If you are planning a pilgrimage to India, the months of March – April would be the most fitting for your trip. It marks the beginning of Chaitra, the first month of the Hindu Lunisolar calendar. On the first day of Chaitra, India celebrates its New Year. Celebrations will be on a high in these two months as over 15 festivals take place in a period of 30 days. These festivals are different from each other. The rituals and customs of festivities vary from state to state.
Chaitra is a Sanskrit word meaning a temple or a memorial. It is the first month as per the Hindu calendar. It starts on the very next day of Amavasya. Legends state that Lord Brahma created the universe on this day.
The concept of time and movement of the sun and moon came into existence on this day. Hence, festivals like Gudi Padwa, Ugadi and Cheti Chand takes place on this day. Vedic learning commences from this day, according to our scriptures. Therefore, reading Vedic literature like Bhagavad Gita, Sunderkand, and Ramayana during this month is sacred.
The birth of Lord Rama is celebrated as Ram Navami. In fact, Lord Rama was the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu. Therefore, this is the month when Lord Vishnu stepped on the surface of the earth.
Lord Krishna has stated in Srimad Bhagavad Gita, “Among the seasons, I am Vasant (spring)…”Hence, you can’t get a bigger reason to believe that Chaitra is the most auspicious month in the Hindu Calendar.
In the month of Chaitra, the Sun enters Aries in mid-April. Additionally, in southern Indian states, it is known as Chaitterai. In fact, Poornima of this month is a sacred day for Amman pooja in Tamil Nadu.
Our Puranas have laid down that Lord Brahma created the Universe during this month. In fact, on the first day of this month, the process of creation starts with the creation of stars, planets, solar systems, and time. Moreover, you dedicate each day of this month to a particular God or Goddesses.
Chaithra marks the beginning of the spring season. Even Lord Krishna referred to himself as Spring in Srimad Bhagavad Gita. He says that there is no season better than the Spring.
It is also referred to as Madhu Mausam because jaggery harvesting is maximum in this month. Hence, jaggery becomes the predominant ingredient in most of the delicacies during Chaitra festivals.
On Lord Sri Rama’s birth, that is the 9th day of the Shukla Paksha, Ram Navami takes place.
Lord Hanuman was born in this month. Additionally, winter crops are harvested during this month and farmers celebrate new crops.
On the third day of the Chaitra month, Hindus worship Goddess Gouri and Lord Shiva. Besides, in Rajasthan, this day is popular as the Gangaur festival. Whereas, in south India, Gouri Trutheeya is celebrated on this day. From then till a period of one month, Dolotsava, a special puja, takes place in south Indian states to worship Goddess Gouri, Lord Shiva, and Lord Rama.
Chaitra Month Festivals
List of Chaitra Festivals
- Sheetala Ashtami – A day to worship Goddess Sheetala
- Papmochani Ekadashi – Papmochani Ekadashi is one of the fasts to pray to Lord Vishnu
- Ranga Panchami – In many parts of India Holi is played on this day
- Navaratri- Worship of Goddess Durga for nine days
- Ugadi – Ugadi marks the beginning of the New Year
- Gudi Padwa- Known as the Maharashtrian New Year
- Gangaur– Worship of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva
- Yamuna Chhath – Celebrated as the birthday of river Yamuna
- Rama Navami – Lord Rama was born on this day
- Kamada Ekadashi – Ekadashi in the Krisna paksha or dark fortnight of Chaitra month
- Hanuman Jayanti – The birth anniversary of Lord Hanuman
- Chaitra Purnima- Chaitra Purnima is the first Purnima in the year according to the Hindu lunar calendar.
- Poila Boisakh – The Bengali New Year
- Baisakhi – The Punjabi harvesting day and New Year.
- Mahaveer Jayanti- The birth anniversary of Lord Mahaveera.