Date, timing and tithi of the festival
Mukkoti Ekadashi is a highly sacred fast observed by Hindu Vaishnava followers. It takes place during the Hindu calendar month of Dhanur/Margazhi and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. This particular Ekadashi is celebrated with much joy and anticipation, as it is thought that on this day, the ‘Vaikunta Dwara’ – or door to the deity himself – is opened. This highly auspicious moment is specially celebrated in Lord Vishnu temples of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, as hundreds of devotees line up to pass through the gate to Vaikunth. On Monday, January 2 2023, this fortunate day of Mukkoti Ekadashi will be observed in South India.
Tithi Begins – January 1, 2023 – 07:11 PM
Tithi Ends – January 2, 2023 – 08:23 PM
Mukkoti Ekadashi is a holy day of great significance for the followers of Lord Vishnu. It takes place on the eleventh day of Shukla Paksha of the month of Paush, which marks the opening of the ‘Vaikunta Dwaram’ to the Lord’s abode. During the sacred occasion, devotees in the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana gather in the temples of Lord Vishnu to perform pooja and seek the Lord’s blessings. One who faithfully fasts on this day can enter ‘Vaikuntha’ without incurring the wrath of Yama Raja, the God of Death. Therefore, it is said that Mukkoti Ekadashi is a blessed day that brings immense spiritual benefits to all those who observe it correctly.
Mukkoti Ekadashi is an important Vedic observance that occurs throughout the year. Believers in this tradition fast on this day to be able to cross the threshold of salvation and enter heaven. People who partake in fasting are said to purify themselves internally and externally and be given the strength and motivation to face the trials of life. Furthermore, on this day, Lord Vishnu is believed to open the gate of his abode, Vaikunth Dwar, making his home and paradise accessible to his worshippers. As a result, many temples across India build a physical and tangible representation of this gate, allowing devotees to walk through to have a spiritual experience. Similarly, hearing the sacred story of Vaikunta Ekadashi is considered a spiritual journey, allowing worshippers to be present in the revered space of Vishnu.
History Behind The Festival
According to the principles of Vedic astrology, Ekadashi is a very auspicious day for worshipping and honouring Lord Vishnu. Ekadashi originates in the Hindu lunar calendar and is the 11th day of Shukla Paksha (waxing lunar fortnight) in the Dhanur/ Margazhi month. This corresponds to December-January in the Gregorian calendar. On this day, Lord Vishnu was saved from death by a female figure believed to be his divine consort, Shakthi. Lord Vishnu was so pleased by Shakthi’s action that he granted her a boon. To her response, Shakthi asked Vishnu to grant moksha (liberation) and the blessings of his heavenly abode, Vaikunta, to those who observed Ekadashi fast. Vishnu agreed, and thus, it is believed that those who observe fasting and prayers on Ekadashi are relieved of all their sins and are blessed with good fortune. Therefore, observing a fast on Ekadashi is essential to experience its full spiritual merit.
Vaikuntha Ekadashi is a significant Hindu festival, and observing it is said to bring salvation, joy and spiritual liberation. On this day, devotees fast to ascend to heaven, cleanse their bodies and souls, and remove any obstacles preventing them from achieving spiritual fulfilment. It is believed that Lord Vishnu will open the door to his abode, Vaikuntha, on Vaikuntha Ekadashi. Through reciting the story of Vaikunth Dwar, devotees are thought to feel Vishnu’s presence and attain purity. The festival’s celebration is particularly vibrant in Southern India’s temples which honour Vishnu and his incarnations, including those of Bhadrachalam Sita Ramachandra Swamy Temple, Srirangam Ranganathaswamy Temple and Tirupati Balaji Temple. Vaikuntha Ekadashi provides an essential opportunity for those studying Vedic astrology to spiritualise their journey and free themselves from karmic deeds.
Mukkoti Ekadashi is an important festival for devotees of Lord Vishnu. On this sacred day, those participating observe strict fasting, chanting mantras, reciting sacred texts, performing poojas, and meditating. These religious activities help devotees experience divine power and reach spiritual salvation.
- Vishnu temples across India see an influx of devotees wishing to offer prayers.
- The entrances of these temples are usually adorned with a gateway-like structure symbolizing the entrance to Vaikunta.
- Those observing the Ekadashi fast abstain from eating rice, beans, and other grains and only consume water, milk, and sometimes fruits.
- The fast is concluded on the following day, Dwadashi Tithi, and the fast-breaking is known as ‘Parana’.
- Fasting purifies the mind and body, empowering devotees to reach closer to the Almighty.
On the sacred day of Vaikuntha Ekadashi, devotees should visit the temple of Lord Vishnu regardless of whether they are fasting. If a temple visit is not feasible for any reason, one should place the Lord Krishna idol at home and decorate the place with lights and flowers. It is also considered highly auspicious to recite holy mantras, as they purify the heart and assist in spiritual fulfillment. Reading the sacred Bhagawad Gita is highly recommended, as it gives devotees a chance to immerse themselves in divine verses. Furthermore, fasting on this day is recommended to seek the Lord’s divine grace. Donating food and clothing to the needy is also highly encouraged.
On the other hand, one should strictly avoid eating rice, onion, garlic, or any non-vegetarian food. Additionally, fasting should not be broken before the Parana time. Moreover, maintaining a calm and courteous demeanor is strongly advised.
Fasting on Ekadasi
Ekadasi fasting is an important part of Vaikunta Ekadasi celebrations. On this day, devotees fast the entire day, keep vigil, and offer prayers to Lord Vishnu. The previous day, known as Dashami, devotees take only one meal throughout the day and abstain from eating rice. This day is also marked by reciting mantras and meditating on the Lord. That night, people stay awake the entire night, visiting the temples of Vishnu in the wee hours of the morning. It is believed that on Vaikunta Ekadasi, the ‘Gates of Heaven’ (Vaikunta Dwaram) open, and all devotees can experience divine bliss. People gather around the temple premises in large numbers and seek entrance to the temple to connect with Lord Vishnu.
Mukkoti Ekadashi in Vishnu Temples
Mukkoti Ekadashi is an important festival in Hinduism and is celebrated in Vishnu Temples on a day determined according to the Hindu calendar. On this day, the gates of the temple, considered to be the entrance to ‘Vaikunta’ – the abode of Lord Vishnu – are opened, and the Lord is adorned with diamond-encrusted armour. The ritualistic procession of the Utsava idol, known as ‘Namperumal’, passes through the ‘Paramapada Vasal’, which marks the gateway to heaven. On Vaikunta Ekadashi and the following day, Dwadasi, devotees take a holy dip in Vishnu temples’ ponds, which is said to be equivalent to taking a dip in all the holy rivers or ‘Tirthas’ of the entire universe.
Traditional Foods Consumed
- Sabudana Khichdi is a popular fasting recipe made of sabudana pearls, boiled potatoes, roasted peanuts and spices, and it can be enjoyed during religious occasions like Ekadasi and Navratri.
- Rajgira Paratha is a healthy gluten-free flatbread made using amaranth flour (or rajgira flour), mashed potatoes and seasonings. Sama rice Khichdi is an easy and healthy dish made with barnyard millet (or sama ke chawal). This is commonly used during fasting days.
- Aloo Tamatar Curry is a delicious potato-tomato dish free from onions, garlic and other heavy ingredients or spices. It can be served with Vrat ki Roti, Rajgira Paratha, Rajgire ki Poori or Kuttu ki Poori.
- Kuttu Ki Khichdi is a simple yet wholesome meal made with Buckwheat Groats (Sabut Kuttu), potatoes and peanuts, which can be enjoyed with a bowl of yogurt or with Vrat Ki Kadhi.
- Vrat wale aloo is a delicious and simple recipe for fasting that can be made without using onion or garlic. This traditional Indian dish consists of crumbled potatoes in a mix of spices and herbs. It can be cooked quickly and easily and is a great way to nourish the body while still observing fast. The ingredients used in sabzi are specially selected to ensure that they are acceptable during the Hindu fast. Consuming it will help maintain a balanced diet even during a day of abstinence.
- Khatta Meetha Kaddu is a mildly spiced sweet and sour pumpkin dry curry recipe popular in India. In addition to this dish, those observing lunar fasts can make Kaddu ka halwa or kaddu ke Pakoras. Serving suggestions include Kuttu Ki Roti, Amaranth Pooris, or Singhare Ki Poori.
- The Vrat ka Chawal ka Pulao is a traditional and popular recipe made during the Hindu fasting days of Navratri or Ekadashi. This Pulao can be served plain or with Vrat ki Kadhi, a yogurt-based gravy dish. Sama, or Barnyard millet, is considered a healthier option during fasting days as it is gluten-free and is also packed with nutrients.
- Singhare ki poori is an incredibly delicious variety of poori made of water chestnut flour, mashed potatoes, edible rock salt, and a few spices. You may detect a slight flavour of singhara in these pooris, but that doesn’t influence the taste – they’re just as scrumptious as traditional pooris made from whole wheat flour.
- Farali patties are a popular Gujarati snack made during fasting and are a delicious treat! These crisp potato patties are filled with a delicious mix of sweet, tangy coconut and dry fruits. If you’re looking for more fasting snacks, try Farali batata vada, Raw banana kofta, Vrat ke pakora, roasted makhana, Fruit chaat, and Sweet potato tikki – all of which will tantalize your taste buds!
- Makhane ki kheer is a delectable North Indian sweet created using slightly-popped foxnuts, also known as Phool makhana. This traditional delicacy is incredibly healthy and is said to be an auspicious and divine addition to important celebrations in Indian astrology. It’s believed that eating Makhane ki kheer while making a wish will increase the chances of your prayer being answered.
1.Why is it called Mukkoti Ekadasi?
According to Vedic calculations, the passage of one year, as measured by humans, is equivalent to one day as experienced by Gods. All the Gods visit Lord Vishnu during this time, known as ‘Brahmi Muhurtha Time’. Those who are blessed with the darshan of Lord Sri Hari during this time are rewarded with the Punya that equates to the combined merit of visiting the three crore Gods, or ‘Mukkoti Devatas’. For this reason, this day has come to be known as Mukkoti Ekadasi.
- Which Ekadashi is most powerful?
Nirjala Ekadashi is one of the twenty-four Ekadashis, which falls on the 11th lunar day (Ekadashi) of the waxing fortnight of the Hindu month of Jyestha (May/June). This day is known for its water-less Nir-Jalaa) fast observed on this day. It is deemed the most arduous Ekadashi and hence the most revered of all twenty-four Ekadashis. It is believed to be the most powerful day of penance and can lead to the removal of all sins and a divine blessing if kept with great faith and devotion.
- Should we be awake on Vaikunta Ekadasi?
On Vaikuntha Ekadashi, it is an important tradition for worshippers of Lord Vishnu to stay awake throughout the night. Many devotees visit the temples of Vishnu in the evening and engage in activities such as listening to stories, singing bhajans, and reciting prayers in his praise. This day holds great significance for devotees, as it marks an opportunity to be liberated from their sins and attain salvation through fasting and devotion to Vishnu.
- Why is the rice not eaten on Ekadashi?
This is because rice is considered a nourishing food, and eating it on Ekadashi would be balancing one’s karma of taking more than one gives. Fasting on Ekadashi is seen as a way to respect and honour God’s presence with reverence and faith by abstaining from certain things.