Sri Rama Navami

Posted: April 3, 2009 in Festivals
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According to legends, Dasharatha, king of Ayodhya, had three wives — Kaushalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi. Their greatest worry was that they had no heir to the throne. Rishi Vasistha suggested him to perform Puthra Kamesti Yagna, through which he can have a desired child. He also told him to bring Maharshi Rushya Shrunga to perform the yagna for him. King Dasharath goes to Maharshi Rushya Shrunga’s ashram to get him. Maharshi agrees and and performs the yagna. As the result of yagna, Yagneshwar appears and hands Dasharath a bowl of Payasam and asks him to give it to his wives. Dasharath gives half of the payasam to his elder wife Kausalya, and another half to his younger wife Kaikeyi. They both give half of their portions to Sumitra. After few days, all three queens conceive. On the ninth day (Navami) of Chaitra Masa (first month in Hindu calendar), at noon Kaushlya gives birth to Lord Sri Rama, Kaikeyi gives birth to Bharatha, and Sumitra to twin boys, Lakshmana and Shatrughana. This day is celebrated as Sri Rama Navami.

Hindus normally perform Kalyanotsavam (marriage celebration) with small idols of Rama and Sita at their houses, and at the end of the day the deity is taken to a procession on the streets. This day also marks the end of the nine-day utsavam called Chaitra Navaratri, celebrated in Maharashtra, or Vasanthothsava,  celebrated in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, which starts with Ugadi or Gudi Padwa. For the occasion, Hindus fast or restrict themselves to a specific diet. Temples are decorated and readings of the Ramayana take place.

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