Ram Navami celebrates the birth of Lord Rama. Lord Rama is known to be the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The festival falls on the ninth day of Shukla Paksha in the month of Chaitra, according to the Hindu calendar, which typically occurs in the months of March or April.
Devotees of Lord Rama observe this day by keeping a Vrat (fast), reciting the Rama Katha, reading stories of Rama, visit Rama temples, followed by bhajans and kirtans, puja and aarti. In several places across the country, Rathayatras (chariot
processions) known as Shobha Yatras of Lord Rama, Goddess Sita, Laxman, and Hanuman are taken out.
The festival signifies the descent of Lord Vishnu as Rama through his birth to the King of Ayodhya, Dasharatha and his Queen Kausalya.
Ram Navami denotes the removal of bad and bringing in the divine power on earth. To destroy the power of the Demon King Ravana from the earth and to maintain Dharma, Lord Vishnu took birth on earth in the form of Lord Rama. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil.
Legend of Rama Navami
According to legend, King Dasharatha was worried as he did not have any sons, so he performed a yagna called Putrakameshti. Once the yagna was completed the Lord appeared in front of the King and gave the king a bowl of kheer (sweet rice). The King divided the kheer amongst his three wives Kaushalya, Kaikeyi, and Sumitra. Thereafter, the king was blessed with three sons, Kausalya gave birth to Rama, Kaikayi to Bharat and Sumitra to Laxman and Shatrugna.
Ram Navami is celebrated on the ninth and last day of Chaitra Navratri. Devotees of Lord Rama mark this day by attending pujas, bhajans and kirtans, reading passages from Rama’s life, reading from the Ramayana and fasting from the previous night. The celebrations start by devotees offering jal to the Lord Surya, the Sun God. Many devotees take a dip in holy rivers especially in the holy Sarayu River, in the belief that it will purify their body and soul.
Many people perform the Akhanda Ramayana Pat by chanting the entire Ramcharitmanas. Some even chant the Sunderkhand. People clean their homes and place pictures of Lord Rama, Sita, Laxman, and Hanuman on the altars and prepare for puja. Flowers, incense, Prasad, rice, roli, water, a bell, and a conch are placed at the puja area. Towards the end of the puja, an aarti is performed along with the singing of bhajans.
In Ayodhya, the birthplace and land of Lord Rama, the streets and houses are all decorated and lit up. The temples are adorned with flowers, and the deities are dressed in new attire and jewels. A nine-day fair is organized in Ayodhya to celebrate Ram Navami.
During the festival of Ram Navami, devotees go on a pilgrimage to sacred places like Ayodhya, Ujjain, and Rameshwaram.
Ram Navami across the country
Ram Navami is celebrated throughout the country. Every place celebrates the occasion in different ways.
In Uttar Pradesh, Ayodhya is the most significant place where Ram Navami is celebrated. Devotees throng to Ayodhya, to take a dip in the sacred Sarayu River before visiting Rama temples.
The religious event of Shri Rama Navami Asthanam is celebrated on Ram Navami in Tirumala.
The popular event known as Shri Ramanavami Kalyanam Utsava is celebrated with much fervor in the Bhadrachalam temple in Telangana. The event is celebrated on Ram Navami and marks the wedding anniversary of Lord Rama and Sita.
Similar to Telangana, in Tamil Nadu as well, Ram Navami is celebrated by performing the Kalyanotsavam. The performance depicts the marriage between Lord Rama and Sita and the deities are taken through the streets in a ceremonial procession.
Many temples in South India serve a special recipe named Panakam, a sweet liquid which is prepared using ginger powder, jaggery, peppercorns, and cardamom. It is a natural coolant and served to devotees in the palm.
In ISKCON temples, Ram Navami is celebrated by organizing special events, taking out processions of Lord Rama and Sita, performing Abhishek of Lord Rama and performing havans.