Mahavir Janma Kalyanak
Vardhaman Keezhakuyilkudi.jpg
Vardhaman Mahavira image at Keezhakuyilkudi, Madurai, Tamilnadu, India.
Also called Translation: Birth Anniversary of Mahavira; Mahavir Janma Kalyanak
Observed by Jains
Type Religious, India (National holiday)
Significance Birth Anniversary of Mahavira
Celebrations Going to the Jain Temple
Observances Prayers, religious rituals
Date Chaitra Sud Triyodashi (Vira Nirvana Samvat)
2016 date 19 April[1][2]
2017 date 9 April[3]
Frequency annual

Mahavir Janma Kalyanak, also known as Mahavir Jayanti, is the most important religious festival for Jains. It celebrates the birth of Mahavira, twenty-fourth and the last Tirthankara (Teaching God) of Avasarpiṇī[a]. On the Gregorian calendar, the holiday occurs either in March or April.[4]



Most modern historians consider Vasokund as Mahavira's birthplace.[5] According to Jain texts, Mahavira was born on the thirteenth day of the bright half of the moon in the month of Chaitra in the year 599 BCE (Chaitra Sud 13).[6][7] Mahavira was born in a democratic kingdom (Ganarajya), Vajji, where the king was chosen by votes. Vaishali was its capital.[8]

As a child, Mahavira was called with the name 'Vardhamana', which means "One who grows", because of the increased prosperity in the kingdom at the time of his birth.[9] In Vasokund, Mahavira is much revered by the villagers. A place called Ahalya bhumi has not been ploughed for hundreds of years by the family that owns it, as it is considered to be the birthplace of Mahavira.[8]

Birth legendEdit

Sixteen auspicious dreams seen by the mother of all Tirthankara

Mahavira was born into Ikshvaku dynasty as the son of King Siddhartha of Kundagrama and Queen Trishala. During her pregnancy, Trishala was believed to have had a number of auspicious dreams, all signifying the coming of a great soul. Digambara sect of Jainism holds that the mother saw 16 dreams which were interpreted by the King Siddhartha.[10] According to the Svetambaras the total number of auspicious dreams is fourteen. It is said that when Queen Trishala gave birth to Mahavira, Indra, the head of heavenly beings (devas) performed a ritual called abhisheka, this being the second of five auspicious events (Panch Kalyanakas), said to occur in the life of all Tirthankaras.[11]


Ancient image of Mahavira at Thirakoil

The idol of Mahavira is carried out on a chariot, in a procession called rath yatra.[12] On the way stavans (religious rhymes) are recited.[13] Local statues of Mahavira are given a ceremonial bath called the abhisheka. During the day, most members of the Jain community engage in some sort of charitable act. Many devotees visit temples dedicated to Mahavira to meditate and offer prayers.[14] Lectures by monks and nuns are held in temples to preach the path of virtue as defined by Jainism. Donations are collected in order to promote charitable missions like saving cows from slaughter or helping to feed poor people. Ancient Jain temples across India typically see an extremely high volume of practitioners come to pay their respects and join in the celebrations.[citation needed]

Ahimsa run and ralliesEdit

Ahimsa runs and rallies preaching the Mahavira's message of Ahiṃsā are taken out on this day.[15][16][17]


Many political leaders and government officials extend their greetings on this occasion.[18][19]

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ descending half of the worldly time cycle as per Jain cosmology which is actually current now



External linksEdit