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Navratri is a festival which falls on the lunar month of Ashwin, according to the Hindu calendar. It is a 9-day festival which is observed all over the country with a lot of fanfare and grandeur. People observe fasts and conduct poojas in order to please the different forms of goddess.
Goddess Durga and all her avatars are worshipped during the 9 days of Navratri. She was created by all the gods in order to defeat the 'invincible' Mahishasura. She is the furious form of all the gods. She has many avatars.
First Day Of Navratri:
On the first day of Navratri, Goddess Shailputri is worshipped. It is a form of Durga where she was the daughter of Daksha, married to Shiva.
During a yagna, when her husband was not invited, she became furious and jumped into the fire. She was later re-born as Parvati, the daughter of Himalaya, and wed Lord Shiva. This act of hers made the trinity - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva - bow down to her.
Second Day Of Navratri:
Brahma is the god of Penance and good conduct. One of the sadhus had predicted that she would have to perform penance if she had to marry Lord Bholenath again.
She went on to perform a powerful penance, as she only wanted Lord Shiva as her Husband. This led her name to be Brahmacharini and she is worshipped in this form on the second day.
Third Day Of Navratri:
Goddess's third avatar is called Chandraghanta. She is a symbol of bravery with ten hands and powerful weapons in each of them. She has a full moon on her forehead. She has three eyes and rides on a lion in this form.
Fourth Day Of Navratri:
The Goddess ‘Kushmunda' is worshipped on the fourth day of Navratri. She is said to be the creator of universe. She created the world with just her laughter. She shines like a sun and rides on a lion.
Fifth Day Of Navratri:
On the fifth day, the goddess is worshipped as ‘Skanda Mata' meaning Mother of Skanda, who is a great warrior and the leader of the army of Gods. Skanda Mata is the Goddess of Fire, having three eyes and seated on a lotus.
Sixth Day Of Navratri:
Rishi Katyayan had observed a fast in order to get paramba as his daughter. Therefore, she was born to him and was named ‘Katyayani', meaning ‘Daughter of Katyayan'. She is all powerful with eight hands and weapons in each hand in this form.
Seventh Day Of Navratri:
The seventh form of Durga is called ‘Kalrathri'. She is as dark as the night. She has three eyes that shine brightly. She carries a sword in her right hand and a burning torch in her left hand. She is auspicious, which is why she is called ‘Shubhamkari'.
Eight Day Of Navratri:
‘Maha Gauri' is celebrated on the eighth day, the exact opposite of her previous avatar. She is white as a moon and has four hands.
The lower left hand carries the trishul, while the other left hand shows a fearless mudra. The right hand has tambourine and the lower right hand offers blessings.
She rides a bull. Her pristine white body is washed by the waters of the sacred Ganga by Lord Shiva himself. This lightens up her body and is called "Maha Gauri".
Ninth Day Of Navratri:
The ninth form of Durga is worshipped as Siddhidatri. She contains all the eight siddhis - Anima, Mahima, Garima, Laghima, Prapti, Prakamya, Iishitva and Vashitva. She rides on a lion and has four hands.