Sri Gowri Vratham is the festival ascribed to Sri Gowri Devi, the manifestation of Sri Parvathi Devi. It is celebrated for five days in the month of Ashada. These five days are called as Panchkula / Gowri Panchak.
Sri Gowri Vratham commences on the Shukla Paksha Ekadashi of Ashada month and ends on Guru Purnima day. For the Year 2021, the Vratham begins on the night of 19th July 2021 and ends on 24th July 2021.
The fourth day of the festival is observed as Jaya Parvathi Vrat and it occurs on 23rd July 2021. The exact duration of the Tithi is to be ascertained from the respective regional calendar.
The Vrat is observed mostly by unmarried girls to be blessed with good husbands. The festival is predominantly celebrated in Gujarat and some western parts of India. The Vrat is also called as Morakat Vrat.
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There are a few legends pertaining to the origination of Sri Gowri.
Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi
As per Sri Vamana Puran, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi were living in a palace built by Sri Visvakarma, the celestial architect.
Lord Shiva teasing
One day, Lord Shiva teasingly called Sri Uma Devi as “Kaali”. Sri Uma got upset that She was called thus because of Her dark color.
Sri Uma Devi penance
So, She did penance on Sri Brahma. When He asked Her the purpose of Her tapas, She said that She wanted to be fair complexioned. Lord Brahma consented.
Katyayani and Gowri
Sri Brahma had removed Her dark color and made it into a Goddess named Katyayani. The fair colored Uma Devi was called as Sri Gowri.
As per the legend, it is believed that Goddess Parvathi Devi had observed this Vrat to get married to Lord Shiva.
The women who observe the Vrat abstain from the consumption of vegetables and salt. On the first day, they put the seeds of jowar or wheat or corn in a small mud pot for germination in their Puja rooms. The pot is watered every day. Lord Surya is worshipped on these days.
After the five-day Vrat observation, the germinated seeds are planted at the garden of their houses. They visit the temples dedicated to any manifestation of Sri Parvathi Devi. The fast is broken by partaking of wheat-based food.
On all the five days, Sri Gowri is worshipped with Sri Maha Gowri Puja. The idol / picture of any manifestation of Sri Parvathi is kept at Puja place. At times, Kalash is also kept.
The idol / picture and kalash are decorated with flowers. Chandan, turmeric and Kumkum are applied. Lamps and incense sticks are lit.
Lord Ganesha is first invoked. Then Slokas / Stotras invoking Sri Gowri Devi are recited. Ashtothara Sathanama Puja is done chanting the 108 names of Sri Gowri Devi. Sweets and fruits are offered as Neivedyam. Aarti is performed at the end of the Puja.
There are innumerable Slokams / Stotrams for the invocation of and prayer to Sri Parvathi Devi. A few of them are listed below.
Sri Raja Rajeswari Ashtakam
Sri Abhirami Stotram
Sri Amba Pancharathnam
Sri Anna Purna Ashtakam
Sri Lalitha Panchakam
Sri Gowri Dashakam
Sri Renuka Sapthakam
Sri Meenakshi Pancha Rathnam
Sri Mangala Gowri Stotram
Sri Bhavani Ashtakam
Sri Narayani Sthuthi
Sri Mangala Gowri Aarthi
Sri Mangala Gowri Ashtothara Satha Namavali