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Gudi Padwa is the first day of the Chaitra month, according to the Hindu luni-solar calendar. The festival is celebrated by Konkanis and the people of Maharashtra as the beginning of the new year and as the onset of spring and harvest season. It is also the first day of the Chaitra Navaratri — nine days of prayers and offerings that people observe as a part of the festival. This year, the Chaitra Navaratri will be celebrated from March 28 and will end with Ram Navami on April 5.
The Hindu goddess Shakti is worshipped and offered prayers during the nine days. It is believed that people offer prayers to one of the nine forms of the goddess on each of the nine days. Durga Puja and Ram Lila form significant parts of the Chaitra Navaratri celebrations. Navratri is also celebrated before Diwali, every year.
Here are the puja muhurat and timings* of the nine days of Chaitra Navaratri.
March 28: Maa Shailpuri Puja (Ghatasthapana)
On day one, people offer worship to goddess Shailpuri. The prayers are offered at the Ghatasthapana Muhurta, which falls in between 08:26 am to 10:29 am which means a total duration of 1 hour 57 minutes, this year.
March 29: Maa Brahmacharini Puja
On day two, people worship goddess Brahmacharini asking for happiness and prosperity. This year the prayers will be offered from 09:25 am to 11:10 am.
March 30: Maa Chandraghanta Puja
On day three, people worship goddess Chandraghanta. This year the prayers will be offered from 09:12 am to 10:14 am.
March 31: Maa Kushmanda Puja
On day four, people worship goddess Kushmanda. This year the shubh muhurat for the prayers starts from 08:40 am to 9:50 am.
April 1: Mann Shandamata Puja
On day five, people worship goddess Shandamata, a form of goddess Parvati. People use red flowers to offer worship to her and the shubh muhurat for the worship starts from 08:55 am to 10:12 am.
April 2: Maa Katyayani Puja
On day six, people worship goddess Katyayani and offer roses to her. It is also the day that celebrates the birth anniversary of goddess Yamuna and is known as Yamuna Jayanti. The shubh muhurat for Maa Katyayani Puja will be 09:26am to 10:30 am.
April 3: Maa Kalaratri Puja
On day seven, people worship goddess Kalaratri and offer night-blooming jasmine flowers to her. Known to dispel the darkness out of the lives of people, the goddess will be offered prayers from 09:12 am to 11:15 am, this year.
April 4: Maa Mahagauri Puja
On day eight, people worship goddess Mahagauri. Durgashtami also falls on this day. This year the prayers will be offered from 09:03 am to 11:17 am.
April 5: Maa Siddhidatri Puja
On day nine, people worship goddess Siddhidatri. The day also marks the birth of Lord Ram and is known as Ram Navami. The shubh muhurat for Ram Navami this year starts from 11:15 am to 13:44 pm.
During these nine days, devotees fast and observe strict adherence to religious discipline. People consume milk, fruits and juices throughout the nine days and restrict themselves from consuming meat, fish, eggs, alcohol and in some cases, onions, garlic and certain spices. Dry fruits and potatoes cooked using rock salt and popularly consumed during this day.
As they observe fasting and meditation during these nine days, they also maintain a generally positive, calm and peaceful demeanour, aided by the strictly vegetarian diet followed these nine days.
*According to reports