Shakambari Navratri starts on Paush Shukla Ashtami and concludes on Paush Purnima. Paush Shukla Ashtami is also known as Banada Ashtami or Banadashtami.
Navratri usually starts on Shukla Pratipada except Shakambari Navratri, which starts on Ashtami and concludes on Purnima. Hence Shakambari Navratri is celebrated for eight days. During some years, when it happens that the Tithi is skipped or leaped, Shakambari Navratri might last for seven or nine days.
Shakambari Mata is regarded as the incarnation of Devi Bhagwati. It is believed that the purpose of the incarnation was to lessen famine and severe food crisis on the Earth. She is also popularly known as the Goddess of vegetables, fruits and green leaves and is shown with green surroundings of fruits and vegetables.
Shakambari Navratri concludes on Paush Purnima and is also known as Shakambari Purnima. Shakambari Purnima is also called Shakambari Jayanti since it is believed that Devi Shakambari was incarnated on the very same day.
Shakambari Navratri is popularly celebrated in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and some parts of Tamil Nadu. In Karnataka, Shakambari Devi is called Banashankari Devi and Banada Ashtami is a significant day during Navratri.
Story of Shakambari Navratri:
Shakambhari means Bearer of the Greens. Other names of Mata Shakambari are Banashankari, Banashankari, Banadevi and Shankari. Paush Purnima is also known as Shakambari Purnima which is celebrated as Shakambari Jayanti. It is believed that the goddess Shakambari was incarnated the same day. According to the legend behind Banada Ashtami, it is said that two Tantriks began Sadhna, but they could not accomplish it with perfection, and so their efforts were in vain. They discovered the results This period is known as Gupt Navratri where a devotee performs Puja to get the desired results. Since then, these nine days are secretly devoted to the goddess Shakti. As mentioned in the Srimad Devi Bhagavata Mahapurana, Devi Shakambari was incarnated to eliminate a great catastrophe of the food crisis.
Importance of Banada Ashtami:
Gupt Navratri is also known as Banada Ashtami. “Gupt” means secret or hidden. On the day of Gupt Navratri, devotees perform various illegitimate rituals, such as Tantrism, Vashikaran (One Possession Act) and Videshan (to inflict damage on the other’s life). The Gupt Navratri Puja is played in nine different forms of worship of the goddess Shakti. This Navratri is secretly made, and Maa Durga is secretly worshiped during these days. This secret cult is very powerful and brings significant results to the devotees who look at it with complete devotion. Worshiping the goddess Durga brings prosperity. The devotees who worship and serve the god who read their Mahatmyam cross their Mayans and free themselves. She will take away the misfortunes of its devotees.