Grand Ram Navami Celebrations in Ayodhya
In India, people celebrate Shri Ram Navami to honour Lord Rama, also known as the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu. It is one of the oldest and famous festivals celebrated in the country.
According to the Hindu Calendar, Ram Navami day falls on the ninth day of Shukla Paksha in the month of Chaitra. It is a public holiday also considered as a festival of spring as it arrives at that time of year. On this auspicious occasion, devotees end their nine days long fast. Consequently, in the honour of Lord Rama, they visit temples and narrate verses from the holy scriptures like Bhagavad Gita and Ramayana.
About Ram Navami
Lord Rama, or ‘Maryada Purshottam’, was born in the year 5114 BC. Rama was the firstborn son of King Dashratha in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. People in India remember Lord Rama for his prosperous and righteous reign. Further, he is the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu who came on earth to battle the Ravana.
The birthplace of Rama, Ayodhya is the focus of tremendous celebrations on Ram Navami. Many people also highlight this auspicious day as the wedding anniversary of Maryada Purshottam Ram and Goddess Sita. The chariot processions of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana are taken out from various temples. Devotees crowd the temples and sing bhajans in praise of Lord Rama.
Every year, Ram Navami falls between March and April. It is a holiday for everyone in India, and given below are next year dates for Ram Navami:
How is Ram Navami in India Celebrated?
- In some parts of the country, Ram Navami celebrations start nine days before the actual date. People chant appropriate mantras and offer flowers and fruits. They visit temples in-between these nine days. Moreover, people celebrate this day in different ways with pandal programs, pujas, and rath yatras.
- Some Vaishnava Hindus celebrate this holy Indian festival by visiting temples. Others prefer divine meets at their homes. They celebrate Ram Navami by fasting, singing bhajan and kirtan, and reading about Lord Rama’s life. The temples also conduct Ramayana Katha in which people chant or present the details of Ramayana.
- Some locations in India like Bhadrachalam (Telangana), Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh), Sitamarhi (Bihar), and Rameshwaram (Tamil Nadu) organize Rath yatras. Additionally, people clean their houses, put pictures of Lord Rama, his wife Sita, brother Lakshman, and devotee Hanuman.
- In Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Rama, an enormous fair for two days is held where hundreds of people gather to celebrate Ram Navami. Some states like Andhra Pradesh, people celebrate this grand festival for about ten days starting at the Chaitra Saptami to the Bahula Padyami.
- In Karnataka, people celebrate Ram Navami by distributing free panaka (crushed jaggery and muskmelon juice). During the puja, people in India keep flowers along with two thalis. One thali contains all the necessary items for the puja, and the other contains the Prasad.
- To celebrate this occasion, the Shree Ramaseva Mandali, R.C.T (R.) Chamrajpet organises a classical music festival for a month. People across the world come here to become a part of this event. In the eastern parts of India, like Jharkhand, Odisha, or West Bengal, devotees take part in the annual Jagannath Rath Yatra. Ram Navami has numerous food items to suit this public holiday.
What to Do During Ram Navami in India?
In Hindu households, people celebrate Ram Navami by doing prayer at their home. For instance, they consider aipun, rice, roli, flowers, water, bell, and conchas necessary items for the puja. After that, one of the family members applies teeka to all other members. Every member of the family participates in the puja by scattering the roli, water, and aipun on religious statues. At the end of aarti, one of the family members sprinkles plain (holy) water (or ganga jal) over the gathering. During, prasad gets distributed along all the family members gathered for prayer.
In some parts of India, people follow a tradition of tying a pot filled with money on the top of a tree. They make a group to claim the earthen pot. People can celebrate Ram Navami by taking part in the traditions of the festivals.
The most famous food consumed by Indians on this auspicious festival is Panakam. Rice pudding made with different variations in different parts of the country is another famous sweet dish distributed at the time of Ram Navami. In Tamil Nadu, Neer Mor is another refreshing drink made for this day. Collectively, we call different food Prasad.