THE PUJAS AND FESTIVALS
regular worship is offered five times a day as is the practice in Maharashtra.
Attendance at three sessions a day-for a period of six fortnights confers great
merit. The first puja starts at 5 AM with the Suprabhatam - awakening ritual.
According to tradition, a torch is taken round the sanctum sanctorum with
of hymns. Then begins abhisheka - bathing the ickon in milk etc., followed by
decoration with sandal paste, garlands shimmering robes and dazzling diamond
jewels. Prayers in song and chants are offered. The second session called
shodasopachari puja begins at 8 AM. This is quite elaborate and upacharas are
many like avahana, padya, arghya, achamana, snana, alankarana, dhupa-diparadhana,
arati, naivedva, dakshina and parikramana. The third puja
being very important some more rituals are added. It is offered to the accompaniment
of band music played in the nagarkana. The evening puja called
Panchopachari and the last one reaches the finale with shejaarati, when the
Mother is put to sleep with fine songs. Along with these daily ritualistic
pujas, there arc some others like Palkhi seva and Ratostava.