Sharda Navratri fast holds a place of great importance. It signified the faith and belief of people in the power of goddess. Goddess Durga has been worshipped since ancient times. It is believed that Lord Ram worshipped Goddess Durga to attain victory against Ravana. There have been many mythological stories depicting the glory of the goddess. It is believed that observing Navratri fast for nine days as per the rituals blesses the person with virtue and happiness.
Navratra is a festival of nine days in which 9 manifestations of goddess Durga are worshipped in the given order: Goddess Shailputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmandal, Skandmata, Katyayani, Kalratri, Mahagauri and Siddhatri. Sharadiya Navratri is celebrated in the month of Ashwin and people worship the nine forms of the goddess by observing fasts and performing the rituals during this period. Durga saptashti is recited during the puja ceremony, and lamp is lighted day and night for the entire nine days.
In 2018, Shardiya Navratra will begin on 10th September , Wednesday on the Pratipada tithi of Ashwin Shukla Paksha. Durga Puja begins with the ritual of establishing a Kalash.
In the morning of the pratipada tithi of Ashwin shukla paksha, the devotee determines to fast followed by building an altar of soil himself or by the priest and planting barley over it. Then the Kalash is established on the raised platform made of mud along with an idol of the goddess placed on it. Durga saptashti is recited after the establishment ritual while performing the puja. During the puja ceremony, lamp should be lighted day and night for the entire nine days. Some people establish the idol of Lord Ram and recite Ramayana during this period.