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Sri Ram Navami Festival, Rama Navami in 2012
The ancient story of Ramayana and the tale of Rama has been a part of the culture of Hindus for a very long time. Rama is one of the most potent incarnations of the Lord Vishnu, who appeared to destroy the mighty Ravana. The festival of Rama Navami is celebrated by Hindus to remember the auspicious nine days of Rama’s life when he was born.
The birth of the young Lord Rama is celebrated during the 9 days that end on the ninth day of the month of Chaitra, the final month of the Hindu calendar. The day is generally also known as Chaitra Navaratri to mark the birth of Lord Rama.

The story of Rama Navami is of the King Dasharatha, who had three wives, Kaushalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra. The king was upset that there was no heir to the throne. As a result of which a powerful yogi Vashishtha advised him to do a particular ritual, and give the resultant offering to his wives. Dasharatha gave the final offering to his wives Kaushalya and Kaikeyi, and both gave some of it to Sumitra. As a result all three wives conceived and gave the king four children, first Rama by Kaushalya, then Bharath by Kaikeyi, and finally Lakshmana and Shatrughna by Sumitra who conceived twins.

Throughout India people celebrate the Rama Navami by reading out large excerpts of the Rama Charit Manas, and continued with devotional songs and chants. Rama being the incarnation of Vishnu makes him a God, and his story of slaying Ravana and his love for his beautiful wife Sita is legendary in the Hindu mythology. Rama Navami also sees little images of the infant Rama placed in large cradles to be swung by the followers of the Lord. A lot of people fast through the days, and sustain only on milk, fruits and other Sri Ram Navami Festival
satvik food, not containing animal meat or onion and garlic and processed food. Some believe that this is the day Rama married Sita, so rituals occur according to that auspicious event as well, and many consider this period to be good for marriage.

Sri Ram Navami Festival in 2012: Tuesday, 12 April.

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