Durga Ashtami…

The eighth day or Durga Ashtami. The Goddess Kali appeared on this day from the forehead of Mother Durga and annihilated Chanda, Munda, and Rakthabija (the demons who were associates of Mahishasura). The 64 Yoginis and Ashta Nayikas (the eight consorts of Goddess Durga) are worshiped during the Durga Puja rituals on Mahashtami. The Ashta Nayikas worshiped during Durga Puja are Brahmani, Maheswari, Kaumari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Narasinghi, Indrani and Chamunda.

On this day,Sandhi Puja is performed at the exact juncture when the Asthami tithi ends and Navami tithi begins.The last 24 minutes of Ashtami and first 24 minutes of Navami is regarded as the Sandhikhan. This is the exact time at which Devi Durga slayed the notorious pair Chando and Munda. Sandhi Puja is celebrated to worship the Chamunda form of Goddess Durga. This puja has 108 lotuses and 108 earthen oil lamps to begin with. A single whole fruit (preferably red), hibiscus flowers, saree, uncooked rice grains, jewellery and a garland of 108 bel leaves.

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