Bhubaneswar: Durgashtami is the eighth day of the Durga festival that is celebrated across various parts of India today.
This day is attributed to Goddess Shakti, an avatar of Durga who is symbolic of eternal power and the victory of ‘good’ over the ‘evil’.
Durgashtami is celebrated on the eighth day of Navratri that commences from Mahalaya in the Hindu month of Ashwin. Durga ashtami falls in the Shukla paksha of the lunar phase.
According to Hindu customs, Ashtami celebrations begin with mahasnan or a grand bath to rid oneself of impurities. This ritual is followed by installing nine small pots to invoke nine Shaktis of goddess Durga and then they are worshipped during Mahashtami puja.
People worship Maa Mahagauri on the eighth day of Navratri, who is known for bestowing her devotees with wealth and an opulent lifestyle, and removing all their sufferings.
On this auspicious day, devotees tend to observe rigorous fast, feast and worship to Goddess Durga who symbolizes strength. A celebration of traditional culture and customs, massive idols of Goddess Durga are installed throughout India while enormous puja pandals with amazing decorations are set up at various places for devotees to visit and worship.
During the worship the eight avatars of Durga called Ashtanayikas are also worshipped which include Brahmani, Indrani, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Narasinghi, Kameshwari, Maheshwari and Chamunda.
On this day, the deity is worshipped as Goddess Gauri. To observe this, nine small virgin girls are worshipped, their feet are washed and they are offered halwa (a sweet disg made of semolina, milk, ghee and nuts), puri and kheer a part of the ritual.
Durgashtami ends with the sandhi puja that ushers the next day Mahanavami.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Prateek Singh has come up with some tips for the people of Bhubaneswar by following which they can have a safe Durga Puja celebration.
While addressing the residents of the State Capital city in a video, the Bhubaneswar DCP conveyed his puja greeting to everyone and said, “Keeping in mind the ongoing festive season, the Bhubaneswar Police requests you to whenever you are going to visit somewhere or going to the market or puja pandal ensure that you put someone in charge of your house. If you are going out of the city, inform your nearest Police station.”