The first day of Navratri is dedicated to Maa Shailaputri. Let us find out who Shailaputri is, and what her story tells is...
Parvati was born to king Himvan and his wife Mainavati.
Once she was out at the foothills of the mountains, grazing the cattle. Parvati always made sure to visit the Shiva temple which was just a couple of yards away, whenever her cattle were grazing in the area.
There was a forest nearby, in which an asura called Khandakasura lived. The asura looked like stone and could turn anything that he came in contact with, to stone.
Sensing an opportunity, Khandakasura came out and turned all the cattle to stone. When Parvati found out what had happened, she was enraged. She ran towards the asura and hit him with a stick.
Khandakasura was surprised that Parvati did not turn into stone.
He asked her how she managed to do that. Parvati mentioned that she was ‘Shailaputri’ (shaila = mountain & putri = daughter), the daughter of the mountains. When she herself was made with the power of & protected by stones, how could anyone else turn her into a stone?
At first Khandakasura was intrigued by this but then laughed it off by challenging her to fight. He claimed he could very easily defeat her.
Thus ensued a battle which ended with Shailaputri killing Khandakasura by stabbing him at the centre. With the death of the asura, his powers were absolved, and the cattle became alive again.
The first day of Navratri is dedicated to Shailaputri devi.