Navratri, the nine-day festival devoted to Goddess Durga, commences with the significant Ghatasthapana ritual. This year, the festivities start on October 15 and continue till October 24, celebrating Shardiya Navratri, a revered occasion in the Hindu calendar.
During this period, devotees honor nine forms of Adi Shakti, known as Navdurgas, including Maa Shailputri, Maa Brahmacharini, Maa Chandraghanta, Maa Kushmanda, Maa Skandamata, Maa Katyayani, Maa Kalaratri, Maa Mahagauri, and Maa Siddhidatri.
Timing and Significance: Performing Ghatasthapana with Devotion
The Ghatasthapana ritual, a vital part of Navratri, symbolizes the invocation of Goddess Shakti. It’s crucial to perform this ritual at the right time, typically during the first one-third of the day while Pratipada prevails, which falls on October 15 this year. The auspicious period for Ghatasthapana starts at 11:44 am and concludes at 12:30 pm. However, it’s vital to avoid performing this ritual during Amavasya (new moon) and nighttime.
Essential Items for Ghatasthapana
To perform Ghatasthapana, devotees need specific items including saffron, incense, barley, honeycombs, turmeric, flowers, sugar, mace, coconut, clay, betel leaves, cloves, and bel patra, among others. The ritual begins by placing a pot in a sanctified location at home, with a lit lamp inside for the entire nine days. Devotees then fill a pan with mud and navadhanya seeds, adding water.
A Kalasha filled with Gangajal is placed inside the pan, filled with coins, supari (betel nut), and akshat (raw rice and turmeric powder). This arrangement is covered with five mango leaves and a coconut. Finally, devotees worship Maa Shailputri and Maa Durga, offering an oil lamp, incense sticks, flowers, fruits, sweets, and a special bhog made of Desi Ghee.
It’s essential to observe these rituals with devotion and reverence, ensuring the proper timing and materials are used to invoke the blessings of Goddess Shakti during this auspicious time of Navratri.