Paryushana is an 8 to 10 day festival observed by the Jain community that takes place in the shukla paksh (dark phase) of the Bhadrapada month as per the Lunar Calendar (this date can vary amongst sub sects). Paryushana is also known as Parvadhiraj Paryushana which means the king of all festivals. In fact, it is one of the most important festivals in the Jain community, equal to Diwali in its import.
Paryushana literally means abiding or coming together and is a fasting period where Jains observe Ekasan which means food and water only once a day and dedicate their time to meditating and reflecting on their spiritual journey and on renewing their faith. Most importantly, they ask for forgiveness for all the offences committed during the last year.
During these days, the sole aim is to put aside worldly pleasures and seek new and spiritually wholesome inspirations on the path to salvation. Paryashana literally means self – purification and it is a process of detachment of the soul from karmic matter and material celebrations.
In short, it is a grand Jain festival of self introspection, self enlightenment and self achievement.
The end of the festival, marked by asking friends and family for forgiveness and an exchange of sweets – usual for all Indian festivals – is a joyous occasion.
Udaipur, Rajasthan has a thriving population of the Jain community and many an ancient Jain temple in and around the city. The festival of Paryushana brings about a serene mood in this gorgeous city normally associated with regal luxury.
This year, the festival takes place from 2nd September to 11th September 2011.