Navratri is the 9-day fast dedicated to Goddess Durga; it is one of the biggest festivals in India. Did you know? The devotees of Goddess Durga celebrate Navratri 4 times a year. They observe the Magha, Chaitra, Ashadha, and Ashwina Navratri puja and fasting. Though, out of these four, the Ashwina and Chaitra are the most popular. The Chaitra Navratri commences on the Pratipada Tithi (first day) of Chaitra Maas, Shukla Paksha, and ends with Rama Navami. This year, Chaitra Navratri began on April 13.
Devotees worship the nine incarnations of the Goddess on these nine auspicious days. The 8th day of Navratri is Ashtami when several devotees keep fast of goddess Durga’s most significant incarnation. In many households, Ashtami is celebrated with much enthusiasm and fervor. From the 7th to the 9th day there is great solemnization, and hence on the 7th day, there is a process to prepare the Maha Prasad that includes some very special delicacies including halwa, kala chana, and puri.
In this Navratri special blog, we look at all the 9 bhog offered to the different forms of Goddess in these 9 days of Chaitra Navratri, and also learn how to make the considerable prasadam which is halwa puri and chana at home.
9 Bhog For The Forms Of Goddess In 9 Days Of Chaitra Navratri
1st Day – Goddess Shailputri
Goddess Shailputri is worshipped on the 1st day of Navratri. The word Shailputri means the daughter of mountains. On this day, people observing fasting offer the Goddess ‘Banana’ as bhog while worshipping her at night.
2nd Day – Goddess Brahmacharini
On the second day, the Brahmacharini form of Goddess Durga is worshipped. On this day, offering any food made with ‘Ghee’ i.e., Clarified butter or ‘Milk’ is offered to the goddess.
3rd Day – Goddess Chandraghanta
Chandraghanta means shining like the moon. On this day Goddess Chandraghanta is worshipped and devotees offer salt or butter.
4th Day – Goddess Kushmanda
Maa Kushmanda is another manifestation of Goddess Durga who is worshipped on day four of Navratri. On this day ‘Mushri’ should be offered to the goddess. Besides, any sweet preparations can also be offered.
5th Day – Goddess Skanda
The Skanda Mata avatar of Goddess Durga is worshipped on day five of Navratri. Worship Maa Skanda Mata and offer white kheer (Indian Pudding) or milk as bhog.
6th Day – Goddess Katyayani
The Katyayani avatar of Devi Durga is worshipped on day six of Navratri. Katyayani is a warrior-goddess, and hence she is hailed as one of the most powerful forms of Maa Durga. On this day, honey, jaggery, and roasted bengal gram are offered as bhog.
7th Day – Goddess Kalratri
On the seventh day, i.e., Saptami Tithi, devotees pay obeisance to Maa Kalaratri. Kalaratri is one of the most destructive avatars of Mother Goddess Durga. Jaggery or ladoos made of jaggery can be offered as bhog.
8th Day – Goddess Mahagauri
On Day 8, Maa Mahaguari—the eighth avatar of the goddess– is worshipped. Mahagauri is the goddess of mortality and kindness. Mata Mahaguari is offered jaggery or coconut on this day.
9th Day – Goddess Siddhidatri
Maa Siddhidatri is worshipped on Navratri or the last day of the nine-day-long festival. The goddess is bestowed with perfections (siddhi) and is known to have healing powers. Goddess is offered the Kanjak special – Halwa Poori Chana Prasad.
Kanjak Special – Halwa Poori Chana Prasad
Navratri is a festival that’s dedicated to the 9 incarnations of Goddess Durga: Sailaputri, Brahmacharini, Andraghanta, Kusamanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kalarati, Mahagauri, and Siddhidatri. And Kanjak is celebrated on either Ashtami i.e., 8th day or Navami i.e., the 9th day of Navratri. It’s just another way of paying gratitude to the Supreme Goddess. Tradition says that the lady of the house welcomes nine girls into the house by first washing their feet and then tying moli (red thread) around their wrists. These girls are seated and served the very special halwa, poori, and chana (also known as ‘bhog’). Young girls that haven’t yet hit puberty are seen as the embodiment of Goddess Durga.
Given the current scenario it wouldn’t be possible for many to perform the Kanjak puja, however, making this bhog is going to be imperative. If you have never celebrated Kanjak before or you’re away from home and are all by your own this time, don’t worry as you can still make these delicious dishes all by yourself.
Suji halwa is made with fine semolina or cream of wheat (farina), ghee, sugar, and nuts. In India cream of wheat is called suji, sooji or rava. This everyday Indian sweet can be made in about 15 minutes.
To make this, you would need to heat some ghee in a thick bottom pan, then add sooji (rava or semolina), also add 10 to 12 cashews (kaju) halved or whole. Mix very well and start frying the sooji and cashews; keep on stirring the sooji so that the grains do not stick to the pan and are fried evenly. Roast sooji till you can see the ghee getting separated and when you see the cashews getting golden. The color of the suji or rava should not become brown. Once the sooji is well fried and turns aromatic add sugar, mix it well, and then add water slowly with continuous stirring. Mix very well so that no lumps are formed. Once all the water is absorbed, you will notice the change in the texture. The ghee also will be visible at the sides. Done, Halwa is ready!
Puri is unleavened deep-fried Indian bread. It can be made with very simple ingredients available in most Indian kitchens i.e., Whole wheat flour, salt, oil, and water.
To make puris, combine the whole wheat flour, oil, and salt and knead it into a stiff dough using water. Let the dough rest for about 10-15 mins then roll them into small round pooris – Take your time frying these gorgeous puris till they’re golden brown and fully risen.
Sookha kala chana is specially made on Devi Ashtami pooja/ Kanjak Pooja i.e., the last day of Navaratri. It is a very easy recipe and is always made without the use of onion and garlic. You can buy the below ingredients for black chana at ebounti groceries.
- Black Channa – 1 Cup
- Jeera seeds (cumin) – 1 teaspoon
- Red chili – 1 teaspoon
- Dhaniya powder (coriander powder) – 1 teaspoon
- Turmeric (optional) – 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt to taste
You would need to wash and soak the channa overnight and then boil them in the cooker with some salt. Now in a pan heat some oil/ghee, add jeera, chili, and dhaniya powder. Drain the channa and put it in the pan with the dry masalas. Cook it for around 10 minutes till the water dries out. Done, your chana is ready.
Around Navratri, several delicious preparations like Kuttu Ki Puri, Singhade Ka Halwa, Singhare Ke Pakore, Sabudana Vada and Sabudana Khichdi gain immense popularity amongst those who are fasting. Along with the special fasting food, people also tend to load up on fruits and milk to keep themselves energized through the day. You can make most of these if you have the ingredients at home, you can order and have them delivered to your doorstep.
Is It Ok To Fast During Covid Times?
Most people have a doubt regarding whether to fast during COVID times or not. Well, it is completely safe to fast during times of COVID-19 if you do it the right way. If you too are fasting or planning to keep the Maha Ashtami and Navami fast, here are some essential tips for you.
- Eat healthy and filling foods
- Increase your liquid intake
- Eat lots of fruits
- Don’t starve your self
Several people starve themselves in the name of fast and end up hurting their own bodies. Starving yourself will take a hit on your immunity which is absolutely not advisable during COVID times. Make sure you eat proper meals, pick healthy foods and drink healthy beverages to keep your immunity stable even while fasting.
Happy Navratri! Be Healthy, Be Home, and Be Safe!