Ram Navratri, or Basanti Puja or Spring Navaratri, is observed from the first to ninth day during the Shukla Paksha (bright phase of moon) in the month of Chaitra (March – April) as per traditional Hindu calendar. Ram Navratri 2014 begins on March 31 and ends on April 8. The ninth day is observed as Ram Navami and therefore the festival is also known as Ram Navratri. This festival of nine nights in Hindu religion is dedicated to Goddess Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati and is takes place during the spring season there it is also known as Spring Navaratri or Basanti Puja. In some regions the nine days are dedicated to the worship of Lord Ram and includes the reading of Ramayana and observance of Ramayan week.
The popular belief is that Goddess Durga was worshipped – Navratri and Durga Puja – was held in the Chaitra month and it was known as Basanti Puja. But Lord invoked Goddess Durga in Ashwin month (September – October) to get her blessings in the fight against Ravana. This led to the shifting of Durga Puja and Navratri from Chaitra to Ashwin month.
Today, Ram Navratri is observed mainly in
North India and includes worship of various forms of Goddess Durga. The main pujas in some regions are dedicated to Lord Ram as His birthday is observed on the ninth day of Chaitra month – Ram Navami.
The nine days of rituals in Chaitra month is popularly known as Chaitra Navratri or Vasant Navratras.