Navratri 2020: Celebrations start today with Ghatasthapana; time, significance of festival

Navratri 2020 | Sharadiya Navratri commences with the Ghatasthapana or Kalash Sthapana. The autumn season's first day is known as 'Pratipada.' Leading up to the festivities, people clean their houses and often decorate it with flowers and rangoli. The nine-day Hindu festivalis dedicated to the different forms of Goddess Durga and devotees worship nine avatars of the Goddess during the nine days.

The most important ritual of the first day or Pratipada is the Ghatasthapana and can be described as the seat where the Goddess is welcomed. The kalash stays for nine days and on Vijayadashamai is immersed in a nearby waterbody. As per scriptures, Ghatasthapana can be described as the invocation of Goddess Durga.

The first day of Navratri sees the Shailputri puja. According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Shailputri was born after Goddess Sati had self-immolated. She is also known as Parvati and is believed to govern the moon. Depicted as riding a bull, she holds a trident in one hand and in the other a lotus.

According to Drikpanchang, Ghatasthapana Muhurta falls on Pratipada Tithi. The Pratipada Tithi began at 1 am on 17 October and will end at 9.08 pm. The Ghatasthapana Abhijit Muhurat is between 11:40 am and 12:26 pm.

Ghatasthapana is the invocation of Goddess Shakti and is prohibited during Amavasya and night time. The best time to do Ghatasthapana is during the first one third of the day while Pratipada is prevailing. If due to some reason that is not possible, then Ghatasthapana can be done during Abhijit Muhurta.

The things that are needed for Ghatasthapana include a wide clay pot with soil, seven kinds of grain, a kalash, clean water, red thread, betel nuts, coins, a small twig of the mango tree with five leaves, a small bowl of rice grains and a coconut. Flowers and durva are also required.

Devotees need to sow the seven kinds of grains in the soil within the clay pot. They need to keep the kalash on the clay pot and tie a piece of red thread around the neck of the Kalash after filling it with water. The betel nut, flowers, durba and the coin are put in the Kalash along with Mango leaves. A coconut is then placed atop the mango leaves to complete the preparation for welcoming Goddess Durga.



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