The Hindu festival of Ram Navami celebrates the birth of Lord Ram to King Dashratha and Queen Kaushalya. In Sanskrit, ‘Ra’ means ‘that which is radiant’ and ‘Ma’ means ‘myself’. Lord Ram is the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Ram Navami falls on the ninth day of the Shukla Paksha in the Hindu month of Chaitra, which is March or April according to the Gregorian calendar.The day is spent in chanting recitals, fasting, organising processions and praising Lord Ram, Sita, Lakshman, and Hanuman.
History of Ram Navami
King Dashrath was the King of Ayodhya and descendant of the Ikshvaku dynasty. He was worried about the absence of sons in his dynasty. His spiritual master asked him to pray to Rishyashringa muni and convince him to perform Putrakameshti yagnya. With the help of his daughter Shanta, King convinced the muni. On the completion of the yagnya, Vishnuduta appeared and handed king a bowl of kheer to distribute among his wives – Kaushalya, Kaikeyi, and Sumitra. The queens were conceived. On Shukla Paksha Navami, at 12 noon, Lord Ram along with his three brothers Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughan made their descent on earth.
Ram Navami is celebrated by organising charitable events and community meals. Devotees mark the event by placing idols of infant Ram in a cradle and worshipping it. Processions, also known as shobha yatras, of Rama, Sita, and Lakshman are taken out at several places. The temples are decorated with flowers and deities are adorned with ornaments. Some mark the day by fasting till sunset and refrain from intoxication, cheating, and lying.
The celebrations at Ayodhya, the birthplace of Rama, are remarkable with devotees taking a holy dip into Sarayu river. In Southern India, ‘Nav divas Ramayana Parayanam’, a nine-day festival celebrated by reciting Valmiki Ramayana, is organised. The concluding day is marked by Abhishek and prasad distribution. Other places where the celebration is on a large scale are Sita Samahit Sthal (Uttar Pradesh), Sitamarhi (Bihar), Janakpurdham (Nepal), Bhadrachalam (Telangana), Kodandarama Temple, Vontimitta (Andhra Pradesh) and Rameswaram (Tamil Nadu). Not just in India, Ram Navami is also celebrated in Durban, Fiji, Nepal, and Trinidad.
On Navami, devotees fast on the day and take boiled vegetables as prasadam to keep the body fit and healthy. Chaitra witnesses the transition from spring to summer which affects the digestive system and increases the level of cough in the body. Hence ancient sages suggested intaking boiled vegetables as prasadam.
Navami tithi begins: 8:02 am on March 25
Navami tithi ends: 5:54 am on March 26
Puja muhurat: 11:32 am to 1:57 pm on March 25