Chaitra Navratri or Vasant Navratri, Gudi Padwa or Ugadi (Yugadi) also known as Samvatsar Padvo, Cheti Chand or Navreh, is believed to be one of the three and a half significant periods to start an event or a new venture.
This auspicious period begins on Sunday, March 18, 2018 on the first day of waxing moon or Shukla Paksha Pratipada in the lunar month of Chaitra and ends on Durga Navami,Sunday, March 25, 2018 with Navaratri Paran after nine day’s fast. Ram Navami Puja Muhurat(Lord Rama’s birthday) is in Abhijit Muhurat on Sunday, March 25.The pleasant season due to the Sun’s influence on earth with the end of Spring and the beginning of autumn is considered significant and auspicious for devotion of Lord Rama and Goddess Durga (Goddess of Shakti).
People observe fast, worship, do prescribed rituals for eight or nine days after performing Ghatasthapana.Worship or Puja of Lord Ganesha is performed first. During auspicious occasion of Chaitra and Sharad Navaratri, nine forms of Goddess Maa Durga are worshipped and the method of Ghatasthapana and Puja of Goddess Durga is the same as the Kalashsthapana and Puja in Ashwin Shardiya Navratri.
The method of Kalashasthapana, step by step and the list of items required for Puja is available in the article ‘Kalashasthapana or Ghatasthana on this site Astroask.com.
On Chaitra Navami, the last day of Navratri, Maa Siddhidatri (all the nine forms of Maa Durga) is worshipped by chanting Mantra ”Om Siddhidatri Durgayai Namah!!”, Havan is performed with barley and black sesame seeds (Jau and Til), nine or eleven children (seven or nine girls and at least two boys) are invited for feast or Kanya Bhoj at devotee’s house and they are given money and clothes as donation. Kalash and Nariyal(coconut)are removed from the place of Kalasha sthapana, the holy water of Kalash is sprinkled in all the parts of house for Maa Durga’s blessings.
This Chaitra Shukla Paksha Navami is also celebrated by Hindus as the birthday of Lord Rama, known as Ram Navami festival, generally Puja and Havan are performed after 12:00 PM till 1:00 PM, by reciting Bal kanda from Ramayana in most of the cities of North-India and different parts of world. People celebrate Chaitra Shukla Paksha Padwa as Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra, as Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and other parts of South India, as Sajibu Nongma Panba, Cheiraoba, Rongali Bihu in North-East India.
Vikram Samvat 2075 ( Lunar Hindu New year) also begins on Chaitra Padwa on March 18, 2018.
Usually the 9th and last day of Navaratri is observed as Ram Navami, falls on Sunday, March 25,2018,this year, Durga Navami ends on 25th March, thus the auspicious Chaitra Navaratri is celebrated for only eight days.
The dates or Tithi and the days or var for worship of nine forms of Maa Durga Chaitra Navratri March 2018 are as follows:
18 March, Sunday: Chaitra Shukla Paksha Pratipada,1st day Chandra Darshan, Ma Shailputri puja,Gudi Padwa, Ugadi, Ghatasthapana(grass) or Kalashasthapana. Ghatasthapana Muhurta falls during Meena Lagna(Dvisvabhav Rashi)
Note: Ghatasthapana Muhurta: This auspicious Muhurata is on 18-3-2017 from 06:31 AM to 07:46 AM (I.S.T.).The duration is 1 Hour 15 Minutes.
19 March, Monday: Dwitiya , 2nd day, Ma Brahmacharini Puja, Singhara Dooj
20 March, Tuesday: Tritiya, 3rd day, Ma Chandraghanta Puja,Gauri Puja, Saubhagya Teej, Gangaur
21 March Wednesday: Vinayaka Chaturthi/ Lakshami Panchami, 4th day, Ma Kushmanda Puja, Varad Vinayaka Chauth
22 March Thursday: Panchami/Shashti, 5th day, Ma Skandamata Puja, Naag Puja, Skanda Sashti
23 March Friday: Shashti, 6th day, Ma Katyayani Puja, Yamuna Chhatha
24 March Saturday: Saptami,7th day,Maha Saptami /Ashtami Vrat,Kalaratri Puja, Durga Ashtami, Mahagauri Puja, Kalratri Puja, Annapurna Ashtami
25 March Sunday: Ashtami,8th day, Shri Durga Ashtami /Ram Navami, Sandhi Puja: Ashtami and Navami Havan, Ma Gauri Puja, Ma Siddhidatri Puja.
26th March Monday: 9th day, Dashami, Navratri Parana, Chaitra Navaratri ends
Ghatasthapana Muhurta for this year falls during Meena Lagna (Dvisvabhav Rashi)