Beginning Navratra Navaratri Puja date in the year 2014
In the year 2014, Navratri or the fast and the puja that takes place between the Ashwin Shukla Paksha Pratipada to Navami, is going to start on 25th September and will end on 3rd October. Once the fast starts, the puja also begins. It is started by establishing a Kalash on a platform made with sand with seven colours. This platform is called the Vedi and on it there are Barley and Grains sowed. The Kalash is placed over them. If the puja is taking place in a family, the family Goddess’ image is also placed on the Kalash.
During these nine days, the nine planets are evoked and paid homage to by chanting mantras to them. This is called the Durga Saptshati Paath. During these nine days, these mantras are chanted in a thorough and religious manner. There is also an AKhand Jyoti or a lamp that is burnt on the Pratipada day and is kept on burning till the end of Navratri. The Vaishanavs worship the idol of Lord Ram during this time and at few places, they perform Ramlila at this time.
Worshiping Nine Forms of Goddess
There are two Navratra observations that are important. One is the Pratipada Tithi of Chaitra month to Navami and the other is celebrated during the Pratipada Tithi of Ashwin Shukla Paksha to the previous day of Vijayadashami. The Navratri during the Ashwin Shukla Paksha to Vijayadashami is called Sharada Navratra. This is more important than the other counterpart. However, the Mother Goddess is worshipped in both of these Navratras with same puja method.
The last day of the Sharada Navratra is the Navami tithi. Dushehra or Vijayadashami is celebrated on the next day of the Navami tithi of Navratra of Ashwin Shukla Paksha. As the nine different forms of Mother Goddes, that are Shailputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandmata, Katyayani, Kaalratri, Ma Gauri and Siddhidatri are worshipped during these nine days, it is called Navaratri.
Method of Navaratri puja
In both Navratris, that are the Shardiya navratra and the Navratra in the month of Chaitra, same procedure is followed and maintained. At first the Kalash is established and then Lord Ganesha is worshipped ta the beginning as it is believed that Lord Ganesha resides in the Kalash. After that, the other Gods like Vishnu and Lord Shiva, the nine planets etc. are worshipped.
The establishment of the Kalash is a very thorough ritual where the place is purified at first with cow dung and then Ganga Jal sprinkled all over. Then the Vedi is made and the Kalash is placed on the seven coloured sand. With a mantra for every planet, every form of the Goddess, the chanting and the yogya is done in every tithi of this session. Once the Navami tithi comes, the Kalash is removed and the sowed Barley and Grain in the sand is pulled out. In fact, an Akhand Jyoti is also lit up during this time that is not blown away till Navami comes.