Goddess Durga is the divya-shakti, which can be a bounty of love and care as well as the source of destruction too. She symbolises the power of divine mother as even the Gods pay homage to her strength. Adoring Ma durga during nine days by keeping fasts and worshipping her is the perfect way to realize our upmost goal and motive of existence, which gets blur in the magical world of materialism.
Kanya Pujan marks the ending ceremony of the auspicious Navratri and is conducted on Ashtami or Navami day of Navratri. It is also known as ‘Kumari puja’, a ritual of worshipping young girls symbolising Goddess Durga. Homage is paid to nine small girls and one boy through this ritual. Special food is prepared according to the varied rituals among family, which is offered to the nine girls in the form of nine devis. Certain dakshina or new utensils are also offered to them. Then the prasadam is consumed by the family to break their fast and mark the completion of auspicious navratri.
Devotees should read the last chapter of Durga Saptashati and chant mantras to welcome the kids. The ceremony should begin by washing their feet and then tying ‘mauli’ (red thread) on their wrists. Special puri, halwa and chana are offered to them along with fruits. People should touch their feet and seek blessings from them by pleasing these young kids.
Worshipping the kanyas helps the devotees to receive wisdom, moksha, strength, wealth and dharma. Mantra for kanya pujan is as follows:
मंत्राक्षरमयीं लक्ष्मीं मातृणां रूपधारिणीम्।
नवदुर्गात्मिकां साक्षात् कन्यामावाहयाम्यहम्।।
जगत्पूज्ये जगद्वन्द्ये सर्वशक्तिस्वरुपिणि।
पूजां गृहाण कौमारि जगन्मातर्नमोस्तु ते।।