Shakambhari Navratri or Banashankari Navaratri is dedicated to the goddess Shakambhari. The festivities start from Paush Shukla Ashtami and end on Paush Purnima day. So it is also known as Paush Gupt Navaratri or Paush Navaratri. Paush Shukla Ashtami is known as the Banada Ashtami or Badanadtami. Unlike other Navratri which starts at Shukla Pratipada, Shakambari Navratri starts from Ashtami and ends at Purnima. Shakambari Navratri is celebrated for eight days. Goddess Shakambari is the body of Devi Bhagwati Durga who was born as Shakambari to save people from hunger and food shortages on Earth.
Other names of Maa Shakambari are Banashankari, Banashankari, Banadevi, and Shankari. Paush Purnima also known as Shakambari Purnima is celebrated as Shakambari Jayanti. It is believed that the goddess Shakambari was born on the same day. According to the story behind Banada Ashtami, it is said that two Tantriks started Sadhna, but they could not do it perfectly, so their efforts were in vain. They find the time of year when they can get the results they want. This period is known as Gupt Navratri where a dedicated person performs Puja to get the results you want. Since then, these nine days have been dedicated to the goddess Shakti in secret. As mentioned in Srimad Devi Bhagavata Mahapurana, Devi Shakambari was implanted in the body to alleviate the great food crisis.
Gupt Navratri is also known as Banada Ashtami. ‘Gupt’ signifies secret or hidden. On the day of Gupt Navratri, the devotees perform various illegitimate rituals, such as Tantrism, Vashikaran (An act of possession) and Videshan (to cause harm in the other’s life). The Gupt Navratri Puja is performed in nine different forms worshipping Goddess Shakti. This Navratri is performed secretly, and Maa Durga is secretly worshipped during these days. This secret worshipping is very powerful and brings significant results for devotees who observe it with full dedication. Worshiping Goddess Durga brings prosperity. Devotees who worship and serve Goddess by reading her Mahatmyam would pierce through her Maya and walk free. She will take away the misfortunes of her devotees.