As the Chaitra Navratra culminates on Saturday, it also marks Ram Navami – Lord Ram’s birth anniversary — which is celebrated at various temples in Mumbai.
At Ram Mandir, Wadala, the occasion holds a greater significance this time as the temple celebrates its golden jubilee. For its annual rathotsav or chariot procession, the temple will use the new idols of Ram, Sita and Lakshman carved out of gold, which was recently donated by a devotee.
“We used gold to create the three idols, each nine inches long. We also created an umbrella and other decorations from the precious metal,” said Ulhas Kamath, general secretary of the temple.
The idols, seated in a chariot made of sheesham, especially brought from Karnataka, will be carried out from the temple at 7pm to Dadar TT and be returned at 9pm. “Like every year, 8,000-9,000 devotees are expected to join the yatra. This will be followed by a lavish prasad,” said Kamath.
Apart from police security, the temple has also hired private guards and installed CCTV cameras along the route.
Temples across the city have been holding recitations of Ram Katha or Ramcharitmanas over the week. At the Iskcon temple, Juhu, this will culminate over the weekend with a grand abhishek of Lord Rama on Saturday, followed by a boat ride of the idols on Sunday.
“The maha-abhishek will be done around 12pm, the moment when Lord Rama is said to have been born. Sacred ingredients such as flowers, honey, milk and curd will be used,” Parijaat Devi, spokesperson, Iskcon temple, Juhu, said.
“For the boat ride [6.30pm on Sunday], the temple courtyard will be filled with water and strewn with lotus flowers. A beautifully decorated silver boat will carry the utsav-murti of Rama and Sita,” she said.
Grand celebrations are also planned at Mumbadevi temple. “This time, Chaitra Navratri lasted eight days instead of nine. For the concluding day of the Navratra and Ram Navami, pujas and havans will begin at 9.3oam, and 40,000 devotees are expected to visit the temple all through the day,” Hemant Jadhav, spokesperson of Mumbadevi temple, said.