Customs and rituals observed during Shardiya Navratri and Ashadha Gupta Navratri are almost the same. Ghatasthapana Muhurta is more significant in Shardiya Navratri but it is also necessary in Ashadha Gupta Navratri.
Ghatasthapana, also known as Kalash Sthapana, is one of the important rituals during Navratri, which signifies the beginning of the nine days Durga Puja. Our scriptures have prescribed definite rules and guidelines to perform Ghatasthapana at a definite period of time in the beginning of Navratri. Ghatasthapana is performed to invoke Goddess Shakti and observed at the right time. Our scriptures give us warning that if it is observed during wrong time, it will bring wrath of the Goddess Shakti. Amavasya and night are not suitable time to observe Ghatasthapana.
The time period consisting of the first one third of the day, while Pratipada is prevailing, is regarded as the most auspicious time to do Ghatasthapana. If this time is not available because of some reasons, then Ghatasthapana can be performed during Abhijit Muhurta. Nakshatra Chitra and Vaidhriti Yoga may be avoided during Ghatasthapana though they are not prohibited. It is most important that Ghatasthapana is done before Hindu mid-day while Pratipada is prevalent.
We can also try to include Dvi-Svabhava Lagna into the calculated Ghatasthapana Muhurta. It is observed that during Ashadha Gupta Navratri, Dvi-Svabhava Lagna Mithuna prevails during sunrise and it can be taken for Ghatasthapana Muhurta, if it is found suitable.
Ghatasthapana should not be performed during afternoon, night time and any time beyond sixteen Ghatis after sunrise, which is not considered auspicious.
Navratri Day 1: Shailputri Puja: Goddess Shailputri
Origin: Goddess Parvati, after self-sacrifice as Goddess Sati, took birth as the daughter of Lord Himalaya. The word “Shail” in Sanskrit means ‘the mountain’ and hence the Goddess was known as Shailputri, meaning ‘the daughter of the mountain’.
Navratri Worship: It is a custom to worship Goddess Shailputri on the first day of Navratri.
Governing Planet: Moon, the provider of all fortunes, is believed to be governed by Goddess Shailputri and hence by worshipping this form of Adi Shakti, one can get rid of any bad effect of the Moon.
Iconography: Bull is the mount of Goddess Shailputri and hence she is also known by the name Vrisharudha. Goddess Shailputri is usually portrayed with two hands, carrying Trishul in the right hand and lotus flower in the left hand.
Details: Goddess Shailputri is also known as Parvati and Hemavati. Because of her significance among all nine forms, Goddess Shailputri is worshipped on the first day of Navratri. Similar to Goddess Sati, which was her previous birth, Goddess Shailputri was also got married to Lord Shiva.
Navratri Day 2: Brahmacharini Puja: Goddess Brahmacharini
Origin: After Kushmanda form, Goddess Parvati took birth as the daughter of Daksha Prajapati. In this form, she was Sati and her unmarried form is worshipped as Goddess Brahmacharini.
Navratri Worship: Goddess Brahmacharini is worshipped on the second day of Navratri.
Governing Planet: Lord Mangal, the provider of all fortunes, is believed to be governed by Goddess Brahmacharini.
Iconography: Goddess Brahmacharini is portrayed as walking on bare feet. She has two hands carrying Jap Mala in the right hand and Kamandal in the left hand.
Details: Goddess Brahmacharini got her name because she performed hard austerity and severe penance to get Lord Shiva as her husband.
Goddess Brahmacharini observed severe penance to get Lord Shiva as her husband. For 1000 years she lived on the diet of fruits and flowers and for another100 years she ate only leafy vegetables.
She followed severe fasting routine, by staying at open place during blazing summers, harsh winters and heavy stormy rains. Hindu mythologies narrate that She consumed only Bilva leaves for 3000 years while She prayed to Lord Shiva.
Further, She stopped eating Bilva leaves and her penance continued without taking any food or water. When She stopped eating Bilva leaves, She was known as Aparna.
Legends say that Goddess Brahmacharini performed self-sacrifice with a desire to get a father in her next birth who would respect her husband Lord Shiva.
Navratri Day 3: Chandraghanta Puja, Goddess Chandraghanta
Origin: The married form of Goddess Parvati is known as Goddess Chandraghanta. After marrying Lord Shiva, the Goddess started adorning her forehead with half Chandra and that was the reason why Goddess Parvati was known by the name Goddess Chandraghanta.
Navratri Worship: On the third day of Navratri, Goddess Chandraghanta is worshipped.
Governing Planet: Planet Shukra is believed to be governed by Goddess Chandraghanta.
Iconography: Tigress is the mount of Goddess Chandraghanta. The forehead of the Goddess is adorned with a semi-circular moon or Chandra. Since the semicircular moon on her forehead looks like a bell (Ghanta) she is also known as Chandra-Ghanta. She is portrayed with ten hands. Her four left hands hold Trishul, Gada, Sword and Kamandal, and the fifth left hand is kept in Varada Mudra. She carries lotus flower, Arrow, Dhanush and Japa Mala in her four right hands and the fifth right hand is kept in Abhaya Mudra.
Details: This is the peaceful form of Goddess Parvati manifested for the welfare of her devotees. Goddess Chandraghanta, in this form is ready for war with all her weapons. It is also believed that the sound of the moon-bell that adorns her forehead banishes all type of spirits away from her devotees.
Navratri Day 4: Kushmanda Puja : Goddess Kushmanda
Origin: Goddess Parvati, after taking the form of Siddhidatri, started living inside the center of the Sun by which the Sun can release energy to the universe. Subsequently, the Goddess is known as Kushmanda. The glow and radiance of the body of Goddess Kushmanda is as luminous as that of the Sun and she has the power and capacity to live inside the Sun.
Navratri Worship: On the fourth day of Navratri, Goddess Kushmanda is worshipped.
Governing Planet: The Sun gets energy and direction from Goddess Kushmanda and hence God Sun is believed to be governed by Goddess Kushmanda.
Iconography: Lioness is the mount of Goddess Siddhidatri. The Goddess is depicted with eight hands with Kamandal, Dhanush, Bada and Kamal in her right hands and Amrit Kalash, Jap Mala, Gada and Chakra in her left hands.
Details: Since Goddess Kushmanda has eight hands, She is also known as Ashtabhuja Devi. It is believed that her Jap Mala has got all the power to confer Siddhis and Niddhis.
It is believed that Goddess Kushmanda created the whole universe, called Brahmanda in Sanskrit, by just flashing her smile. She also enjoys Bali of white pumpkin, which is known as Kushmanda. Since She is associated with Brahmanda and Kushmanda, She is popular by the name Goddess Kushmanda.
Navratri Day 5: Skandamata Puja, Goddess Skandamata
Origin: When Goddess Parvati gave birth to Lord Skanda (Lord Kartikeya), Mata Parvati became known as Goddess Skandamata.
Navratri Worship: On the fifth day of Navratri, Goddess Skandamata is worshipped.
Governing Planet: Planet Budha is believed to be governed by Goddess Skandamata.
Iconography: Goddess Skandamata mounts on a fierce lion. She carries her child Lord Murugan on her lap. Lord Murugan (Lord Kartikeya) is the brother of Lord Ganesha. Goddess Skandamata is depicted with four hands, carrying lotus flowers in her two left hands and holding baby Murugan in one of her right hand. The other right hand is kept in Abhaya Mudra. Since the Goddess sits on lotus flower, Skandamata is also known as Goddess Padmasana.
Details: Goddess Skandamata is in white complexion. The unique quality possessed by Skandamata form of Goddess Parvati is that devotees who worship this form get the benefit of worshipping Lord Kartikeya also.
Navratri Day 6: Katyayani Puja, Goddess Katyayani
Origin: Goddess Parvati took the most violent form of Goddess Katyayani to destroy demon Mahishasura. In this form Goddess Parvati is also worshipped as Warrior Goddess.
Navratri Worship: Goddess Katyayani is worshipped on the sixth day of Navratri.
Governing Planet: Planet Brihaspati is believed to be governed by Goddess Katyayani.
Iconography: Goddess Katyayani mounts on a wonderful lion. The Goddess is depicted with four hands. She carries lotus flower and sword in her left hands. Her right hands are kept in Abhaya Mudra and Varada Mudra.
Details: According to scriptures, Goddess Parvati was born at sage Katya’s home and hence this form of Goddess Parvati is known as Katyayani.
Navratri Day 7: Kalaratri Puja, Goddess Kalaratri
Origin: Kalaratri is the most violent and aggressive form of Goddess Parvati. When Goddess Parvati removed her outer golden skin to kill the demons Shumbha and Nishumbha, she became known as Goddess Kalaratri.
Navratri Worship: On the seventh day of Navratri, Goddess Kalaratri is worshipped.
Governing Planet: Planet Shani is believed to be governed by Goddess Kalaratri.
Iconography: Goddess Kalaratri is dark black in complexion and She mounts on a donkey. She is portrayed with four hands. She carries a sword and a deadly iron hook in her left hands, while right hands are kept in Abhaya Mudra and Varada Mudra.
Details: In spite of the most ferocious form of Goddess Parvati, Goddess Kalaratri blesses her devotees with Abhaya Mudra and Varada Mudra. Due to the auspicious power within her aggressive form, Goddess Kalaratri is also worshipped as Goddess Shubhankari.
Navratri Day 8: Mahagauri Puja, Goddess Mahagauri
Origin: As per Hindu scriptures, Goddess Shailputri was blessed with fair complexion and was very beautiful at the age of sixteen. Because of her extreme fair complexion, she was known by the name Goddess Mahagauri.
Navratri Worship: On the eighth day of Navratri, Goddess Mahagauri is worshipped.
Governing Planet: Planet Rahu is believed to be governed by Goddess Mahagauri.
Iconography: Bull is the mount of Goddess Mahagauri l and hence, like Shailputri, she is also known as Vrisharudha.
Goddess Mahagauri is portrayed with four hands. She holds Trishul in one right hand and keeps the other right hand in Abhaya Mudra. She carries Damaru in the one left hand and keeps the other left hand in Varada Mudra.
Details: Goddess Mahagauri is of extremely fair complexion and hence she is compared with the conch, moon and also the white flower of Kunda.
White clothes are her attire and because of that She is also known as Shwetambardhara.
Navratri Day 9: Siddhidatri Puja, Goddess Siddhidatri:
Origin: According to Hindu scriptures, in the beginning of the universe Lord Shiva worshipped supreme Adi-Parashakti, the supreme Goddess of Power, for creation. Goddess Adi-Parashakti, who had no form, appeared from the left half of Lord Shiva in the form of Siddhidatri.
Navratri Worship: On the ninth day of Navratri, Goddess Siddhidatri is worshipped.
Governing Planet: Goddess Siddhidatri provides direction and energy to planet Ketu and hence it is believed that planet Ketu is governed by Goddess Siddhidatri.
Iconography: Sitting on Kamal, Goddess Siddhidatri rides the lion. She is portrayed with four hands. She carries Gada in the one right hand, Chakra in the other right hand, a lotus flower in the one left hand and conch in the other left hand.
Details: Goddess Siddhidatri possesses and confers all types of Siddhis to her devotees. It is said that even Lord Shiva got all Siddhis by the blessings of Goddess Siddhidatri. She is worshipped not only by humans but also by Devas, Gandharvas, Asuras, Yakshas and Siddhas. When Goddess Siddhidatri appeared from his left half, Lord Shiva got the title of Ardha-Narishwar.
When Navami Tithi ends and Dashami Tithi prevails, Navratri Parana is done. It is suggested to perform Navratri fasting from Pratipada to Navami. In order to follow this guideline, one should observe Ashadha Gupta Navratri fasting throughout Navami Tithi.
Templesinindiainfo.com decides Ashadha Gupta Navratri Parana time to break fasting, based on the rules mentioned in Nirnaya-Sindhu.