Durga Ashtami 2018, Puja Vidhi, Muhurat Timings, Mantra, Samagri, Procedure: The eighth day of Navratri is celebrated as Durga Ashtami or Maha Ashtami. During the auspicious nine day festival, eight consorts of Goddess Shakti namely, Brahmani, Maheswari, Kaumari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Narasinghi, Indrani and Chamunda are worshipped.
On Durga Ashtami, the eight incarnation of Goddess Shakti named Chamunda is venerated. It is believed that Goddess Kali appeared on the day of Maha Ashtami and annihilated Mahishasura’s demon associates, Chanda, Munda, and Rakthabija.
This day is also celebrated as Astra Puja (weapon worship) in several parts of India where the weapons of Goddess Durga are revered thereby, celebrating the divine feminine strength and power.
There’s also an age-old tradition associated with the festival to honour the kanjaks (a group of young and unmarried girls) at home. It is believed that every kanjak represents a consort of Goddess Durga personifying her energy and power. The girls are welcomed by washing their feet and applying Alta on their feet. They are then fed sweets and delicious food and bestowed gifts.
According to the drikpanchang.com, Maha Ashtami Tithi begins at 10:16 am on October 16 and ends at 12:49 on October 17.