Ashokashtami – Ashok Astami

Ashokastami, or Ashok Ashtami, is an important annual festival dedicated to Goddess Shakti and Lord Shiva, in eastern parts of India, especially in Orissa. In 2014, the date of Ashokashtami is April 7. It is celebrated on the eighth day during the waxing phase of moon in the Chaitra month (March – April). It is believed that Lord Ram performed Ashokashtami rituals for defeating Ravana. Ashokashtami is an important observance at the famous Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar in Orissa.

Legend has it that Lord Ram was unable to annihilate Ravana as he was being protected by Goddess Shakti. On the advice from the wise Bibhishana, Lord Ram performed rituals dedicated to Goddess Shakti and Lord Shiva for seven days and he was blessed on the eighth day. With the blessings of Goddess Shakti, Lord Ram was able to vanquish Ravana.

It is believed that Lord Ram took out a procession of Goddess Shakti and Shiva on the eighth day.
The term Ashoka means – the one that is devoid of sorrow and Ashtami means the eighth day. Ashokashtami is the day when Lord Ram’s sorrow was relieved by Goddess Shakti and Lord Shiva.