Govatsa Dwadashi

Govatsa Dwadashi is a unique Hindu festival that is dedicated to worshipping the cows as a thanksgiving gesture for their help in sustaining the human life. It is also popularly known as ‘Nandini Vrat’ and is observed on the ‘Dwadashi’ (12th day) of the ‘Krishna Paksha’ (the period of waning phase of moon) in the ‘Ashwin’ month of the traditional Hindu calendar. This date falls in the months of October to November in the English calendar. Govatsa Dwadashi falls one day before the celebrations of ‘Dhanteras’. On Govatsa Dwadashi Hindu devotees worship ‘Nandini’, the divine cow. It is believed that by doing so all their wishes will be fulfilled. It is celebrated with immense enthusiasm in all parts of the country. In Maharashtra this day is observed as ‘Vasu Baras’ and is the first day of the Deepavali festivities. On Govatsa Dwadashi, the ‘Sripada Vallabha Aradhana Utsav’ is held at Pithapuram Datta Mahasamsthan in the state of Andhra Pradesh while in Gujarat it is celebrated as ‘Vagh Baras’.


Rituals during Govatsa Dwadashi:

  • Cows are worshipped on Govatsa Dwadashi. A ritualistic bath is given and vermillion is applied on the forehead. The cows and their calves are then beautifully decorated with bright clothes and garland of flowers.
  • On Govatsa Dwadashi devotees also make idols of cows and their calves from mud, if they cannot find a cow close by. These mud idols are then adorned with kumkum and turmeric. An ‘aarti’ is performed in the evening.
  • Various offerings are made to cows like gram and sprouted moong. The offerings made are symbolic of Nandini on earth.
  • Devotees also offer prayers to Sri Krishna, who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and had profound gratitude and love for cows.
  • Women observe a vrat or fasting on this day for the well-being of her children. They cannot eat or drink anything during the day and can only take one meal. The observer of the Nandini Vrat must refrain from physical activity and keep vigil all night. However if a person desires to sleep, he/she must do so on the floor and avoid sleeping on the bed.
  • In some regions, people abstain from drinking cow’s milk and consuming curd and ghee on the day of Govatsa Dwadashi.

Rama Ekadashi

Rama Ekadashi is one of the important ekadashi fasts that are observed in the Hindu culture. It falls on the ‘ekadashi’ of the Krishna Paksha (the dark fortnight of moon) during the Hindu month of ‘Kartik’. This date falls between the months of September to October in the English calendar. While Rama Ekadashi is observed in the month of Kartik according to the North Indian calendar, it falls in the month of ‘Puratassi’ as per the Tamilian calendar. Besides in states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra it occurs during the ‘Ashwayuj’ month and is even observed in the month of ‘Ashwin’ in some parts of the country. Rama Ekadashi falls four days before the celebrations of Diwali, the festival of lights. This ekadashi is also referred as ‘Rambha Ekadashi’ or ‘Kartik Krishna Ekadashi’. It is a popular conviction that Hindu devotees can wash away their sins by keeping a sacred fast on this day.



Rituals of Rama Ekadashi:

  • Fasting is an important ritual on the day of Rama Ekadashi. This ritual starts from ‘dashami’, a day before the actual ekadashi. On this day too devotees refrain from certain foods and consume only ‘saatvik’ meal once, before sunset. On ekadashi, they do not eat at all. The end of the fasting ritual called as ‘Parana’ occurs on the ‘dwadashi’ tithi. Even for those not fasting, consuming rice and grains on any ekadashi is strictly prohibited.
  • On the day of Rama Ekadashi devotees get up early and take a holy bath in any water bodies. Lord Vishnu is worshipped with devotion on this day. Fruits, flowers, incense sticks and dhoop to Lord Vishnu. Devotees prepare a special ‘Bhog’ and offer it to their deity. An aarti is performed and then the ‘Prasad’ is distributed among the family members.
  • ‘Rama’ is another name for Goddess Lakshmi. Therefore on this auspicious day, devotees also offer prayers to Devi Lakshmi along with Lord Vishnu to seek the blessings of prosperity, health and happiness.
  • The observer of the Rama Ekadashi fast maintains vigil all through the night. They contribute in the bhajans or kirtans organised on this day. Reading ‘Bhagavad Gita’ on this day is believed to be auspicious.