Worshipping Nav Durga, nine incarnations of goddess in Navratri

Durga Puja in Bengal

Durga Puja in Ahiritola, West Bengal
Durga Puja in Ahiritola, West Bengal | Source

Chaitra and Ashwin Navratri


The word Navratri means nine nights. Navratri also spelled and pronounced as Nava (Nine) Ratri (Nights) or Navratra is a major religious festival in India. Navratri is a nine days celebration to worship nine incarnations of Devi Durga. Hindu community worship Durga as goddess of energy (power). Durga is wife of Lord Shiva in form of Parvati.

Navratri comes twice in a year in the lunar months of Chaitra and Ashwin. Navratri that comes in Chaitra is called Chaitra Navratri or Chaitra Navratra. It is also called Gupt Navratri. Chaitra Navaratri starts from the first day of the bright fortnight of Indian lunar month Chaitra.

The day is called Chaitra Shukla Pratipada. Chaitra Shukla Pratipada is also the Indian New Year day according to Vikram Samvat. It is celebrated as Bharatiya Nava Varsh in north India and as Ugadi in Andhra and Telangana region.

Chaitra Navaratri normally falls in March or April in Gregorian calendar. Navratri that comes in the lunar month of Ashwina is called Ashwin Navratri or Ashwina Navaratra. It comes genarally in the month of September or October in English calendar.

Nav Durga Stuti by Anuradha Paudwal

Nav Durga: Nine incarnations of Devi Durga


Devi Durga is Goddess of Shakti (Strength, power, energy) in India. Sanatan Hindu worship her in different forms such as Sati, Parvati, Annapoorna, Mahishasurmardini etc. Godess Durga had had nine incarnations according to Hindu mythology. Durga Puja of West Bengal is famous worldwide.

Hindu people worship these nine incarnations of Durga or nine forms of Shakti by fasting and performing other rituals as prescribed in sacred texts during nine days of Navratri.

Nine incarnations or forms of Devi Durga are as follow:

1. Shailaputri

The Navratri festival begins with worship of Durga in form of Shailaputri where Shaila means mountain and Putri means daughter. (Daughter of Mountain, the Himalaya).

Devi Durga is considered as a daughter of Himalaya. Shailaputri is the first among nine Durgas. Other name of Shailaputri is Parvati. Parvati or Shailaputri worshiped Lord Shiva to be his wife. Lord Shiva, being satisfied with her devotion and sacrifice married her.

2. Brahmacharini

Hindus worship Durga as Brahmacharini in the second day of Navratri. Here Brahma means Tapa (Penance), Charini means who performs. Hence, meaning of Brahmacharini is who performs or observe penance. Devarshi Narad inspired her to perform penance to get Lord Shiva as her husband and she did accordingly. She is also known as Uma.

3. Chandraghanta

Chandraghanta form of Shakti devi Durga is worshipped in the third day of navratri. Chandra means the moon. Chandraghanta carries a half circular moon in her forehead, hence called with that name. Her golden color body and three eyed face are charming and bright . She holds weapons in her ten hands and sited on a lion. Chandraghanta form of Shakti is ready to fight all evils, demons and danavas.

4. Kushmanda

Kushmanda means pumpkin. The fourth form of Durga loves offering of pumpkins. Hence, the name Kushmanda became famous. It is told that she creates the universe. This image has eight hands, holding seven types of weapons and a Rosary. Hindu community worship devi Kushmanda on the fourth day of Navaratri.

5. Skanda Mata

Fifth name of Durga is Skanda Mata having white color, four hands and three eyes,seated on a lotus. Skanda Mata is worshiped in fifth day of navratri. Skanda, General of gods’ army, is son of Devi Durga and Lord Shiva. Hence Durga is also worshiped as Skand Mata where mata means mother. She holds Skanda in her lap.

6. Katyayani

Sixth form of goddess Durga is Katyayani. Rishi Katyayan had observed penance and get Parama Shakti as his daughter. As a daughter of Katyayan, she is referred as Katyayani . She has three eyes and eight hands and seated on a lion. Katyayani is worshipped on the sixth day of Navratri.

7. Kalratri

Hindus worship horrifying image of Durga as Kalratri on Maha Saptami, the Seventh night of Navratri. Here Kal means death and Ratri means night. Kalratri is black as darkness of night, hairs unlocked, three dazzling and rounded eyes and flames coming out of her nostrils. She stands on a Shava (dead body) with a sharp sword in her right hand and a burning torch (mashal) is in the left. She blesses with her lower hands in fearless style. She is known as Shubhamkari while auspicious.

8. Maha Gauri

Maha Gauri, form of Durga as eight years old virgin is worshiped on Maha Ashtami, the eightth day of navratri. Maha means great and Gaur means white. Gauri is derived from Gaur and means a female with white color. Dust made the girl observing penance diry and Lord Shiva brought river Ganga to clean her that made her bright like lightening. Her body, face, clothes, ornaments and even her vehicle bull, all are white . Her are white and clean. She has three eyes. She rides on bull She has four hands. She is calm, peaceful and blessing.

9. Siddhidatri

Siddhi means attainment and Datri means doner or provider. Devotees achieve eight ultimate Siddhis Anima, Mahima, Garima, Laghima, Prapti, Prakamya, Iishitva and Vashitva by worshiping ninth form of Durga as Siddhidatri. Devi Puran tells us that even Lord Shiva got this Siddhies by worshiping Maha Shakti Siddhidatri. Hindus worship her on Maha Navami, the ninth day of Navaratri.

View images of nine incarnations of Durga

Worshiping on the last three days are also called Maha Saptami Pujan, Maha Ashtami Pujan and Maha Navami Pujan. These are the most important days for Hindu community especially in Ashwin Navaratri. Those who do not observe all these nine days generally worship on one of these three days.

Navdurga worship days

(click column header to sort results)
Navratri day  
Lunar date (Tithi)  
Incarnation name  
Day 1
Ashwin Shukla Pratipada
Shailaputri
Day 2
Ashwin Shukla Dwitiya
Brahmacharini
Day 3
Ashwin Shukla Tritiya
Chandraghanta
Day 4
Ashwin Shukla Chaturthi
Kushmanda
Day 5
Ashwin Shukla Panchami
Skanda Mata
Day 6
Ashwin Shukla Shashthi
Katyayani
Day 7
Ashwin Shukla Saptami
Kalratri
Day 8
Ashwin Shukla Ashtami
Maha Gauri
Day 9
Ashwin Shukla Navami
Siddhidatri
Hindu people worship nine incarnations of goddess Durga in nine days of Ashwin Navratri festival according to Indian lunar calendar. Table shows day wise worship of Nav Durga. Read Chaitra in the second column in place of Ashwin for Chaitra Navratri.

Durga images

Source
Mahishasur Mardini, a form of Durga
Mahishasur Mardini, a form of Durga | Source

Navdurga and Navratri quiz

Update: Ashwina Navratri dates in 2014


Sharadiya Navratri (Ashwin) starts fromSeptember 25 Thursday this year 2014. Shashthi will be on September 30 and Maha Saptami, Ashtami and Navami will be falling on October 1, 2, and 3 respectively.Dashara alias Vijaya Dasami will be on Saturday, October 4, 2014. Hindu people will worship Navdurga during these nine days.

Bengal will celebrate Durga Pooja between September 30 (Ghat Sthapan) to October 3. Navpad Oli of Jain will be ocserved between September 30 to October 8 this year 2014

2010

Navratri begins this year from Friday, October 8, 2010. Navaratri will continue till October 16 People will worship nine forms of Devi Durga or Adyashakti during these days. Dashahara or Vijaya Dasami will come on October 17.

Navpad Oli will be observed between October 14 to 22. Jain community will observe Ayambil and worship Navpad during these days.The last day of Navpad Oli will fall on Sharad Purnima. Durga Puja will be celebrated between Ocober 13 to October 16, mainly in West Bengal. Bengali people have celebrated Mahalaya on October 7.

Method of worshiping Navdurga

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Comments 7 comments

JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

JYOTI KOTHARI 2 years ago from Jaipur Author

Thanks Rajan for commenting. Did you read about Navratri festival too?


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Wonderful hub on Navratri Jyoti and I especially liked the detailed description of the nine forms of the Goddess Durga.

Thanks for sharing.

Happy Navratri.,


rupesh.kumar 4 years ago

navratre0festival0celebrate0in9night


JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

JYOTI KOTHARI 5 years ago from Jaipur Author

Hi Srikumar,

Nav Durga are worshiped on different days of Navratri.

Thanks for comment.

Jyoti Kothari


Srikumar/Astrologer/Kol-2 5 years ago

Significance and origination of each day of Navratri is required to be shown.


omi saide profile image

omi saide 6 years ago

March 20th I went to Mother Durga Anniversary at a small miniscule temple on Highway 80 in Jackson, Miss. It the ceremony was wonderful. I brought fruit and 2 dozen roses for her. OOH how I love Mother Durga!. I am a westerner that is a Lucumi priestess that can relate to Mother Durga. The guardian of my crown is Yemaya but once an individual get pass religion 101 the veil is remove so you can experience life on several planes. Keep up the good works brother,Kothari.


omi saide profile image

omi saide 6 years ago

March 20th I went to Mother Durga Anniversary at a small minuscule temple on Highway 80 in Jackson, Miss. It the ceremony was wonderful. I brought fruit and 2 dozen roses for her. OOH how I love Mother Durga!. I am a westerner that is a Lucumi priestess that can relate to Mother Durga. The guardian of my crown is Yemaya but once an individual get pass religion 101 the veil is remove so you can experience life on several planes. Keep up the good works brother,Kothari.

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