World ? Asia ? India ? Mumbai

Ram Navami Festival

Apr 2010 (annual)
Hours: 4am
Cost: Free
The Ram Navami Festival honours the birthday of Lord Rama and is celebrated in great style throughout Mumbai. Loud processions march through the streets and the Jhavoba Ram Mandir Temple comes alive from 4am until late at night.
During the Ram Navami Festival in Mumbai's elaborately decorated temple, vedic rituals and havans (special offerings and mantras to a sacred fire) are performed and leaflets relating to Lord Rama distributed. Discourses on his life and teachings are delivered, and colourful processions are carried out.

Devotees of the Ram Navami Festival chant sacred mantras, read excerpts of the famous Hindu epic the Ramayana, greet each other with "Sri Ram" or "Jai Ram ji ki" and consume only fruit and milk for nine days. It is the time for Hindus to saturate themselves with the gentle and virtuous spirit of Lord Rama.

A sunrise puja (traditional Hindu prayers and offerings) is planned at the temple around the idol of Lord Rama. As Hindu texts depict his birth at exactly 12 noon, the height of the Ram Navami Festival celebrations occurs at midday. In the evening Mumbai's temple hosts a performance of the Ramayana, sung to traditional Indian classical music.

Try and make it to the open-air theatre at Mumbai's Cross Maiden inner-city parks near Churchgate train station, where performances are held all day. During the Ram Navami Festival, and indeed at any time of the year, respectful dress inside the temple is imperative; shoulders must be covered and shoes left outside.
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