The eight day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Mahagauri. She has the power to fulfill all the wishes of her devotees and those who pray to her, get relief from all their sufferings. Mahagauri stands for extremely white as the Goddess was white in colour and very beautiful. She is represented with four hands, holding a lotus, trident and a drum and fourth one being the blessing gesture. The lotus is at times replaced with a rosary.
Goddess Parvati had to perform penance in order to get Lord Shiva as her husband. While undergoing that, she had to face a lot of hardships like survive on leaves, stay in wild forests and due to such conditions, her complexion turned black. Later, when Lord Shiva accepted her as shis wife, he bathed her with water from the Ganges which turned her complexion back to normal i.e. fair. This is why she is known as Mahagauri.
There is another story according to which, there was a hungry lion who saw Mahagauri performing penance. He waited for her penance to end to satiate his hunger but a long period passed and the lion grew hungrier and weaker. When the Goddess opened her eyes, she saw the lion sitting in front of her and felt bad for him because he had also performed penance along with the goddess. She then decided to make the lion as her vehicle and since then, the lion and the bull both are seen as the vehicles of the Goddess.
On Ashtami, women offer red duppatta to the Goddess. On Ashtami, clean the area where you have to perform the puja and then place and idol or a picture of Goddess Mahagauri. Then place a white cloth on the table where you have kept the idol or picture and keep Mahagauri yantra there. Take white flowers in your hand and pray to the Goddess.
Kanya puja is also performed on Ashtami for which you need to invite nine girls to your home, wash their feet and offer food to them-which includes halwa, poori and kala chana along with a coconut and some money. The girls should be above 2 years of age and less than 10. The girls should be nine in number or else two.
Vande Vanchit Kamarth Chandrardhkrit Shekharam
Sinhruda Chaturbhuja Mahagauri Yashswanim
Purnandu Nibhan Gauri Somchakrastithta Ashtam Mahagauri Trinetram
Varabhitikaran Trishool Damroodharan Mahagauri Bhajem
Patambar Paridhanan Mriduhasya Nanalankar Bhooshitam
Manjeer Haar Keyoor, Kinkini, Ratnakundal Manditam
Praful Vandana Pallavandhara Kaant Kapolan Trailokya Mohnam
Kamniya Lavanya Mrinal Chandangandhliptam.
Sarvasankat Hantri Twahi Dhan Aishwary Pradayneem
Gyanda Chaturvedmayi Mahagauri Pranmabhyaham
Sukh Shantidatri Dhan Dhanya Pradayneem
Damruvadya Priya Adya Mahagauri Pranmabhyaham
Trailokyamangal Twahi Tapatrya Harineem
Vadadn Chaitanyamayi Mahagauri Pranmamayaham.