We would try to keep aside all myths and glamour added to Karwa Chauth rituals mainly by cinema and TV shows. However we recognize and give cinema the due credit to make the day of Karwa Chauth so popular not only in India but also among all Indians across the globe.
Our religious books including Dharamasindhu, Nirnayasindhu and Vratraj mention Karwa Chauth as Karak Chaturthi. Both Karak and Karwa refer to small pitcher which is used during Puja and given as charity or Dan for the wellbeing of the family. It is mentioned that only women have the right to perform fasting on Karwa Chauth. The fasting on Karwa Chauth is done not only for well- being and long life of the husband but also for the sons, grandsons, wealth and everlasting prosperity of the family.
Karwa Chauth coincides with Sankashti Chaturthi a fasting day observed for Lord Ganesha. However on the day of Karwa Chauth Lord Shiva and His family including Goddess Parvati, Lord Ganesha and Lord Kartikeya are worshipped. Goddess Parvati being Akhand Saubhagyavati is worshipped first during the Puja followed by Lord Shiva, Lord Kartikeya and Lord Ganesha. Women also worship Goddess Gaura and Chauth Mata who represent Goddess Parvati itself on the day of Karwa Chauth.
On the day of fasting, after taking morning bath women should take the pledge, which is called Sankalp, to keep the fast for the wellbeing of the husband and the family. It is also recited during Sankalp that the fasting would be without any food or the water and the fast would be broken after sighting the moon. The Mantra to chant while taking the pledge –
मम सुखसौभाग्य पुत्रपौत्रादि सुस्थिर श्री प्राप्तये करक चतुर्थी व्रतमहं करिष्ये।
Translation - It means "I would observe the fasting of Karak Chaturthi for the wellbeing of the husband, sons and grandsons and to gain fixed wealth".
According to Vratraj, the best time to perform Karwa Chauth Puja is during Sandhya time which starts after sunset. Hence please note down the city based Karwa Chauth Puja Timings after setting the location for your city.
Karwa Chauth Puja is focused to seek blessing of Goddess Parvati. Women either draw Goddess Gaura and Chauth Mata on the wall or use Chauth Mata image on the printed Karwa Chauth Puja Calendar to worship Mata Parvati. Goddess Gaura and Chauth Mata are representations of Goddess Parvati. The Mantra which should be recited during Parvati Puja is –
नमः शिवायै शर्वाण्यै सौभाग्यं संतति शुभाम्। प्रयच्छ भक्तियुक्तानां नारीणां हरवल्लभे॥
Translation - It means "O beloved consort of Lord Shiva, please bestow long life of the husband and beautiful sons to your women devotees". After Goddess Gaura, Lord Shiva, Lord Kartikeya and Lord Ganesha are worshipped.
Usually women perform Puja in a group and narrate the Story of Karwa Chauth Mahatamya, known as magnanimous of Karwa Chauth fasting.
After Puja, Karwa should be given as charity to the Brahmin or some eligible woman. The Karwa or Karak should be filled with the water or the milk and precious stones or coins should be dropped in it. Karwa should be donated to some Brahmin or Suhagan women. The Mantra which should be chanted while donating Karwa –
करकं क्षीरसम्पूर्णा तोयपूर्णमथापि वा। ददामि रत्नसंयुक्तं चिरञ्जीवतु मे पतिः॥
Translation - It means "O milk filled Karwe with precious stones; I donate you, so that my husband is long lived".
After Puja women should wait for the moon to risen. Women should worship God Chandra and after making offering to him should break the fast.