The eighth day of Navaratri and Durga Puja is being celebrated as Durga Ashtami all over India. The festival of Durga Puja is celebrated by the people of West Bengal, Odissa, Assam, Bihar and many other states. The eighth day of Navaratri is celebrated as the most auspicious one which is followed by prayers and fasts. This is has its own significance as this day is marked as the victory of the goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura. If Hindu Mythology is to be believed the it is said that on this day, Kali Mata is said to have emerged from the forehead of Durga to kill the demons of Mahisasura, Chanda and Munda.
Maha Ashtami commences with the Mahasnan and Shodashopachar Puja which is believed to be as same as the Puja performed on the day of Saptami. As per the rituals, on the day of Maha Ashtami nine small pots are put and the nine forms of goddess Durga are invoked in them. Then the nine avatars of Goddess Durga are worshipped. In many religions, on this day Kumari Puja or Kanchak are observed which involves worshipping young and unmarried girls who are treated in the form of Goddess Durga.
The most important Puja that is performed on this day is the Sandhi Puja which starts when the Ashtami tithi ends and Navami tihi begins. As per the rituals, the last 24 minutes at the end of Ashtami and the first 24 minutes at the start of Navami are considered the most auspicious time during the sacred time. It is a choice for the devotees, who do not sacrifice animals, perform the bali with vegetables and fruits like banana, cucumber or pumpkin. On this day of Ashtami, bhog and prasad to the devotees. The Ashtami Tithi begins at 19:08 on September 27 and Ashtami Tithi ends at 21:36 on September 26.