The South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh is well known for a number of Hindu pilgrim places with important temples like Sree Gyana Saraswati Temple at Basara which is one of the two Saraswati temples in the country. Besides these there is no dearth for important Shiva temples in Andhra Pradesh. Most of the Telugu people are religious minded and they not only enjoy visiting the temples but at the same time they involve themselves in the celebrations of various festivals of religious importance or festivals that have not been originated in the state like eco-friendly Holi celebrations but have been adopted from other regions.
In addition to all these festivals, there are some festivals which are confined to this state only like Ugaadi - the Telugu New Year's day and the celebrations on some important festivals like Bommala Koluvu of Makara Sankranti.
Importance of Sri Rama Navami celebrations
Sri Rama Navami is one of the most important Hindu festivals that is celebrated across the country besides Dussehra - the important Hindu festival. This important festival is totally dedicated to Lord Sri Rama who is believed to be the 7th incarnation of the Dasavatara of Lord Vishnu who came on the Earth in the human form on a specific purpose. This day is not only the birth day of Lord Rama but also it is believed that coincidentally on the same date the wedding of Lord Rama and Sita Devi took place. Hence devotees across the world not only celebrate Rama Navami day as the birth anniversary of Lord Rama but in many Hindu Rama temples, Sri Seeta Rama Kalyanam (marriage ceremony of the divine couple) is performed in a grand way which is witnessed by many devotees.
Sri Rama Navami is celebrated on the 9th day of the brighter half of the moon in the Hindu month of Chaitra. On this day almost all the Rama temples across the country and world as well are crowded with devotees who are involved in extensive worship of Lord Rama on this day and seek divine blessings. While most of the devotees are involved in watching the celebrations of the divine wedding ceremony of Lord Rama and Sita Devi which is celebrated in a grand way in most of the temples.
Sri Rama Navami celebrations across the country
Sri Rama Navami is celebrated by the people of different regions of the country in a variety of ways. In some regions of the country the staunch devotees of Lord Vishnu observe fasting on this special day. While in most of the Rama temples across the country, the devotees are involved in extensive bhanjans and various welfare activities like poor feeding and the like. In some of the community centers the performing artists give a stage performance of several incidents from Lord Rama's life the important of which are the marriage ceremony of the divine couple and the Ravana Vadha or the killing of the ten-headed Ravana.
Besides these in many temples, there is a continuous recital of Sundara Kanda or Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam and the like where the devotees are involved in mass recital of these divine chanting and thus the devotees who observe fasting involve themselves in religious activities. Yet in other temples, the holy books of Sri Rama Charitra or Sri Rama Vijayam are read to the devotees by a scholar.
Sri Rama Navami celebrations in Andhra Pradesh
The celebrations of Sri Rama Navami by the Telugu people in Andhra Pradesh is worth mentioning as this day is celebrated in a special way by the people of Andhra Pradesh. Besides visiting the nearby Rama temples and involving in the worship of Lord Rama and then watching the marriage ceremony of Lord Rama and Sita Devi, there is a special drink or teertham prepared and distributed in the Rama temples specially on Rama Navami day only which is popularly known as the Rama rasam. In fact the celebrations of Sri Rama Navami would be incomplete without the preparation and consuming of this special teertham. This Rama rasam is not only prepared as a teertham in the Rama temples across the state but the devotees in each and every household prepare Rama rasam and offer it first to Lord Rama and then they consume it.
In many towns and villages, the heavily decked idols of Sri Rama, Lakshmana, Sita Devi and Hanuman are taken in a grand procession in colorfully decorated chariots when the devotees dance and sing praises of Lord Rama.
The celebrations of Sri Rama Navami at Sri Sita Ramachandra Swamy temple in Bhadrachalam are very special. Sri Sita Rama Kalyanotsavam (marriage ceremony of the divine couple) at Bhadrachalam temple is aired live in various TV channels. And on this occasion it has become customary for the Chief Minister of the state to offer silk clothes (pattu vastralu in Telugu language)to the divine couple.
How to prepare Rama rasam
This is really very simple and easy to prepare and is considered very good for health. All you need to do is to take required quantity of drinking water and add enough of grated jaggery to the water. Keep stirring till the jaggery is dissolved. And to this solution you have to add little crushed black pepper, cardamom powder and then add a couple of Tulasi leaves. This is not only very tasty to drink but also helps in reducing the body heat. As the days start becoming hotter and hotter, consuming Rama rasam is very effective in providing coolness to the body and thus keeps the body cool.