In the 'Ramayana', Lord Rama along with his army of monkeys lead by Hanuman went to 'Lanka' to rescue his wife, Sita, who was abducted and imprisoned by the ten headed Ravana, the king of the Demons in Lanka.
Before his final battle with Ravana, Rama seeked the blessings of Devi Durga for defeating Ravana. He was given to understand that the Goddess would be pleased only if she was worshipped with one hundred 'NeelKamal' or blue lotuses. After travelling and searching the whole world, Rama could gather only ninety-nine ‘Neel Kamals". So intense was his devotion that he finally decided to offer one of his eyes, which resembled blue lotuses. Durga, being pleased with the devotion of Rama, appeared and blessed him for the battle.
The fierce and decisive battle started on the day of 'Saptami' and Ravana was finally defeated and killed on the 'Sandhikshan' i.e. the crossover period between Ashtami (the next day) and Navami (the day after). Ravana was cremated on Dashami.
Since the period of this worship was different from the conventional period (during the spring - 'Basanta'), this puja is also known as 'Akal-Bodhan' or a worship (Bodhan) in an unconventional time (A-Kaal).
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