One of the most important ritual of Durga Puja is the Sandhi Puja which is performed at a very important period.It is done at the exact juncture when the Asthami tithi ends and Navami tithi begins.The last 24 minutes of Ashtami and first 24 minutes of Navami is regarded as the Sandhikhan. This is the exact time at which Devi Durga slayed the notorious pair Chando and Munda. There is an interesting legend behind this timing.
Devi Durga appeared in front of the errant Mahishashura in a form of beautiful golden woman. Her skin was golden and she was clad in a yellow saree. Her ten hands held various kinds of weapons. When pitched battle was going on between Goddess Durga and Mahishashura, his allies Chondo and Munda attacked the Goddess from behind.The Goddess was so enraged by this breach of battle rules that her face turned blue. She opened her third eye and Chamunda avatar (taken from Chondo and Munda) sprang out. This avatar was a form of the blood curdling Goddess Kali. Chamunda slayed Chondo and Munda with her falchion. Sandhi Puja is celebrated to worship the Chamunda form of Goddess Durga.
On the eve of Navami you have to make your final offering to Goddess Durga. Thus the arrangements for Sandhi Puja are usually grand. You need 108 lotuses and 108 earthen oil lamps to begin with. A single whole fruit (preferably red), hibiscus flowers, saree, uncooked rice grains, jewellery if you are offering any and bel leaves or a garland of 108 bel leaves.. Wishing you all a blessed Sandhi Puja!
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