Ghatasthapana is one of the significant rituals during Navratri. It marks the beginning of nine days festivity. Our scriptures have well defined rules and guidelines to perform Ghatasthapana during a certain period of time at the beginning of Navratri. Ghatasthapana is invocation of Goddess Shakti and doing it wrong time, as our scriptures forewarn, might bring wrath of the Goddess Shakti. Ghatasthapana is prohibited during Amavasya and night time.
The most auspicious or Shubh time to do Ghatasthapana is first one third of the day while Pratipada is prevailing. If due to some reasons this time is not available then Ghatasthapana can be done during Abhijit Muhurta. It is advised to avoid Nakshatra Chitra and Vaidhriti Yoga during Ghatasthapana but those are not prohibited. The most important factor to consider is that Ghatasthapana is done before Hindu midday while Pratipada is prevailing.
Hence please note down the city based Ghatasthapana Time after setting the location for your city.
Kalash is prepared before invoking the Goddess and other Gods into it.
Step 1 - First take the wide clay pot (the one which would be used to keep the Kalash) to sow the grains. Spread the first layer of the soil into the pot and then spread the grain seeds. Now add the second layer of the soil and grains. In second layer grains should be spread near the periphery of the pot. Now spread the third and final layer of the soil into the pot. If needed add little water to the pot to set the soil.
Step 2 - Now tie the sacred thread on the neck of the Kalash and fill it up with the holy water up to the neck. Drop Supari, scent, Durva grass, Akshat and coins into the water. Keep 5 leaves of Ashoka at the edge of the Kalash before covering it with a lid.
Step 3 – Now take the un-peeled coconut and wrap it inside the red cloth. Fasten the coconut and red cloth with the sacred thread.
Now keep the coconut on top of the Kalash prepared in step 2. At last put the Kalash in the center on the grain pot prepared in step 1. Now we have Kalash ready to invoke Goddess Durga into it.
Now invoke Goddess Durga and request Her to accept your prayers and to oblige you by residing into the Kalash for nine days.
As name suggests, Panchopachara Puja (पंचोपचार पूजा) is done with five Puja items. First show the lamp to the Kalash and all deities invoked in it. After lamp offering, light Dhoop sticks and offer it to the Kalash, followed by flowers and scent. Finally offer Naivedhya (नैवेद्य) i.e. fruits and sweets to the Kalash to conclude Panchopachara Puja.