New Delhi, April 8: Devotees celebrated Ram Navami, the birth of Lord Rama, in the national capital Tuesday, ending their nine-day-long fast of Chaitra Navratri.
The Hindu festival commemorates the birth of Lord Rama, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who was born to king Dasharatha and queen Kaushalya of Ayodhya, now in Uttar Pradesh.
On the occasion, people perform rituals and adorn the idols of Lord Rama with flowers, ornaments and new clothes. Only after performing elaborate worship of the deity, the devotees break their nine-day fast.
“I got up in the morning, prepared halwa (sweets) and chana (chickpea). As a part of the ritual, I also fed young girls, after which I broke my fast,” Vidya Sharma, a resident of Dwarka, told IANS.
The temples in the city were decorated with flowers and illuminations. Meals were prepared so that devotees visiting the temples could be given food or ‘prasad’ – part of the offerings.
“I offered prayer with my family in the morning at home and would visit a temple at noon,” Pinky Kaur, a homemaker from Lajpat Nagar in south Delhi, told IANS.
The birth of Lord Rama is celebrated on the ninth day of Navratri at noon – on the ninth day of Chaitra month (March-April) of the Hindu lunar calendar. The festival starts from Gudi Padwa (Hindu New Year, the first day of Chaitra month) and lasts until the ninth day of the Navratri.
Unlike on other days, the food prepared in households during Navratri is strictly vegetarian and devoid of onions, garlic.
In several places, Rath Yatra (religious processions) of idols of Lord Rama and Sita are also organised, with devotees chanting hymns.
The largest celebrations are held in Ayodhya, which is the birth place of Lord Rama.