Kumari Puja is one of the most important rituals of Navratri Durga Puja. In this ritual, a girl aged between one to sixteen years, symbolising the Kumari form of the Goddess is worshipped in front of the idol of Goddess Durga. This is an important ritual which finds mention in many of the great scriptures which emphasise this as the most powerful form of Mahashakti.
The girl chosen to be worshipped as Kumari is selected with great care so as to match the qualities of dynamism, purity and serenity of the Goddess. The ideal Kumari is the one who is calm, serene and unmarried girl who has not yet reached her puberty. They are worshipped according to their age as they represent various forms of the Goddess.
Sandhya represents one year old girl
Saraswati represents two year old girl
Tridha represents three year old girl
Kalika represents four year old girl
Subhaga represents five year old girl
Uma represents six year old girl
Malini represents seven year old girl
Kujjika represents eight year old girl
Kalsondarbha represents ten year old girl
Aparajita represents eleven year old girl
Bhairavi represents twelve year old girl
Mahalakshmi represents thirteen year old girl
Pitnayika represents fourteen year old girl
Khetragya represents fifteen year old girl and
Ambika represents sixteen year old girl
The Kumari thus selected is bathed in Ganga water and is clad in a red sari. She is decorated with flowers and jewellary, her feet is decorated with alta and a tilak is put on her forehead. The young girl would fast for the whole day. She is seated in front of the Goddess and the priest worships her just like Goddess Durga.
It is believed that the divinity of the Goddess Durga can be seen in the Kumari on that day. This ritual is very famous in the Belur Math. In the year 1902, Swami Vivekananda performed the Kumari Puja for the first time in Belur and since then the tradition has continued till now.