Shakambhari Purnima is observed in Paush month, which normally comes in January. The day also marks the end of the nine-day long Shakambari Navratri festival. Most Navratri begins on Shukla Pratipada except for Shakambari Navratri, which begins on Ashtami and ends on Purnima in Paush month. It is believed that Goddess Shakambari incarnated on Devi Shakambari Purnima day.
‘Shakambhari’ means the Bearer of the Greens. Other names of Maa Shakambari are Banashankari, Banashankari, Banadevi, and Shankari. Paush Purnima also known as Shakambari Purnima is celebrated as Shakambari Jayanti.
Some of the important temples dedicated to Goddess Shakambhari are located in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan. In Karnataka, she is known as Goddess Banashankari.
Special pujas and rituals are held on the day in temples in dedicated to Goddess Shakambari.
Importance of Shakambari Purnima
She is believed to be the Goddess of Vegetables, Fruits and Green leaves. Legend says that Shakambari Devi appeared after a hundred year drought. All the plants had died and there was nothing to eat. Goddess Shakambari brought forth from her body fruits, flowers, vegetables and herbs to suffice the hunger of the people.
According to Puranas, once an asur named Durgamasur was given a boon of possessing all four vedas. He hid the Vedas in an unknown place and deprived the saints, sages and gods of the knowledge. The sages became unable to perform Yagnas, and the gods started to lose their powers, As a result, the earth was in mayhem.
All of the gods and rishis prayed to Goddess Parvati for several days and nights to seek her intervention. The goddess listened to their prayers and took the avatar of Shakambhari devi. She started to shed tears from her thousands of years, which caused rainfall for continuous nine days. She also provided fruits and vegetables for everyone. Then she fought with Durgamasur and took the Vedas away from him by ending his reign of evil.
Shakambhari Purnima celebration
The Shakambhari Purnima celebration is all about worshipping the goddess. Many people worship the goddess or take a holy bath or go on pilgrimage to seek her blessings. Some also prefer to worship the goddess in their home as a part of Shakambhari Purnima celebration. On this day, people wake up early to take a holy bath and prepare for the puja. They give homage to the goddess by visiting her temple or welcoming her their household. People also offer the goddess with seasonal fruits and vegetables and perform aarti and listen to the “Shakambhari Katha”.