Ashokastami Festival is one such event that is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervour. This auspicious Hindu festival falls on the 8th day (Ashtami) of Shukla Paksha (moon in waxing phase) in the Chaitra month. As per the Gregorian calendar, this date falls either in March or April, during the Chaitra Navratri Festival. Ashokastami, also known as Ashok Ashtami, is dedicated to Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva.
The festival is celebrated as a car festival in eastern regions of the country and also in Orissa, in a grand manner in Bhubaneswar’s Lingaraj Temple. Ashokastami Festival also holds a huge significance in the country’s southern regions, marking the victory of good over evil.
History of Ashokastami Festival
It is believed that it was during the time of Ashoka Ashtami when Lord Rama performed the rituals before attacking Ravana, emerging victorious eventually. This is the main significance of the Ashokastami Festival.
Major Attractions of Ashokastami Festival 2023
1. Worship of Shakti
Goddess Shakti is the main deity of the Ashokastami Festival and this day is devoted to the worship of the divine goddess. Many devotees seek her blessings to lead a prosperous and happy life.
2. Orissa Rath Yatra
Since Ashokastami Festival is centered around Lord Lingaraj, on this day, Lord Lingaraj’s representative deity, Chandrashekhar, is taken out on a decorated chariot, which is taken to the Rameswara Temple. Thousands of devotees from all over India come here to witness the grand event. This rath yatra is a very popular event in Orissa.
3. Religious fairs
A number of fairs are held at the event. The Ashokastami Festival is organized at Unakoti Tirtha of Kailashahar, Tripura. People also offer special pujas to engraved gods' images on rocks. People not only from Orrisa but also from neighborhood states attend the Ashoka Ashtami Fair.
How to Reach Ashokastami Festival 2023
The best place to observe Ashokastami Festival is Unakoti in Tripura. It is a serene district in the state. The district is located at a distance of 2,303, 3,373, 3,149, 1,427 km from Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Kolkata respectively. Here are the three modes of transport via which you can reach the festival location.
The nearest airport to Unakoti is Agartala airport. It is also known as Maharaja Bir Bikram Airport. Built-in 1942, this airport is now North East India’s second busiest airport. It is under the administration of AAI (Airports Authority of India). After deboarding, you can take public transport to the fair.
Here is a list of Indian cities from where flights are available to Agartala
The nearest railway station to the festival location is Agartala Railway Station. It was built in 2008 and was also rebuilt in 2016. After Guwahati, this was the second railway station in north-eastern India which is connected to the Indian railways. From the station, you can take public transport to reach the Ashokastami Festival location. Here is how you can reach Unakoti via the rail network.
Delhi - Board ANVT AGTL RAJ from Anand Vihar Trm Railway Station and deboard at the Agartala Railway Station
Bengaluru - Board AGTL Humsafar from Bengaluru Cant and deboard at the Agartala Railway Station
Kolkata - Board Kanchanjunga Express from Sealdah and deboard at the Agartala Railway Station
If you live nearby, you can also choose the road route. Here is road route information. You can drive your own car or hire a cab or taxi.
Frequently Asked Questions about Ashokastami Festival 2023
Q. What is Ashokastami Festival?
A. Ashokastami Festival is a Hindu festival celebrated in the Indian states of West Bengal, Odisha, and Jharkhand. It is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva and marks the victory of good over evil. The festival is also known as the "Festival of Joy" or the "Festival of Flowers".
Q. When is Ashokastami Festival celebrated?
A. Ashokastami Festival is celebrated on the eighth day of the Hindu lunar month of Chaitra, which usually falls in the month of March or April.