The first day of Navratri marks the beginning of the festive season. Nine different incarnations of Goddess Durga are worshipped on nine different nights. The nine different forms are: Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayini, Kaalratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidhatri. Today, on the first day of Navratri, Maa Shailaputri, the incarnation of Maa Durga is worshipped.
Maa Shailaputri is known as the daughter of the mountains and is also one of the avatars of Goddess Parvati. Legend says that in the previous birth, She was Sati, daughter of Daksha, married to Lord Shiva. Once Daksha organised a big Yagna, but did not invite Shiva. Sati, still went there, thereby seeing how all gods were invited except Her husband. Sati could not bear the insult to Her husband and immolated Herself in the fire of the Yagna. When She took rebirth, She was born as the daughter of the Himalaya, hence the name “Shailaputri”.
Like her previous birth, in this birth as Parvati, She marries Lord Shiva.
Maa Shailaputri rides a bull and carries a lotus in Her left hand and a Trishul in Her right hand.