Vaikuntha Ekadashi is one of the most significant days in the Hindu calendar. On this day, Hindus across the world offer special prayers and worship to Lord Vishnu, both at home and temples.
There are 24 Ekadashis in a year, and fasting on these days is considered highly beneficial in terms of spiritual progress, detoxing the body of toxins, and achieving mind-body discipline.
Vaikuntha Ekadashi is especially significant because it is believed that the door of Vaikuntha (Lord Vishnu’s abode) is open to all devotees, thus freeing them from the cycle of birth and death. They attain ‘moksha’ or salvation. So, the merit acquired on Vaikuntha Ekadashi is equivalent to all the Ekadashis put together.
Vaikuntha Ekadashi does not draw as much attention as festivals like Diwali and Navratri. Yet on this day, Hindu temples across India, such as Tirupati Balaji and Srirangam, perform elaborate ceremonies, devotional music, traditional dances and yagnas for Lord Vishnu. Huge crowds throng the temple grounds and often police is present for security and order.
Prasadam or Prasad is the food offered to God before it is distributed among the congregated devotees. Prasad is always vegetarian, and is also devoid of mushrooms, eggs, onions and garlic. On Vaikuntha Ekadashi, Hindus also refrain from rice and pulses.
Note: This type of Indian food platter is known as a ‘Thali’. On the occasion of Vaikuntha Ekadashi, all food items are garnished with Tulsi (holy basil) leaves, as is customary for any food offered to Lord Vishnu.
(Starting from top and clockwise)
1. Mashed Potatoes using FarmFresh Australian Gourmet Potatoes with milk and butter.
2. Sliced Baby Cucumbers seasoned with black pepper.
3. Carrot Pachadi made from grated carrot, yoghurt, and tempered spices such as mustard seeds and curry leaves.
4. Bhindi ki Sabzi consisting of diced okra cooked in ghee, and spices such as green chilies, cumin seeds and garam masala.
5. Baby Corn ki Sabzi consisting of fried corn cooked in a spicy tomato gravy.
6. Freshly prepared Smoothie is in a glass in the center. It has four categories of ingredients:
—Medium: Soy Milk and Yoghurt
—Fresh Fruits: Bananas, Plums, Pears, Strawberries
—Dry Fruits: Almond Flakes, Pistachio Bits, Dates
—Condiments: Cinnamon powder, Rose Water, Saffron Milk*, Honey
*You soak saffron strands in a glass of milk overnight.