Navratri Puja on the eighth day is also known as Maha Pooja. This day is dedicated to Maa Gauri, the eighth incarnation of Goddess Durga. She is Lord Shiva’s consort. As the name suggests, Maha means great and Gauri means fair complexioned like that of snow. She is also known by various other names like Vrisharudha (as she rides a bull), Shwetambardhara (as she is dressed in white clothes), Chaturbhuj (because she possesses four hands) and Shambhavi.
Goddess Maha Gauri is extremely beautiful and white complexioned like moon/snow. She is mounted on a white bull and is dressed in white or green clothes. She wears white ornaments and is portrayed with four hands and three eyes. She holds a Trishul in her lower right hand and her upper right hand allays fear. She holds a Damaru in her upper left hand while the lower left hand has the pose of showering her devotees with her blessings. She symbolizes purity, calmness and tranquility and portrays wisdom. She is capable of doing the impossible for protecting her devotees.
Puja rituals on the eight day of Navratri
This day marks as the day for breaking the fast for many devotees and hence on this day they are supposed to worship and feed nine little girls representing the nine forms of the goddess. On this day, married women offer a red Duppatta or Chunari to the Goddess Maha Gauri seeking the blessing for granting their husbands with a long life. Even Lord Shiva is worshipped on this day. The nine girls should be fed with Kheer, Puri, Halwa and gifts should be offered to them along with cash. Thereafter the devotees are supposed to break their fast, which had been continuing since day one of the Navratri Puja.
Mantras and Shlokas
Maha Gauri Puja is performed on the Shukla Ashthami with a pure mind by chanting the following mantras and shlokas.
Maa Mahagauri Mantra:
श्वेते वृषेसमारूढा श्वेताम्बरधरा शुचिः।
महागौरी शुभं दद्यान्महादेव प्रमोददा॥
Shwete Vrishesamarudha Shwetambaradhara Shuchih।
Mahagauri Shubham Dadyanmahadeva Pramodada॥