President and PM greet people as India observes Ram Navami today

New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday greeted the people on the eve of Ram Navami, the Hindu festival that marks the birth of Lord Ram.

Lord Rama is believed to have taken incarnation on Navami of Chaitra month

Lord Rama is believed to have taken incarnation on Navami of Chaitra month

“On the auspicious occasion of Ram Navami, I convey my greetings and good wishes to all my fellow countrymen,” the president said in his message.

“Maryada Purushottam Shri Ram is the embodiment of selfless service and the highest moral and ethical principles. May the celebrations inspire us to model our lives on the life and deeds of Shri Ram,” he added.

Mukherjee said: “Let us strive to spread his noble message of righteous conduct and rededicate ourselves to building a great nation.”

Manmohan Singh said: “The life of Lord Ram teaches us to follow the path of humility and righteousness. The festival of Ram Navami is an occasion for us to renew our resolve to discharge our duties and responsibilities with commitment and sincerity.”

Ram Navami will be celebrated across India today. The Hindu god is believed to have been born at noon, when festivity peaks.

“Prayers will take place at around noon when Ramji was born. We have decorated the temple with marigold flowers and the prasad is being prepared,” Ravindra Nagar, head priest of Birla Mandir, told IANS.

Some people put a small idol of Rama in a cradle, symbolising the significance of the day and offer prayers to it. Community meals are also organised.

In addition to fasting and praying, the rituals also sometimes involve a celebration of the marriage of Rama and Sita, represented in small idols, during the day.

In many parts of the city, large processions with Rama’s idol are also taken out on Ram Navami, which is celebrated on the ninth day of the Shukla Paksha (moonlit fortnight) of Chaitra, the first month of the Hindu calendar.

The largest celebrations are traditionally held in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, which is believed to be the birth place of Lord Rama.

In Old quarters of Delhi, processions are very colourful and lively as people dressed as Lord Rama, Sita and Laxman pass through the main roads amidst showers of rose petals and sprinkling of rose water.