Dashadikapal Puja

Prayer for the Guardians of the Directions

Das means ten, dik is direction and pal is protection. Therefore, Dasdikpal means the ten-direction protector.

The deities connected to the protection of the ten directions of this land are: Indra (east), Agni (south-east), Yama (south), Nairiti (south-west), Varun west), Vayu (north-west), Kuber (north), Isha (north-east), Brahma (upward), Anant (downward). Show your respect by offering some water, flowers or rice on behalf of each deity.

Dashavatarer Puja

Prayer for ten incarnations of Vishnu

Here are listed ten incarnations (avatar) of Vishnu, which relate to the evolution of humans: Matsavatar, Kurmavatar, Barahavatar, Narsinghavatar, Vamanavatar, Parashuram, Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Kalki. Pay tribute by offering a sandalwood-drenched flower to the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu.

Worship of the divinities at the entrance

Dwardevata Puja

The house is considered as a temple (Vastudevata) guarded by the gods at the entrance. These gods help to eliminate obstacles (Ganesha) or bring good luck and wealth to the family (Lakshmi and Kuber). Therefore, before the core of the puja, they are worshiped.


Take two flowers dipped in sandalwood paste and offer them to the Gods of entrance. Ask a family member to take the flower to the front door and leave it on the step.

The entrance is usually decorated with water pots, marked with vermilion powder and contains banana sprouts or any green foliage. Some families also decorate the floor, which is symbolic of the invitation of divinity.

Several gods are called and worshiped at the entrance of the puja place with the request to sanctify the place of worship. The call of the Gods is made through five gestures, called mudras that wlecome them and ask them to stay with the devotee during the ceremony.


Nabagraha Worship

Naba is nine and graha is the cosmic influencer of the living being on this earth (Bhumidevi).

These include five planets: Mangal (Mars), Budha (Mercury), Brahaspati (Jupitor), Sukra (Venus), Sani (Saturn); Sun (Aditya, Rabi), Moon (som), as well as the Moon’s orbital positions in the sky: Ketu (south or descending lunar node) and Rahu (north or ascending lunar node).

During puja, the enchanted mantras takes care of all the nine planets. During Havan, the worship of the individual members of Nabagraha is performed. Make five offerings on name of the nine planets.

Durgar dhyan            

Meditation on Durga

Take a flower in the left palm and in dhyan mudra meditate on the image of Devi Durga in your heart before bringing the idol to life.

Mental offerings          

Manas Puja

Manas puja simply means to worship mentally. You simply meditate on the deity (Goddess Durga) and worship her after letting her sit in your heart as her throne. You perform all the rituals but all are in imagination, fulfilling your desire to the content of your heart without lifting your finger.

Some people consider this to be the best form of worship where you see that your dream comes true by establishing close contact with the Goddess.

Sit in padmasan. Take a flower and put the flower on your head. Close your eyes and think of the luminous Goddess sitting in the lotus of your heart.

Hold the mental image and offer her bath and various puja materials that are normally offered, including dhup and lamp. Finally, offer your humble respect without any mantra to chant, except humming with the mulmantra.

Prayer after Arati




Oh Goddess Durga You are victorious over evil and, gracious. you are kind and compassionate. You are the eternal truth beyond the limitations of mortals. You are not obvious and yet you are present in our consciousness (Atman). You are the indulgent mother of the world. Accept my offering and sacrifice. I bow before You with reverence.

Durga Puja principles

Saptami Puja


Meditation (Dhyan)

Take a flower in the left palm and in dhyan mudra meditate on the image of Devi Durga in your heart before giving life to the idol.

Resolution (Sankalpa)

Take some water in the kushi and place it in the left palm. Grasp the kushi in a way that the narrow side faces the deity. Put a flower dipped in sandalwood and some rice with durba grass.

Chant by covering the kushi with the right palm. After the chanting, turn over the kushi on the offering plate (tamrapatra).

Hymn of Resolution (Samaveda)

This prayer is intended to seek heavenly grace to successfully completion of worship.

Goddess Durga’s reception


Entry of Navapatrika (Nabapatrika Prabesh)              

Nine twigs of plants, after receiving a large bath in the local pond enter the place of the puja for worship. In other places, twigs are previously tied in a group and placed next to Ganesha. This awaits a formal reception, bath and worship.


Place a flower on Nabapatrika’s feet and chant. This offers reverence to the Goddess.

Bathing of Nabapatrika (Nabapatrika Snan)

After anointing her body, prepare the Nabapatrika for a bath. This can be done in situ or in a large container where her reflection can be seen in a mirror.

Remember: Nabapatrika consists of nine branches: (as mentioned above) and, therefore, while bathing, each receives a separate recognition. Put some oil in the Nabapatrika along with the turmeric, chant while rubbing the oil on her.

Sacred Bath of Goddess Durga (Mahasnan)

Place a mirror in a large bowl and allow the image of Goddess Durga to be reflected in the mirror. The bath will be done in the reflection of the goddess in the mirror.

Water of Kamandalu (Bhringar jal)

Use the Kamandalu while pouring pure spring in the mirror. Pour some water from the Ganga river into the kamandalu and then pour the water in the mirror that shows the reflection of the goddess Durga or pour water from the conch in the mirror where you can see the reflection of Devi Durgas.

Or take some water in the kushi. Hold it over the flame of lamp. Then pour it into the kamandalu and pour its water over the mirror chanting the mantra. Pour a little perfume into kamandalu water (or put some sandle wood paste) and bathe.

Or, put some yogurt in the mirror and chant the mantra. Bathe with a little milk poured from a small glass. Pour a small amount of melted ghee into the mirror while chanting. Or, pour some honey in the mirror with the reflection of Goddess Durga.

Welcome of Durga

Durgar Abahan

Touch the base of the idol (you may have to use a kush to reach).

Activating the idol’s eyes

Take a kush (dry grass) and put the oily lamp soot (kajal) on its tip. (The soot is made by holding the kajallata (soot bowl) smeared with little oil and held on the flame of an oil lamp).

Note: For the Goddesses first activate the left eye and then the right eye. For the gods, first the right eye and then the left eye. The upper eye is done at the end. While brushing your left eye, chant the mantra.

Infusion of life (Pranpratishtha)

Before starting the Pranpratishtha ritual, count the mulamantra of Durga ten times. Then, between your right ring finger and thumb, take a flower. Then hold the flower in the position of the heart of the Devi and chant. Following the mantra, leave the flower at the feet of the deity.

Now, jap ten times with Mulmantra of Goddess Durga in her heart (in the same way that Gayatri is done) with the mantra. Then do the Gayatri ten times.

Following the pranpratishtha of Goddess Durga, move to each deity, including Mahishashur, Shiva and all children and pets. In each case, hold the flower in the heart and chant the mantra.

Worship of the accompanying members of the Durga family.

Pratimasthadevata puja                       

Four children of Durga accompany her to visit the land once a year during Durga puja. They are his two sons, Kartik and Ganesh, and his two daughters Lakshmi and Saraswati.

Each of them has their own divine powers and is worshiped at different times of the year. When they come with their mother at this time of year, they are worshiped together with Goddess Durga.

Sandhipuja, as the name implies, is the puja that is made between Ashtami and Navami which usually comes in the middle of the night. Many of the rituals are repetitions of Ashtami where the Goddess is worshiped as the War Chief. Note: Many names are repeated deliberately.

Invocation prayer

Worship of Durga as Chamunda, worship of Sixty-Four Forms of Goddess Durga, offering of one hundred and eight lamps.

Mahanavami Puja

Invocation prayers

Traditionally, Mahanavami is the fourth day of Durga Puja; the first three are Shashthi, Saptami and Ashtami. In the west, however, it is the last day of the weekend puja and, therefore, it is combined with Dashami.

In any case, the invocation prayers are done in the same way as for Saptami / Ashtami, with a small modification to suit Navami tithi. If Mahanavami is done on a fresh day, the priest should follow Saptami for Mahasnan and the offerings (according to available facilities).

Sankalpa (Resolution)

Place the kushi with a little water on the left palm, as was done for the sankalpa. In the kushi place a haritaki, a flower and some rice.

After completing of the resolution, turn over the kushi in the offering plate (tamrapatra). Then retrieve the kushi back to the kosha.

Welcome to the Goddess, showing the welcome mudras.

Sacrifice (you can do the day of Ashtami or Sandhi puja)

Although Balidan or sacrifice meant the offering of “self” to the Goddess, it took a turn among those who ate meat (non-vegetarians), prior the Buddhist era (500 BC).

Thus, the “animal sacrifice” became an integral part of Durga Puja. However, in modern times, animal lovers have banned the public slaughter of animals.

Thus, the suckling lamb (or goat) was replaced by whole fruit such as bananas or vegetables such as cucumbers or pumpkins. The rituals continue.

Wash the banana, clean with a paper towel and mark with vermilion paste (powder mixed with butter or oil). Do the same with the knife. The vermilion represents the blood. Put a flower on the knife and chant.

HAVAN – Kushundika

Preparatory arrangement

Resolution (Sankalpa)

Take the kushi with water, flower, durba, little rice, a flower and haritaki in the left hand. Cover the kushi with your right hand and declare the goal of fire worship. After completing the resolution, turn over the kushi on the offering plate (tamrapatra), ring the bell that declares the beginning of the fire worship ritual.

Dedication of sip water three times from your right palm seeking the blessing of Vishnu, our preserver. Then pray with your hands together.

Rekha Paat (Chimney Mark)

Traditionally, the Havan Kunda is prepared, filled with sand and its borders are marked with the ring finger while the thumb is touching the ring finger. These markings describe the colors of the fire.

Make four markings on all four sides of the Havan Kunda, on the sand and one in the center. A small stick can be used instead of the finger, since the Havan Kunda is often small in size. Mark four sides of the kunda and in the center. Marking by the exact address may not be convenient.

Putting the fire

Make your offerings of fire (sticks bathed in butter) to the nine planets


(Worship of a virgin girl, which symbolizes Goddess Durga)

Goddess Durga is worshiped in various ways during her period of stay on earth. One of those forms is the “Kumari”, the virgin form. To imagine the Goddess in the mold of a Kumari is an ancient concept.

The Kumari is the most powerful form of Mahashakti. She has the potential to give birth to a new life. Thus, Kumari Shakti is symbolically the basis of all creation. Our scriptures have emphasized Kumari Puja particularly to evolve the purity and divinity of women in society.

A girl between one to sixteen, symbolizing the Kumari form of Devi, is worshiped in front of the idol of Goddess Durga. The scriptures mention the great care with which the Kumari is selected to be worshiped as the earthly representative of Devi Durga.

The qualities required in the girl have to match the dynamism, purity and serenity of the Goddess. A calm, serene and single girl with a bright disposition between one and sixteen, who has not yet reached her puberty and is devoid of desire, worldly pleasures and anger, is the right requirement for the Kumari Puja.

Depending on the age of the girls, they are worshiped in the various forms of the Goddess. A three-year-old girl is worshiped in the Tridha form of Durga and a four-year-old girl is worshiped in the Kalika mould of the Devi. Subhaga and Uma are the forms of Durga for a child of five and six years respectively.

The worship is usually done by someone (man or woman) who wishes to do the puja in front of the Goddess. He / she might have chosen her own Kumari and the priest needs to help her perform the ceremony. It is interesting to note that the scripture allows Kumari of any caste, but a Brahmin Kumari is generally preferred.

Vijaya Dashami Puja

Dashami is the conclusion of the four-day celebration of Durga Puja. Before Goddess Durga leaves the earth and begins her journey to her abode in the Himalayas (heaven), she receives a sweet special gift (dadhi karma) as a token of good wishes from the mortals.

The priest, after offering the sweet, concludes the four days of Devi Puja, moves the sacred pitcher and sprinkles water from the sacred pitcher with his chant of peace. He also pray to the Goddess to forgive his mistakes and be rewarded for the work he did during the four days of the puja ceremony.

After the completion of the puja rituals performed by the priest, all women participate in an emotional farewell to Goddess Durga seeking her blessing for the long life of their husbands and the happiness of their families.

They put vermilion powder on the hair of the parting of Goddess Durga and on her forehead. Then, they put the vermilion powder on other married women in the puja, which becomes a play of colors for everyone.

Farewell to Goddess Durga

Dadhikarma or Dadhikarmbha

This special sweet preparation consists of flat rice, sweet puffed rice, yogurt, sweet and banana. After mixing, they are placed in large bowls for their offering to Goddess Durga and then distributed as consecrated prasad for all to share.

Goddess Durga’s reception (Cosmetics offer)

In this ritual, the devotee offers cosmetics to please the Goddess, who now comes to the puja platform. The offering concludes with a special gesture of reception, called baran, which indicates an honorable welcome to the great guest, Goddess Durga.

Resolution (for Adhibas)            

Take the tray (railing) that may have the following (and more): Lamp, soil of the river Ganges, sandalwood, small piece of stone, rice, flower, a fruit (supari or beetle nut), swastika (a sheet with a swastika sign or a metal with the sign), kajal-can (the container containing black soot, mixed with oil, for eyebrow decoration), shell, vermilion (sindur), yogurt, ghee, gold, silver, white mustard, turmeric (rochana).

Last day

On the last day of the festival, the goddess idol is immersed in the sea water/ river water. The festival concludes, the pandal is dismantled and the space returns to daily life. This festival keeps traditions alive through the annual rituals of construction, participation, visualization and debate.

Durga Prayers

By Poonam Neupane


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