Omkarananda Kamakshi Devi Mandir

Navaratri Celebrations in Omkarananda Ashram Himalayas,
23rd September to 2nd October, 2006

The nine day Navaratri Celebrations, dedicated to the Divine Mother, commenced with much devotion and auspicious blessings in the Omkarananda-Kamakshi-Devi Mandir on the morning of 23rd September, 2006. The first two ceremonies conducted by the Pandits in the Yajnashala occur only on the first day of the holy festival; these are the Kalasha Sthapana and Ghat Sthapana. The Devi Murti installation followed, known as the Devi Sthapana; this in turn was followed by two reverent Devi rituals, the Devi-Maha-Abishekham and the Devi Puja. All divine offerings were given in grand style by the Pandits, assisted by Swami Vishveshwarananda, Kumari Somashekhari and Swami Satchidananda.

A beautiful Altar was established by the Priests 
of Omkarananda-Kamakshi-Devi Mandir

Chandi Parayana, the recitation of Shlokas in honour of the Divine Mother, was followed by an offering to Omkarananda-Kamakshi-Devi in the form of Navavarana Puja. Guru Puja in honor of Swami Omkarananda Saraswati and Arati concluded the divine temple services.

That evening, attendees were welcomed into the temple with the Sarva Devata Puja, a ritual dedicated to all Deities. With the Agni Sthapana began the fire worship; Maha Ganapati Hawana was the first Yagna ceremony dedicated to Lord Ganesha. After Arati, Prasad was distributed to the devotees present.

Purnahuti by Swami Satchidananda

Each day from 24th September, 2006 to 1st October, 2006, different forms of the Divine Mother were worshipped with piety and great affection. In the mornings, the same rituals were performed each day: the Devi Maha-Abishekham, Devi Puja, Chandi Parayana and Navavarana Puja and Arati. In the evenings, after the services for all the Deities, a special Hawana was performed every day for each individual Deity. After the first day, on which the Ganapati Hawana was completed, Mahalakshmi, Rudra, Chandi, Durga, Guru and Tripurasundari were each honored with Hawana.

Final Purnahuti on Vijaya Dashami

The culmination of the entire festival occurred on the 2nd October 2006, Vijaya Dashami. Sarva-Devata Puja, Chandi Hawana, Sarva Devata Hawana, Purnahuti, Arati, Devata Visarjana, Kanya Puja, and Suvasini Puja were the main offerings this morning; local and international devotees gathered to assist the Omkarananda Ashram Pandits, Swami Vishveshwarananda, Kumari Somashekhari, and Swami Satchidananda with the proper obeisance to the Divine Mother and to partake in Prasad afterwards.

Kanya-Puja by Kumari Somashekhari

Nine small local girls took part in the Kanya Puja and were appropriately worshipped as Divine Goddesses on this day. Kumari Somashekhari presented each divine being with several gifts, and the girls were offered special Bhandara after the ceremonies. Each little Goddess glowed with the blessings bestowed by Omkarananda-Kamakshi-Devi herself. A local woman was selected to receive the Suvasini Puja; this puja is performed for a married lady, whose husband is still living; gifts are given to her as another form of the Divine Mother.

The Navaratri festival was enjoyed by all - a magnificent and holy occasion that gave each participant a heart full of gratitude and joy for the Divine Mother's continuous grace and blessings.