Vaikuntha Chaturdashi:A Sacred Hindu Observance

Vaikuntha Chaturdashi:A Sacred Hindu Observance

Vaikuntha Chaturdashi stands as a revered Hindu holy day, falling on the 14th lunar day during the waxing moon fortnight of the Kartika month. This day holds immense significance in the worship of deities Vishnu and Shiva, celebrated across various regions in India.

Legend and Folklore

The Legend of Vishnu and Shiva

Vishnu and Shiva

The essence of Vaikuntha Chaturdashi lies in a compelling legend from the Shiva Purana. Vishnu, the preserver deity, embarked on a pilgrimage to Varanasi to worship Shiva on this auspicious day. His commitment involved offering a thousand lotuses to Shiva. However, during the ritual, Vishnu discovered one lotus missing. In an act of reverence, he plucked one of his own lotus-like eyes and presented it to Shiva. Pleased with Vishnu’s devotion, Shiva not only restored his eye but also bestowed upon him the Sudarshana Chakra, Vishnu’s sacred weapon.

Regional Folklore

In Varanasi, the festival holds an anecdote of a Brahmin named Dhaneshwar, whose sins were cleansed due to the touch of devotees on Vaikuntha Chaturdashi. Shiva’s intervention liberated Dhaneshwar’s soul from hell, granting him a place in Vaikuntha.

Folklore in Maharashtra

In Maharashtra, the practice of offering a thousand lotus flowers to Shiva was established by Shivaji and his mother, Jijabai. Facing a dilemma to fulfill Jijabai’s wish for unblemished white lotuses, Shivaji’s bodyguard, Vikram Dalvi, showcased an ingenious solution. His skillful archery technique enabled him to pick the lotuses without physically touching them, earning him praise and a token of appreciation from Shivaji and Jijabai.

Worship Rituals and Observances

Devotional Offerings

Devotees of Vishnu engage in offering a thousand lotuses while reciting the Vishnu Sahasranama, the thousand names of Vishnu. Temples like Vishnupada Temple celebrate this period with fervor. The festival also marks Kartika Snanam, bathing in rivers or streams during the Kartika month, particularly by Vaishnavas.

Celebrations in Varanasi

Vaikuntha Chaturdashi holds a significant place in Varanasi’s Kashi Vishwanath temple. Both Vishnu and Shiva are worshipped as though they are venerating each other, exchanging traditional offerings that are taboo under normal circumstances. The rituals involve elaborate pujas, including bathing, fasting, and offerings of various sacred items.

Celebrations in Other Temples

Various temples across India, such as the Grishneshwar temple and the Tilbhandeshvar temple in Nashik, portray the union of Vishnu and Shiva through unique rituals and adornments.

Customs apart from Temple Rituals

Apart from temple rituals, the festival is marked by diverse customs like lighting lamps made of flour in Rishikesh to ensure environmental friendliness. Additionally, the festival is observed by celebrating a meal under the Indian gooseberry tree, known as avail bhojan.


Vaikuntha Chaturdashi stands as a vibrant celebration deeply rooted in legends, folklore, and devout observances. Across various regions, the day unites devotees in honoring the divine relationship between Vishnu and Shiva, embodying the spirit of devotion and reverence.

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