Lord Rama was born on the ninth day of the Hindu month
Chaitra and that is why that day is called Ram Navami. Ram
Navami is one of the most important festivals of the
Vaishnav sect of Hindus. In some parts of India, it is a
nine-day festival known as Vasanta Navratri.
Ramnavami occurs in the month of March. Celebrations begin
with a prayer to the Sun early in the morning. At midday,
when Lord Rama is supposed to have been born, a special
prayer is performed. In northern India especially, an event
that draws popular participation is the Ramnavami
procession. The main attraction in this procession is a
gaily decorated chariot in which four persons are dressed up
as Rama, his brother Laxman, his queen Sita and his disciple
Hanuman. The chariot is accompanied by several other persons
dressed up in ancient costumes as work by Rama's solders.
The procession is a gusty affair with the participants
shouting praises echoing the happy days of Rama's reign.
Ram Navami is celebrated with religious fervour. On this
day, people observe a fast. Many devotees fast for nine
days. In all the Ram mandirs, Aarti and Pooja are performed
during the noon hours, the time of Lord Rama's birth. At the
end of the rites and rituals, which includes abhishek of
Lord Rama and Shiva and chanting of Bhajans, the priest
performs the peace chant with sprinkling of consecrated
water. Prasad of sweets and fruits is given to people
attending the pooja.
Many devotees stay awake on the previous night, in
anticipation of Lord Ram's birth. A havan is performed and
they sing devotional songs in praise of Lord Ram and rock
his image in cradles to celebrate his birth.
On Ram Navami day, all the Ram temples are beautifully
decorated. the idols of Lord Ram, his wife Sita and his
brother Lakshman are adorned with new clothes, jewellery and
flowers. Devotees visit various Ram mandirs and offer
sweets, flowers and fruits. Selected chapters on Ramlila of
Ramayan are read, the most popular version being Tulsidas's
A huge fair is held in Ayodhya on Ram Navami day, where
thousands of devotees gather to celebrate this festival.
Pondicherry is another place where many pilgrims visit the
Ram temples. Processions accompanied by splendid floats of
Rama, his wife Sita, his brother Lakshman and his
monkey-general, Hanuman are carried out with great zest.