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Shri Ram Navami marks the birth of Lord Rama. Lord Rama, the famous hero of the epic RAMAYANA.

One of the most important festivals of the Hindus, particularly the Vaishnava sect of the Hindus. It is celebrated all over the country. This year it is on 14th April 2008

It is enthusiastically celebrated on the ninth day of the first fortnight of the Chaitra which usually falls in March or April, coinciding with the Vasanta Navaratri, dedicated to the female force better known as Durga or Shakti.

Lord Rama was a legendary king of Ayodhya in ancient India.

 Rama
or Ramachandra which means 'one who permeates and who is present in everything and everyone' is the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu. He was a legendary king of Ayodhya in ancient India. The story of Rama was first written by Vaalmeeki in about the 4th century B.C. Rama is supposed to have lived during the 8th or 7th century B.C. The epic known as the Ramayana.

Rama is Maryada Purushottama, which means the perfect man and the symbol of courtesy and virtue, a man of values and morals. Rama is also known as Raghunatha, Raghupati, Raghavendra etc.

Celebration:
On Ram Navami, the celebrations begin with a prayer to the Sun early in the morning, chanting Vedic mantras dedicated to Vishnu, and offering flowers and fruit to the god. At midday, when Lord Rama is supposed to have been born, a special prayer is performed. People keep a fast throughout the day, breaking it only at midnight with fruit.

Ram Navami is festival and celebration and brings its devotees worldly happiness and salvation. It gives them the strength and courage to fight against all odds of life.

It is a celebration of goodness and its victory against all evils. Sacred places associated with Rama, like Ayodhya, Ujjain and Rameshwaram, draw tens of thousands of devotees. In Rameshwaram, thousands take a ritual bath in the sea before worshipping at the Ramanathaswamy temple.

Many places in North India host fairs in connection with the festival, culminating in spectacular fireworks on Rama Navami.

Rathyatras or chariot processions of Ram, his wife Seeta, brother Lakshman and devotee Hanuman are held from many temples. People gather in thousands on the banks of the sacred river Sarayu for a dip. Temples are decorated and the image of Lord Rama is richly adorned. The holy 'Ramayana' is read in the temples. In Ayodhya, the birthplace of Sri Rama, a big fair is held on this day. In the south of India the "Sri Ramnavami Utsavam" is celebrated for nine days with great fervor and devotion.

Significance:
The main significance behind the celebration of this festival is that the character of Lord Ram signifies an ideal son, an upright husband, a righteous King, and a loving brother and even an ideal man, someone who follow the right path against all odds in life. He was also the true embodiment of humanity. So celebration of Ramnavami is some way special reminder of all the noble deeds or ideals for which Lord Ram symbolizes.

Rama' Birth:
According to the legends in the place called Kosal, which was situated on the banks of the river Sharayu. Ayodhya was the capital founded by the king rishi Manu. During the reign of king Dasarath, Ayodhya reached a period of great prosperity. But Dasarath had one problem he had no children. Therefore he decided to perform a sacrifice known as "ashvamedh", or horse-sacrifice. Elaborate and difficult rituals had to be observed. A very holy man, rishi Rishyashring, was chosen to conduct the sacrifice with the utmost accuracy. The performance of this sacrifice was a great event in Ayodhya. When Dasarath's sacrifice came to an end a shining figure appeared over the sacrificial kund, and offered the king a divine beverage called "payasam" to be given to his queens Kausalya, Kaikayi, and Sumitra. In due time Kausalya gave birth to Rama, Kaikayi to Bharat and Sumitra to Laxman and Shatrugna.

 Rama was born at noon of the bright ninth day of Chaitra. He was believed to be the embodiment of half degree of Vishnu's divinity, (ardha ounsh).

Legends:
Rama was the first of the four sons of King Dasharatha of Ayodhya. When it was time for Rama to be made crown-prince, his stepmother, Kaikeyi, got Dasharatha to send him to the forest for 14 years. His wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana also accompanied him. In the forest, Sita was kidnapped by Ravana, the demon king of Lanka. Rama, together with Hanuman and the monkey army, built a bridge to Lanka, killed Ravana, and brought Sita back.

It is believed that listening to the story of Rama cleanses the soul. Meditating on the noble Rama and chanting his name is believed to ease the pains of life and lead one to moksha, or liberation. It is also common practice to chant the name of Rama while rocking babies to sleep.
 
 

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