Lord Rama is regarded as another incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Nepalese, therefore, have deep belief and extreme faith in him. His strength, courage, purity of heart, compassion, sweetness of speech, serenity and abiding wisdom made him the favorite idol of his people.
His life story is told in the much beloved epic- the “RAMAYANA”. Before the birth of Sri Ram, the world was under the reign of an evil and fiendish demon king Ravana. Ravana had pleased Lord Brahma, who bestowed on Ravana the boon that no God or demon could kill him. This gave Ravana immunity from everyone except a mortal man. Thus, to save the world from evil, Lord Vishnu took birth as Ram in the city of Ayodhya.
King Dasharath, who ruled over Ayodhya, had one misery – his three queens bore him no sons. Lord Vishnu gave them nectar to drink, and soon the eldest produced Ram, the next gave birth to Bharat and the third had twins, Lakshman and Shatrughana. All four of them became exemplary youths but it was Ram who grew in grace and virile beauty.
Another king Janak, who ruled over Mithila in southern Nepal, had a beautiful daughter called Sita. When she was about sixteen Janak held a great tournament wherein it was announed that the one that onw ho could string the divine bow of Lord Shiva would win the fair Princess Sita’s hand. Princes and kings from far and wide tried to do it but all failed. But Lord Ram not only curved the bow but also snapped it in two. Thus, Lord Ram won the hand of Sita, who is regarded as the most exalted epitome of womanhood- beautiful, pious, loyal, gentle and modest.
During the 14-year exile of Ram, the demonic Ravana abducted Sita but she resolutely resisted his advances. It was the loyal monkey Hanuman, son of the Wind god who discovered Sita’s whereabouts. Ravana had taken her to his realm Lanka, a mythical country now believed to have been Ceylon.Eventually, with the help of Hanuman and the monkey horde Ram and Lakshman slew the evil Ravana and eradicated the whole dynasty of demons from the earth.
Ram Nawami is thus celebrated as Lord Ram’s Birthday. It is celebrated with much pomp at Janaki temple in Janakpur city, which lies in southern Nepal. Huge processions of elephants, bullock carts and sometimes upto 100,000 pilgrims go through the city, dancing and singing the lord’s praises. In Kathmandu many people, including the royal family, go to the temples to pay homage to Ram, while symposiums are held to exalt the ideal life he lived. In Bhaktapur, the neighboring town of Kathmandu, the people go to the banks of the river Hanumante, where a temple bearing the idols of Ram and his loyal servant Hanuman is situated.
Thus, Ram Nawami is celebrated throughout the Kingdom with great fanfare.
Article by Vani Shah