Ram Navami is a Hindu festival, celebrating of the birth of Lord Rama, son of King Dasharatha of Ayodhya, and a divine figure in Hinduism believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The day also known as Sri Rama Navami, falls on the Navami, ninth day of the Chaitra month of Hindu lunar year in 'Shukla paksha' or waxing moon, thus named Chaitra Masa Suklapaksha Navami, and marks the end of nine-day Chaitra-Navratri celebrations.
At some places the festival lasts, the whole nine days of the Navratras, thus the period is called Rama Navratra. Rama is the hero of the Hindu epic, Ramayan, it is marked by continuous recitals, Akhand Paath, mostly of the Ramacharitamanas, organized several days in advance to culminate on this day, with elaborate bhajan and kirtan singing, and distribution of prasad after the puja and aarti. Images of baby Rama are placed on cradles and rocked by devotees. Since Lord Rama is believed to have born at noon, temples and family shrines are elaborately decorated and traditional prayers are chanted together by the family in the morning. Also, at temples special havan (yajna) are organized, along with chanting of Vedic mantras and offerings of fruits and flowers. Many Hindus mark this day by Vrata (fasting) through the day followed by feasting in the evening, or at the culmination of celebrations. In South India, the day is also celebrated as the wedding anniversary of Rama and his consort Sita, thus ceremonial wedding ceremonies, Sitarama Kalyanam, of the celestial couple are held at temples throughout the region, with great fanfare and accompanied by group chanting of name of Rama, Rama nama smaranam.
The important celebrations on this day take place at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, Bhadrachalam in Andhra Pradesh and Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, thronged by thousands of devotees, and Rathayatras, the chariot processions, also known as Shobha yatras of Rama, his wife Sita, brother Lakshmana and devotee Hanuman, are taken out at several places, including Ayodhya where thousands of people take a dip in the sacred river Sarayu.
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