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Chaitra Navratri Kanjak Ashtami Puja – Young Girls worshipped as Goddess

Kanjak Ashtami puja is an important ritual during the Chaitra Navratri or Vasant Navratri. It falls on the eighth day – the Ashtami day – of the nine-day Navratri festival. A young girl child (Kanjaks) is worshipped on this day in North India. In 2024, the date of Kanjak Ashtami is marked on April 16.

On the day people invite young girls to their homes and wash their feet and tie red color thread on their wrists. A tika is applied on the girl child’s forehead and worship them as Mother Goddess. The family members take blessing from the young child by touching their feet. The children are given ‘prasad,’ gifts and some money.

Why is Kanjak Puja Performed?

It is believed that performing Kanjak Puja will help in the removal of poverty. It ushers in peace and prosperity. It is also performed for overcoming enemies. It is also performed to overcome Vastu Dosh. The belief is that feeding five kanya on Chaitra Ashtami or Navami will remove all types of disturbances and difficulties associated with Vastu Dosha.

How to Perform Kanjak Ashtami puja?

On the each day of Navratri, puja and worship of a girl child is performed. Girl child between the age of 2 and 8 is invited. On Ashtami (eighth) and Navami (ninth) tithi, nine girl child are worshiped.

Two-year-old girl child is known as Kumari; she is worshiped for attaining peace and prosperity

Three-year-old girl is known as Trimurti - for attaining wealth, strength and moksha.

Four-year-old girl is known as Kalyani - for Vidya (knowledge), power and position.

Five-year-old girl is known as Rohini - to overcome diseases - for early cure and for health children

Six-year-old girl is known as Kalika - to overcome enemies

Seven-year-old girl is known as Sambhavi  - for wealth and desire fulfillment and also for attaining siddhis

Eight-year-old girl is known as Subhadra - for achieving success in work

The girl child is invited to home and she is given a seat.

She is worshipped with the different names of Mother Goddess Shakti.

She is offered puja and worship with Aarti.

She is then given a good meal.

Clothes and books are given as gift.

Educating a poor girl child earns the merit of worshiping all nine deities.

Flip Side

Some of the regions in India that observe Kanjak Ashtami are Chandigarh, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.

But sadly these places are notorious for sex-determination tests and the subsequent abortion of female fetuses.

In fact, many households find it hard to get a girl child for puja during Kanjak Ashtami.

No Bhagavad Gita or No incarnation can change the mindset of such people, who one day worship the girl child and on another day abort a female fetus without any consideration.