Festivals Of India: Ramnavami
Festivals Of India: Ramnavami
With Ramnavami just gone by, we’ve curated a series of photographs and tidbits related to the festival, from our social media posts on Facebook and Twitter. Do tell us how you like them.
Ramnavami; Celebrating The Birth Of The Prince Of Ayodhya
The Hindu festival of Ramnavami celebrates the birth of Lord Rama, the 7th incarnation of Lord Vishnu’s 10 avatars. It falls on the ‘Navami’, or the ninth day of the month of Chaitra in the Hindu calendar.
In some states in India, the celebrations for Ramnavami last nine days and is also known as Rama Navratra. Recitals of the Ramcharitmanas, havans, bhajans, kirtans, aartis and distribution of holy prasad mark all nine days on which fasts are held.
Ayodhya (the birthplace of Lord Rama) in Uttar Pradesh, Sitamarhi (the spot where Sita submitted herself to the Earth) in Bihar, Bhadrachalam (part of Dandakaranya forest where Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshmana were exiled) in Andhra Pradesh and Rameswaram (the place where the bridge to Lanka was built to rescue Sita from Ravana) in Tamil Nadu are places where the celebrations are most intense.
Legend has it that Ravana worshipped Parsvanath, a Jain tirthankara, every day. On a visit to Alwar, Ravana is said to have forgotten the idol of Parsvanath and Mandodari, his wife, immediately created one. That was the basis for the temple of Ravana Parsvanath in Alwar, Rajasthan.
When Sita was abducted by Ravana and taken to Lanka, she refused to stay in his palace, preferring instead, to take up residence under an Ashoka tree. The garden where the tree was located was known as Ashoka Vatika.
Sugriva’s Cave is a natural cave in Hampi, Karnataka, believed to be the home of Sugriva, the monkey king. It is this cave where Sita dropped her jewelery when she was abducted by Ravana, and left a trail for her husband to come rescue her. The beautiful paintings inside the cave, the footprints in the rocks (believed to be that of Rama and Lakshmana), and Sita Sarovar, a nearby pond are major attractions of Hampi.
The epic poem, Ramayana, has 300 versions! It is called Ramavataram in Tamil, Kakawin Ramayana in old Javanese, Ramakien in Thai and the Phra Lak Phra Lam in Laos. In Fiji, the Ramayana forms part of a popular storytelling tradition. Known as Kavya, it has 24,000 couplets and is believed to have been written in 3 BC and first recited in 1,500 BC.
This stone bas-relief at Bantaey Srie, Combodia, depicts the combat between Bali and Sugriva. To the right, Lord Rama fires his bow and to the left, Vali lies dying.
The Kalaram Temple in Panchavati, Nashik, so called because of the black stone idol of Lord Rama within, is built close to the place where Sita stayed during her exile. The idol of Rama is said to have appeared in a dream that Sardar Rangarao Odhekar had. The black stone was found in the River Godavari, extracted and installed in the temple, which is adorned with several tonnes of gold. The temple formed an important part of the Dalit movement, when Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar held a protest outside, against the ban on entry to Dalits.
Modern-day Janakpur in Nepal, where Janakpurdham is situated, is supposedly the erstwhile kingdom of Mithila, ruled by Sita’s father, King Janaka.
‘Wayang ‘, an Indonesian shadow puppet theatre show, depicts mythological legends from the Ramayana. The Wayang has been designated by the UNESCO as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Divurumpola Temple in Welimada, Srilanka is known to be the place where Sita underwent her trial by fire. The temple here is revered for the oath taken by Sita to prove her innocence. To this day, the legal system in Sri Lanka permits and accepts the swearing done at this temple while settling disputes between parties.
According to legend, Ram Rekha Ghat, near Buxar in Bihar, is where Lord Ram and his younger brother, Lakshman, crossed River Ganga on their way to Janakpur (Nepal) on their way to Sita Swayamvar.
Diwali or Deepavali, signifies the return of Lord Rama from exile. It also celebrates the killing of demon Narakasura and the return of the Pandavas from exile. Diwali is also celebrated by Jains as the day Lord Mahavira attained moksha (Nirvana). The Sikhs commemorate the return of the sixth Nanak, Hargobind Singh from captivity in Gwalior Fort, and Buddhists celebrate Diwali because Emperor Ashoka is said to have converted to Buddhism on this day.
In Nepal, the five day festival of Tihar (Diwali) is celebrated by worshipping the crow, the dog and the cow on the first , second and the third day respectively. It is also known as a festival to celebrate the bond between brothers and sisters.