Valmiki Jayanti marks the birth anniversary of the great Sanskrit poet and author Maharishi Valmiki who wrote the prominent ‘Ramayana’. As per Hindu lunar calendar, his Jayanti is celebrated on full moon day which is knwown as Ashwin Purnima. This year Valmiki Jayanti will be observed on October 5. Ramayana, written by this great sage consists of 24,000 shlokas and 7 cantos (kaṇḍas) including Uttara Kanda.  The day is also referred to as Pragat Diwas.

It is said that Lord rama met Maharishi Valmiki during his exile. Moreover, when Rama banished his wife Sita, it was Valmiki who came to her rescue and gave her shelter and care. It was in his shelter that the children of Rama; Lava and Kusha were born when Rishi Valmiki who taught them Ramayana.

Maharishi Vaklmiki holds a significant place in Hindu mythology. Hindu devotees till date recite the great Ramayana penned by him. In fact, it is also taught to children in school so that they learn about Hindu mythology.

Devotees worship Maharishi Valmiki and celebrate this day with shobha yatras and meetings. On this auspicious day, they also offer free food to people and recite prayers in honour to celebrate Valmiki Jayanti. They also decorate Maharishi Valmiki’s temples with flowers and lights as the whole atmosphere is full of happiness and purity.

 Maharishi Valmiki temple is the biggest temple of Rishi Valmiki. The Maharishi Valmiki temple is in Thiruvanmiyur in Chennai. This temple is believed to be 1300 years old and is located on the East Coast Road. The area is also called Valmiki Nagar.

It is believed that after writing Ramayana, Maharishi Valmiki rested at a spot where later the Maharishi Valmiki temple was built. On Valmiki Jayanti, people pay their respects towards the renowned poet by parading portraits of Valmiki, which are typically depicted as a monk wearing saffron-coloured robes and holding a quill and paper.