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   Religious Fasts
- Karva Chouth
- Ravivar ki kahani
- Somvar ki kahani
- Mangalvar ki kahani
- Budhvar ki kahani
- Vrihaspativar ki kahani
- Shukravar ki kahani
- Shanivar ki kahani
- Janam Ashtami
- Ram Navami
- Mahashivratri
Religious Fasts

Ram was born at noon and therefore the puja is performed in the afternoon. Prasad consists of:

(1) Kasaar (recipe given in chapter on Janam Ashtami).
(2) Charnamrit (recipe given in chapter on Janam Ashtami).
(3) Fruit, which can be cut into pieces.
(4) Methai - barfi or any methai which is dry can be easily placed in a thona or plate along with the kasaar, etc.

The puja should be arranged in a fairly large room, since several people are invited from early morning onwards to sing bhajans in praise of Ram, Sita, and Lakshman. Usually the sitting room is used. A sturdy chowki or table, on which the pictures of Ram, Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman are kept, is placed in the centre. Of course, Ganeshji must always be there first. Any other deity is not usually worshipped that day and need not be brought out of the puja room. Of course, the puja room itself is cleaned and spruced up and a 'jyoti' lit there; or else, some incense like agarbattis or gugal is ignited, and some flowers decorated in front of the family deities. The main decoration is of course where the Ram Navami Puja is to be performed. Garlands must be bought for all images or pictures, failing which fresh flowers should be decorated or put in vases to make the place delightful to the viewer. A smaller table to keep the thaali of water, roli, aipun, rice and flowers, the bell and the conch shell is placed in front. The thaal containing the prasad is placed on the side on a chowki if that is big enough. Charnamrit can be kept on the cleaned floor in a big dekchi or an earthen pot.

The youngest girl of the household takes the roli and rice and applied teeka on the forehead of all male members. She applies the roli with her thumb, pulling it a little up while applying so as to form an elongated red mark on the middle of the forehead, more like a flame and then putting a little rice on the wet teeka which holds a few rice grains (two or three) and letting the rest fall. The persons getting the teeka applied must cover their heads as a mark of respect, either with a handkerchief of with just the right hand, just at the time of the teeka application if not for the full duration of the puja. A round bindi is applied, with the third finger, on the forehead of the married or unmarried women; the widows usually apply it at the base of the throat nowadays the taboo about widows not applying teeka on their forehead or the parting of their hair is fast disappearing. All women are taking full part in life and are entitled to be as much of individuals in their own right as their counterparts. Everyone is then asked to do the pujan, first with water and then with roli and aipun. Lastly, rice is showered on the gods. The pujan is done by dipping the third finger of the right hand in the liquids (one liquid at a time) three times and each time sprinkling it on the gods, with the help of the thumb which holds the finger and then jerking the finger loose. Everyone sits down and singing the arti of Lord Ram heralds the time of birth. Everyone is given flowers, distributed by youngsters generally during the singing amid the ringing of the bell; if anyone can blow the conch shell, this deep sound adds to the grandeur of the occasion. The arti is always done standing up and everyone does so. Once person can perform the arti or people desirous of honouring Lord Ram, take the arti in turns. The arti finally reaches the hands of the householder. If the singing continues beyond the people thus being honoured with the arti, the lady or the gent who is the main host, must be right there to take hold if necessary. Karpur or camphor is put in the lighted flame and the appropriate chant is recited:

Karpur Gauram Karuna Avataram Sansar Saram Bhujagandraharam
Sada Vasantam Hridagar Vindam Bhawan Bhawani Sahitam Namami.

Then, any other shloka that the householder would like to be included in praise of Lord Ram is sung, but it should be short and sweet. A little Ganga jal (if available) mixed with plain water or plain water alone is then taken in the hand by the one conducting the puja and thrown with a little force (so as to reach everybody) over the whole gathering, moving a little and throwing it twice or thrice to reach everyone in case the first attempt does not succeed. All elder persons, in low tones, and the children, in high tones, together recite : 'Chittan para neer ka, dukh gaya shareer ka' (a drop of water on me and all the illness and sickness of the body are driven away). More singing could continue, but those who want to leave can do so after taking the charnamrit and the prasad. For the prasad special arrangements must be made for thonas, and small kullars for the charnamrit, or else pieces of paper can be cut in appropriate sixes so as to contain all the items of the prasad. Small spoons should be given alongside so as to enable a person to eat the kasaar.

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