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Significance of Vaikunta Ekadashi

Vaikunta Ekadasi is an important festival dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Tomorrow is this auspicious day. This occurs in Dhanurmasam (December-January). Vaikunda Ekadesi festival is of great significance at the Tirupati Balaji Temple, Srirangam Sri Ranganatha Temple and at the Bhadrachalam Temple. In Kerala, it is known as Swarga Vathil Ekadashi.  This Ekadasi is also referred as Mukkoti Ekadasi.

It is widely believed that the gates to the heaven open – the Gate of Vaikuntha – on the Vaikunta Ekadasi day. It is one of the most auspicious days in Vishnu Temples in South India.

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The ‘Vaikunta Dwaram’ or ‘the gate to the heaven’ is opened on this day. This is the passage encircling the innermost sanctum of the Lord. Scores of devotees queue up to pass through the Gate of Vaikunta in Vishnu Temples in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Vaikunta Dwaram is opened only on this day in a year in many temples.


The significance of Vaikunta Ekadasi can be traced back to the Padma Purana. The Purana indicates that Bhagvan Vishnu took the form of ‘Ekadasi’ – female energy – to kill demon Muran. This happened during the month of Margazhi. Impressed by ‘Ekadasi,’ Vishnu told her that whoever worships him on this day will reach ‘Vaikunta’ (heaven).

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Like all Ekadasi days, devotees fast on this day and observe vigil the whole night. Some people indulge in meditation, Japa and singing of Hari Kirtan. Rice is avoided during ekadashi days as it is believed that the demon Mura finds a dwelling in the rice eaten on Ekadasi day. The day after the Ekadasi is observed as Mukkotti Dwadashi in many Vishnu temple across South India.

Of the major Vrats, Vaikunta Ekadasi is observed in Onesiance to Lord Vishnu and this is believed to grant many a boon, including the attainment of Lord Vishnu’s feet at His Abode, The Vaikunta. This is observed on the eleventh day of the Moon Cycle and the one that falls during Sukla Paksha is important.

However, most important Ekadasi which occurs in the month of Mrigasira, Margazhi in Tamil, December-January in Gregorian calendar, is of special importance and is celebrated on a grand scale in Sri Vaishnava Temples. Early in the morning of the Vaikunta Ekadasy Day, the doors leading to the Inner Sanctum of Lord Vishnu is opened and people enter through this. Special poojas are performed. The doors remain closed during the other days.

Dos & Don’ts for Vaikunta Ekadasi

  • During the Ekadasi day one is expected to fast and take nothing. The next day, Dwadasi, Tulasi water is to be drunk followed by austere food.
  • This consists of a Raita prepared out of a Dhal Urad dhal,Black Gram), and special Green leaf vegetable(Agathi Keerai) along with a salad of Amla, Nellikkai,Gooseberry in Curds .
  • Food can be taken once during the day.
  • At night, light snack made of rice are taken.
  • The taking of Tulasi water in the morning of Dwadasi is called Dwadasi Baranai’
  • Now people take light snacks on the Ekadasi day. This is not correct.
  • On the Ekadasi day one engages himself in chanting the names Lord Vishnu and visiting His Temple.
  • One also enters His Inner Sanctum through the Doors early in the morning. The origin of Ekadashi Vrata.

Mythological Connection

According to Vishnu Purana, fasting on Vaikuntha Ekadashi is equivalent to fasting on the remaining 23 Ekadashis of the (Hindu) year. However, according to Vaishnava tradition, fasting is mandatory on all Ekadashi of both Shukla paksha and Krishna paksha. Fasting on Ekadashi is considered holier than any other religious observation.

Vishnu opened the gate of Vaikuntham (his abode) for two demons in spite of their being against him. They also asked for the boon that whoever listens to their story and sees the image of Vishnu coming out of the door (called Dwar), called Vaikunth Dwar, will reach Vaikunth as well. Temples all over India make a door kind of structure on this day for devotees to walk through.

According to Padma Purana, the female energy of Vishnu killed the demon Muran and protects the ‘Devas’. This happened on the eleventh day of lunar month during the sun’s journey in the Dhanurrashi or Dhanu Rashi. Impressed by the act, Vishnu names her as ‘Ekadashi’ and gives her the boon that those who worship ‘Ekadashi’ on the day of her victory over Muran would reach ‘Vaikunth’ (His abode).[3]

Vaikuntha Ekadashi is one of the important and auspicious days for Hindus. It is dedicated to Vishnu. It occurs in the Hindu calendar, in the month of Margashirsha (between December and January). When observed, it bestows liberation from the cycle of birth and death.


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