The waxing phase of the moon (Shukla Paksha) of Ashada month is celebrated as Devshayani Ekadashi or Ashadi Ekadashi. The date of this ritual corresponds to the month of June or July in the Gregorian calendar. In Maharashtra, the famous Pandarpur Yatra concludes on this day. The major celebrations take place in Lord Vithal Temple in Pandarpur. A popular deity in Marathi culture, Lord Vithal is an incarnation of Lord Krishna.
People consider the two eleventh days, “Ekadashi”, of every month to be of special importance. But the eleventh day (bright) of Ashadh is known as the great Ekadashi or Mahaekadashi. This Mahaekadashi is also known as Shayani Ekadashi, because on this day Vishnu falls asleep to wake up four months later on Prabodhini Ekadashi in the Kartik month. This period is known as Chaturmas and coincides with the rainy season.
Also popular as Devshayani Ekadashi or Sayana Ekadasi or Harisayani Ekadashi or Harivasara Ekadasi, Ashadi Ekadasi marks the celebration of Pandharpur Palki Yatra in Vithoba Temple in Maharashtra. 17-days long Ashadi Waari Palki Yatra concludes on Ashadi Ekadasi day in Pandharpur Vithal Temple.
As per many legends associated with Ashadi Ekadasi, Lord Vishnu goes on to Yog nidra (cosmic meditation) on this day for four months. These four months holy period is observed as Chaturmas Puja. Sri Maha Vishnu opens his eyes and gets up from the cosmic sleep on Utthana Ekadasi (Dev Prabodhini Ekadashi) which is also popular as Kartik Ekadashi. In Pandharpur Vithoba Temple, Kartik Ekadasi Yatra is another important pilgrimage festival.
How To Observe Ashadi Ekadashi Vrat
According to legends, there was a noble king named Mandata in Surya Vamsha who ruled a highly prosperous kingdom. He as immensely truthful and was engaged with numerous auspicious deeds. Nonetheless, the prosperity was highly affected as the kingdom received no rains for over three years. Eventually, no farming activities could take place and hence, numerous people and animals died while others were severely affected. Though the king performed several vrats, pujas, homas, but to no avail.
Thus, he set out on a journey and met many holy men with whom he discussed his problem. But, none of them could come out with a solution. At last, he met Sage Angira who instructed him to observe the Devshayani Ekadashi falling during the Shukla Paksha of the Ashada month. As advised, the king went back to his palace and observed the vrat along with family members and courtiers. As expected, the kingdom received rains thereby ending the three years of severe drought. Thus, the lost glory and merit of the kingdom was regained.
Devshayani Ekadashi is popularly known as Deva Sayani Ekadashi, Shayana Ekadashi, Tholi Ekadashi, Pedda Ekadashi, Vishnu Sayan Ekadashi, Harivasara Ekadashi, Maha Ekadashi, Ashada Devasayani Ekadashi and Padma Ekadashi in different parts of India. Thousands of devotees gather on the banks of River Godavari at Kala Ram Temple and take a holy dip in the waters while paying obeisance to Lord Rama. Devotees observing the Devshayani Ekadashi vrat follow the same rules associated with other Ekadashi fasts.