Introduction: The Hindu festival ‘Rama Navami’ or ‘Sri Rama Navami’ is celebrated to meet the ecstasy of the incarnation of 7th avatar of Lord Vishnu, i.e.Lord Rama. This birth anniversary has been in fashion since the day Rama was born to king Dashratha and Queen Kausalya of Ayodhya.
Other Name: Chaitra Masa Suklapaksha Navami
Important places where it is celebrated: Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh), Sita Samahit Sthal (Sitamarhi, Bihar), Bhadrachlam (Andhra Pradesh) and Rameshwaram (Tamil Nadu).
Occurrence: This pious day falls on the ninth day (Navami) of the Hindu month ‘Chaitra’ of ‘Shukla Paksha’ as per Hindu calendar marking the end of the nine-day ‘Chaitra-Navratri’ celebration.
Legend: The epic ‘Ramayana’ briefs in context of Rama Navami that Emperor Dasharath of Ayodhya had three wives namely Kausalya, Sumitra and Kaikayi in Treta Yug. But he was deprived of blessing of child. Thus, he was suggested by Rishi Vashishtha to arrange ‘Puthra Kamesti Yagna’ for sake of being blessed with the heir of ‘Raghuvansh’ (Ikshvaku Kula). For serving the ritual, Maharishi Rishyasringa was invited & the Maharishi directed to distribute kheer/Payasam among king’s wives. Half of the whole was given to wife Kausalya and the rest of the Payasam was shared by younger wives Kaikayi and Sumitra. Consequently, Rama (Vishnu’s Avatar) was born to Kausalya, Bharata to Kaikayi and Lakshmana and Shatrughna to Sumitra.
Lord Rama incarnated on this earth for terminating the tyranny and fear of demons, especially Ravana, and for restoring the reign of ‘Dharma’.
Way of celebration: Temples are adorned with beautiful decoration and reading of Ramayana is arranged in them. People keep fasting till nine days for paying their reverence to the deities.
Akhand Path, Bhajans & kirtans (devotional songs) and havans are performed amid enchantment of Vedic hymns and Vedic Mantras.Thousands of devotees throng to pilgrimages and at Saryu Ghat for taking a dip in the sanctified water of the holy river on this occasion.
In South India: People enshrine small deities ‘Rama’ and ‘Sita’ in their Idol form at their homes. This tradition is known as Kalyanotsavam (Marriage celebration) and the ninth day ends with procession of via which deities are taken on streets. This nine day celebration is also known as Chaitra Navaratri in Maharashtra or Vasanthotsava in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka & Tamil Nadu that begins with Gudi Padwa (Maharashtra). Some special features of this procession are laid below:
Kalyanam: It is the ritual performed by the priest of the temple as ‘ceremonial wedding’.
Panakam: This is a customary trend to prepare a drink using Jaggery and pepper on this sacred day.
Procession: On this procession day, all idols of deities are accompanied to the mob while playing with water and color to the main temple in evening.