja vidhi for those who wish to perform it in their homes.
General rules for Navratri puja
Navratri puja is a great occasion to connect with the most merciful Maa Durga, the embodiment of all powers, wisdom, compassion, and glory. Therefore take the puja very seriously and exhibit full devotion, concentration and love. Keep the puja place very clean and serene. Purity of the mind and body is very important during the puja. Since the Navratri puja stretches over nine days, it is advised that on all the nine days of the Navratri puja, follow the same time schedule and do the puja once in the morning and once in the evening.
Materials required for Navratri Puja
Picture or idol of Maa Durgaa, a clay pot with fertile soil for sowing seeds, barley seeds, water, kalash, coconut, a piece of red cloth, a bunch of mango leaves, flowers, coin, altar for the idol or picture, red cloth to spread on the altar, sacred thread, raw rice, fragrances, flowers, incense sticks, clay lamp with ghee and wicks, dishes to offer, camphor, matchbox, puja plate, roli for tilak, bell, kutu flour, chana, wheat flour, sugar, ghee, potato and fruits.
Preparations for Navratri Puja
Set up the altar, spread the red cloth on it, place the idol or picture of Maa Durga. In a few plates, spread all the puja items and keep ready. Near the altar, place the clay pot with soil and sprinkle water. Sow the barley seeds in it. The Ghat sthapana must be done during the right Muhurat consulting the panchaang.
Fill the Kalash with Gangal jal or clean drinking water. On the mouth of the Ghat, place the bunch of mango leaves. Wrap the coconut the red cloth and tie moil around it. Place it on the lid of the kalash. Depending on the custom in your locality, the Ghat can be placed on or near the clay pot.
Invocation for Navratri Puja
Light the lamp and incense sticks. Do the invocation of all the sacred rivers in the Ghat and ask them to purify the palce of puja, the Ghat and be installed in the Ghat for the nine days during the puja. Pray all the gods to be installed in the place of worship. Offer Panchopachaar to the deities invoked (this means worshipping with five materials including scent, flower, incense smoke, camphor light and dishes cooked.
Maa Durga invocation
Install the picture of Maa Durga on the red cloth spread on the altar. Tie moil around the picture. Chant Maa Durga Mantras and invite her presence in the altar and request her to stay with you accepting the puja over the nine days. Repeat the Panchoopachaar (five offerings) to Maa Durga.
Maa Durga Gayatri
Kaatyaayanaaya Vidmahe Kanya Kumari Dheemahi —- Tanno Durgi Prachaodayaat… After offering the five things, stand up in the place and perform Maa Durga arati with camphor flame. Wave the arati to Maa Durga, Ghat and the deities present in the ghat.
Navratri fasting rules
If you prefer, you can observe fasting over the nine days of Navratri in the prescribed manner. the specific food eaten once a day in the evening alone by those observing the nine day fast is called as Saagaar.
Eighth and ninth day Navratri puja
On the eighth and ninth days, the same customary puja is repeated. Following the puja, invite small girls in a group for partaking food at your home. When they enter the house, wash their feet with water and offer them a comfortable seat inside the home.
It is a popular belief that Maa Durga visits the households in the form of these little girls to accept the worship done. Serve them with some delicious food and items that they will love to eat. After the finish eating, put Tilak on their forehead and present them with nice gifts.
Ghat visarjan on Navratri
After the nine days puja is over, the visarjan or conclusion is done on the tenth day. On the tenth day, clean yourself and be seated in the puja place. Take some flowers and raw rice in your hands and chant the following prayer:
“Oh, respected and beloved gods, we thank you for accepting our humble invitation to visit our home, stay over the nine days and bless the puja. We dedicate the nine days puja to you with full devotion and love. Now you may please leave for your divine abodes and visit us when we pray you again.” Offer the flowers and raw rice to the deities. Slightly move the ghat as a mark of conclusion.
Thank Maa Durga
Now follow the same procedure to thank Maa Durga for visiting your home and accepting the puja using the same format of the mantra given above. Remove the picture or idol of Maa Durga from the altar and place it back in the original permanent place.
Settling the offerings and puja materials
Gather all the offerings found on the altar. Distribute them as Prasad or use them as you please. Collect the raw rice on the lid of the ghat and give it to birds. The Ganga jal in the sacred pot can be sprinkled on the heads of all the family members and in all places of the household. Take out the coins and keep them along with your other money.
It is usually a customary practice to observe the growth of the barley in the clay pot. If the barley seeds have sprouted and grown in fresh green color in abundance, it is a sure sign that your household will be blessed with prosperity and happiness. Luck some sprouts and offer it to Maa Durga. Place the clay pot near a peepal tree. Use the ghat for any purpose you want.
Navratri Puja benefits
Navratri puja is a simple but highly significant and beneficial puja to be performed by the households with devotion year on year. You can do the puja in the same manner for Shard Navratri as well as Chaitra Navratri. Households doing the puja sincerely will be blessed with abundance, wealth, health, happiness and peace.