Durga Puja, also known as Durgotsava or Sharadotsav, is a popular festival celebrated among the Bengali community, mainly celebrated across eastern India. The festival culminates on the tenth day, which is celebrated as Vijayadashami or Dussehra. Durga Puja coincides with Navratri, which is celebrated in the central and western parts of the country.
There are many beliefs and rituals attached to this Bengali festival. Although Durga Puja runs for 10 days, the main or Maha Puja begins on the seventh day, also known as Saptami.
On the early hours of Saptami, Goddess Durga is invoked in a group of nine plants bunched together, called Nabapatrika, and tied to the twigs of white Aparajita plant with a yellow thread. These nine plants represent the nine manifestations of Goddess. The Nabapatrika is given a pre-dawn bath in the Ganga water.
The nine plants of Nabapatrika represent nine Goddesses (Source: Free Press Journal)
• Banana plant: Goddess Brahmani
• Colocasia plant: Goddess Kalika
• Turmeric plant: Goddess Durga
• Jayanti plant: Goddess Kartiki
• Bel leaves: Lord Shiva
• Pomegranate leaves: Goddess Raktadantika
• Asoka leaves: Goddess Shokarahita
• Arum plant: Goddess Chamunda
• Rice paddy: Goddess Lakshmi
After the bathing ceremony, Nabapatrika is adorned in red bordered white saari and vermilion is smeared on its leaves. She is then placed on a decorated pedestal and worshipped with flowers, sandalwood paste and incense sticks. Later she is placed on the right side of Lord Ganesh. This is the reason she is also popularly known as Ganesh's wife.