Ram Navami is a Hindu festival which is celebrated to mark the birth of Lord Rama on this earth. It is the day when Lord Vishnu took His seventh incarnation and was born as Lord Rama to King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya of Ayodhya. The purpose of the birth of Lord Rama was to destroy the evil spirit of Ravana,the King of Lanka, who had received a blessing from Lord Brahma that no God, gandharva, demon or demigod can kill him.
Rama Navami falls on the ninth day of a Hindu lunar year or Chaitra Masa Sukla paksha Navami, which usually falls in the month of March or April. It also marks the end of the nine-day Chaitra-Navratri celebrations.
As per Hindu religion, Lord Rama's dynasty is known as Sun dynasty. So on this day, the celebrations starts with offering prayers and water to the Sun in the early hour of the morning. At some places the festival is celebrated for the whole nine days of the Navratras by continuous recitals of the Ramacharitamanas with bhajans and kirtans in the praise of Lord Rama. Many followers mark this day by observing Vrata (fasting) throughout the day followed by feasting in the evening.
The most important place of celebrations of this festival is Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh which is considered as birth place of Lord Rama. Thousands of Devotees also take a dip in the sacred river Sarayu in Ayodhya. Apart from Ayodhya, the other major places of celebrations of this festival are Sitamarhi in Bihar, Bhadrachalam in Andhra Pradesh and Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu. Devotees start to visit the temples since morning on this day. Ratha yatras or chariot processions with the idols of Lord Rama and his wife Sita, brother Lakshmana and devotee Hanuman, are taken out from many temples.
Prayer to Lord Rama (Shri Rama-Vandana)
1. Āpadāmapahartāraṃ dātārāṃ sarvasampadām।
lōkābhirāmaṃ śrīrāmaṃ bhūyō-bhūyō nāmāmyaham॥1॥
(आपदामपहर्तारं दातारां सर्वसम्पदाम्।
लोकाभिरामं श्रीरामं भूयो-भूयो नामाम्यहम्॥१॥)
Who removes all types of adversity and agony of Jiva (living beings); Who bestows all types of favour, honour and wealth; By looking at whom, the world feel very pleased; to that Shri Rama, I bow again and again.
2. Rāmāya rāmabhadrāya rāmacandrāya vēdhasē।
raghunāthāya nāthāya sītāyāḥ patayē namaḥ॥2॥
(रामाय रामभद्राय रामचन्द्राय वेधसे।
रघुनाथाय नाथाय सीतायाः पतये नमः॥२॥ )
My salutations to Lord Rama; To Shri Ramabadhra, To Shri Ramachandra, To the lord of Vedas, To the chief of Raghu clan, To the lord of all worlds, And to the Lord of Sitā.
3. Neelāmbujaśyāmalakōmalāṅgaṃ sītāsamārōpitavāmabhāgama।
pāṇau mahāsāyakacārūcāpaṃ namāmi rāmaṃ raghuvaṃśanāthama॥3॥
पाणौ महासायकचारूचापं नमामि रामं रघुवंशनाथम॥३॥ )
Who has complexion and softness like that of a blue lotus, whose body parts are very soft; On whose left side resides his dear consort Sita; Who has a divine arrow and a beautiful bow in His hands, I pray to that Shri Rama who is the Lord of Raghu dynasty.