Dhanteras, which is also known as Dhanatrayodashi and Dhanavantri Trayodashi, is a Hindu festival that marks the beginning of 5 days of Diwali celebrations in India. Dhanteras has derived from two words, one is ‘Dhan’ which means wealth and ‘teras’ which means 13 and as per the Vikram Samvat Hindu Calendar, the festival falls on the 13th lunar day of the Krishna Paksha of Karthik month. On this day, people buy jewelry, utensils, kitchen/home appliances, and vehicles as they consider the festival auspicious for purchasing metals. Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped on this day for wealth, happiness and prosperity.
There are many interpretations of this festival, many dedicate it to medicine God Dhanvantri, many spend time worshipping Goddess Lakshmi while many spend it worshipping Lord Yama. There are 3 major folk stories related to Dhanteras, wherein, two have a special place for the epic episode of Hindu Mythology i.e. Samudra Manthan, the churning of the ocean. While the remaining one is related to Lord Yama.
As per the Hindu mythology, Dhanvantri is the God of Medicine and Ayurveda. He is known to be the one who used Ayurveda for the betterment of mankind and to free them from diseases. On the auspicious day of Dhanteras, the God of Ayurveda, Dhanvantri is worshiped for his wisdom and for curing acute and chronic illnesses with Ayurveda. God Dhanvantri is also considered a Doctor to Hindu gods as per the ancient Hindu texts. Ancient mythological books also claim that God Dhanvantri came from ‘Samudra Manthan’ with a pot of Amrit in one hand and a book on Ayurveda in the other.
Another significant story is related to Goddess Lakshmi. As per the mythological texts, Goddess Lakshmi also came from the great churning of the ocean and is a mark of wealth, happiness, prosperity, and good fortune. People make rangolis at the main door and illuminate the main entrance of their home with Diyas to create positive vibes in order to attract and welcome Goddess Lakshmi.
Another folk story related to Dhanteras is of a newly married prince. The prince was the son of King Hima, who was expected to die from a snakebite on the 4th day of his marriage as per the prophecy. But the wife of the princess made a pile from gold, silver and all the metals at the entrance of her house and lit many Diyas, and spent the entire night telling her husband stories and singing songs. When Lord Yama, the god of death, came in the guise of a serpent he was unable to see anything because of the brightness of Metals and Diyas. Lord Yama then stayed there and left silently the next morning, which is why Dhanteras is also called ’Yamadeepdaan’ which means offering earthen lamps to Lord Yama.
In the evening after the sunset, Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped and Diyas are placed in the house, especially on both sides of the main door. People believe that the light of Diyas shows the way to Goddess Lakshmi to their home. Tulsi plant is also worshipped in the evening. Apart from that, a paste of vermilion and rice flour is made to make the footprints of Goddess Lakshmi which again is an auspicious symbol and brings wealth and prosperity to the home.
Naivedya is a popular dish that is offered to Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu. The dish finds its mention in a lot of sacred texts and is prepared using jaggery and dry coriander seeds. Apart from Naivedya, whole wheat halwa (Aate ka halwa) is made for Goddess Lakshmi in many parts of north India. Panchamrit is another Prashad that is prepared for Dhanteras Puja. This chilled beverage is made with 5 elements: milk, sugar, honey, curd, and ghee.
Dhanteras 2019 will fall on 25th October 2019, which is Friday. This time the festival is much more auspicious because it is falling on Friday, which is known as the day to worship Goddess Lakshmi. The auspicious muhurta (timing) to perform the puja and other rituals will begin from 7:30 in the evening and will end at 3:47 pm on the following day.
By Road. Although Diwali and all the festivals that fall prior to or post-Diwali are celebrated pan-India, yet the festival observes a unique vibe and positivity in Ayodhya. If you are planning to celebrate Diwali and Dhanteras in Ayodhya then you may either take the inter-state tourist bus to reach Ayodhya or may take your personal car. You have to cover a distance of approx. 690, 1,500, 900 and 1,900 km from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru respectively.
By Rail. Ayodhya railway station is the nearest station to reach the main city. From the station, one may take the locally available transport such as a taxi, bus or auto-rickshaw to reach the desired place in the city. The station receives trains from all the metropolitan cities of India. Sadbhavna Express, Farakka Express, and Saryuyamuna Express are the popular trains on which seats can be reserved to reach Ayodhya.
By Air. Chaudhary Charan Singh international airport in Lucknow is the nearest airport to Ayodhya city. The airport receives direct and connecting flights from all the metro cities of India such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, and Bengaluru. From the airport, one has to cover another 150km to reach Ayodhya which will take approx. 3 hours.
25th October 2019
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