Ghatasthapana is the first day of Vijaya Dashami. Ghata means “pot or vessel” and sthapana means “to establish”. Combining both words the literal meaning is to establish a pot.
Ghatasthapana is also known as Kalasthapana as Kasal also a type of water vessel.The Ghatasthapana day falls on the first day after the no-moon day (the bright forthright) of the Ashwin month of Bikrarm Sambat Calendar.
In this day the kalash, (holy water vessel) symbolizing Goddess Durga is placed in the prayer (pooja) room. The pot is either made up of clay or metal. The kalash is filled with holy water and covered with cow dung (गोबर) on to which seeds is spread to decorate it. The plant which grow big in 10 days is called Jamara.
Sand collected form river bank is spread in the prayer room as a cake around the kalash making it a center. Barley seed along with sesame is planted on the sand surrounding the kalas. Certain favorable moment is determined by the pundits (priest) to start the Ghatasthapana. Priest chants a welcome mantra, requesting goddess Durga to bless kalash with resting herself for ten days in the prayer room. Food items, abir, kumkum and other colorful powders and flowers are offered to the Ghata. A lamp with sesame oil is lit. This lamp should be burning all day and night till the tenth day or Vijaya Dashami. The chandi (चण्डी पाठ) mantra is recited for goddess Durga Bhawani in the room of Ghatasthapana for 10 days.
Generally male member (who have already done Bratabandha) reads one chapter of Chandi every morning and evening. They take shower and wear clean white dhoti while going inside the prayer room.
There is a tradition of restricting unmarried women, non-family members and boys before Vratabanda to enter Ghatasthapana room. Weapons are placed front of Goddess Durga Bhawani and worshipped. People blow Sankha and play Damaru while worshiping Durga Bhawani and Jamara.
How is Ghatasthapana Pooja performed
The puja room is cleaned and a Kalash made of clay or copper with large opening is filled with water, sandalwood paste, flowers, Holy grass (duvo (दूबो)), rice mixed with turmeric (akshyata), betel nut, five leaves, five gems or a gold coin. A coconut is placed on top of the Kalash – some people avoid placing the coconut and instead use garland to cover the top. The neck of the Kalash is tied with white and red piece of cloth.
What is Jamara and how is it planted?
Jamara is a kind of plant made of maize, oats, sesame and other grains. Before planting the jamara, the Kalash is filled with holy water, colorful flowers, holy grass (doobo), the rice mixed with holy red color powder, five leaves, betel nut and a coin. Then the coconut with water inside is placed on top of the Kalash and tightens it with red or white piece of cloth. The garland of flower can also be used instead of coconut for covering the top of Kalash. The cow dung is also used while covering it.
After finishing the decoration of Kalash, the banana leaves are collected in the dark place where the sunlight does not enter and filled with the mixture of sand and soil. Then the Kalash is placed in the middle of such mixture. After then the photo of goddess Durga is kept nearby the mixture. Then she is worshipped by the colorful holy powder and the different kinds of food. The lamp with sesame oil is also lit. It is also believed that this lamp should be burned till to the ten days (Vijaya Dashmi).
Finally, the jamara plantation work starts. The people plant everything like maize, oats, sesame, barley, wheat and other sorts of grain whatever they have. While planting, they chant the hymn for offering the goddess Durga. The hymn is:
“Mama Mahamaya Bhagwoti (or Mayadhipati Bhagwota) Pritaye Aayurbala Wittaroya Samadaradi Prataye (or Nawaratrabratamaha Karisye)”
Every day in the morning till to Vijaya Dasami, one of the traditionally allowed family members enters the room where the Ghata is established and pours the water over the seeds with reciting the mantra.
On the tenth day, the jamara becomes yellow in color with 3-4 inches long. Then it is cut and give to every younger as a blessing while putting tika.