Valmiki Jayanti is the birthday of Maharishi Valmiki, the first Indian poet and author of the great epic Ramayana. It is celebrated on the full moon of the Hindu calendar’s sixth month, usually in October, though sometimes in September. This year, it takes place on October 9th. The exact year of Valmiki’s birth is unknown, but it is believed to be around 500 BC.
Indians have been celebrating this holiday for at least a thousand years. While many cities claim to be Valmiki’s residence, the largest temple dedicated to him, the Maharshi Valmiki Temple, is located in Thiruvanmiyur in Chennai and dates back 1300 years. Scholars believe that he had many ashrams, one of which could be where Rama Sita hid during her exile and where she gave birth to the twins Lava and Kush. Valmiki Jayanti is a public holiday in 7 Indian states.
- In his youth, Valmiki was a robber. When he tried to rob some seven sages, they gave him a mantra which he meditated on for many years.
- His name ‘Valmiki’ means ‘born of an anthill’ and ‘Jayanti’ means ‘victorious’. According to legend, when he sat in meditation, the ants built an anthill around him and it was only after a revelation from Vishnu himself that all his sins were forgiven.
How to take part
On the day of the celebration, portraits of Valmiki, usually depicted as a monk dressed in saffron robes and holding pen and paper, are paraded in processions called Shobha Yatra and accompanied by street prayer singing. Tourists often gather to witness these colorful processions, and participants are treated with free food, including food for animals. Valmiki temples are decorated with flowers and a festive atmosphere prevails. Everyone will enjoy taking part in the event!
When is Valmiki Jayanti celebrated in 2023?